Holy struth. With one episode of The Bachelor, Nick Cummins has already found a lot of love.
The former Wallaby’s debut as the titular hero of the sixth series of The Bachelor drew not just rave reviews from fans but record ratings as well.
Wednesday night’s episode of the Ten romality hit was the highest-ever premiere in the show’s history.
The combination of the cross-gender appeal of the ‘Honey Badger’ and Ten’s tried-and-tested formula attracted 940,000 metro viewers across the five capital cities, according to OzTam figures.
According to Ten, the national audience peak was 1.52 million.
Host Osher Gunsberg, a man who has seen five previous Australian Bachelors come and go with various degrees of success, weighed in on why Cummins, 30, is such good TV talent.
“What will surprise people most, I think, is that he’s a very self-aware man,” Gunsberg told The New Daily.
“He’s a very spiritual man, and lives life with a conscious awareness that you probably wouldn’t expect from a professional footballer.
“ Nick has the grit of a man who has stared down a haka many times.”
But Gunsberg admitted Cummins’ star turn wasn’t totally perfect.
“Some of the ladies don’t hold back and, to be honest, I think Nick was somewhat intimidated on that first night at the mansion,” he said.
It didn’t show.
The Honey Badger dispensed ockerisms, solved the problem of remembering the names of 25 romantic hopefuls by indiscriminately calling them “darl” and played triage nurse to one particularly nervous woman.
His solution when he feels anxious, he said, taking her on a little lap of the mansion’s lawn, is to “move the chassis”.
Ten has teased he might see a bit of chassis work tonight, promising Cummins’ first TV kiss and a “meltdown”.
— The Bachelor Aus 🌹 (@TheBachelorAU) August 16, 2018
The Bachelor comfortably took down its biggest rival, Nine’s renovation behemoth The Block, which drew 823,000.
Breaking down the new Bachelor by numbers, Cummins was a runaway success.
Tim Robards’ 2013 premiere episode had 669,000 viewers tune in. The next year, Blake Garvey’s debut drew 692,000, Sam Wood’s pulled 846,000, Richie Strahan’s 882,000 and Matty Johnson’s 846,000.
“Genius casting. Finally a Bachelor with some personality. The male Sophie Monk,” a TV insider who has worked at two commercial networks told The New Daily.
“Let’s not fool anyone, he’s not there to find the future Mrs Badger. He’s there to live his best life ever, and I don’t have a problem with that.”
Cummins, the source said, brings a lot to the table.
He’s got the energy of a hyped-up six-year-old. The Badger looked like he couldn’t believe his luck. It was great TV and editing.
“Other Bachelors have always looked pained, like the weight of the world was on their shoulder in a quest to find love.
“This Bachelor sees it for what it is. Cleavage and long legs galore.”
Despite the strong ratings, they were shy of the 952,000 viewers who tuned in last year to watch bogan queen Sophie Monk introduced to the country and her suitors on The Bachelorette.
That number was also a record for the franchise, beating out Sam Frost’s 875,000 in 2015 and Georgia Love’s 655,000.
The episode saw the Badger wrong-footed by the presence in his lady posse of 23-year-old Cass – described by Ten as a former Miss World finalist – who he admitted he’d been on “a couple of dates” with.
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Cass surprised him by saying she had written his name in her dream diary and the “universe” was bringing them together.
“The inclusion of the crazy ex-date was TV gold,” said the TV insider of the show’s masterful producers.
“I was waiting for someone to get glassed with one of those weird red flutes all night.”