Fans of the wildly popular ABC dating competition, “The Bachelor,” were shocked to learn that Luke Pell — from Season 23 of “The Bachelorette” — was not chosen to star in Season 21. Host Chris Harrison was asked about the decision to cast Nick Viall in his place, explaining that it was no easy decision.

Luke was thought by fans to be a frontrunner for the role and Harrison assures them the network felt the same. He told People magazine initially, they were certain there was no other choice. During discussions about the upcoming season, however, producers repeatedly discussed Nick — who was unsuccessful in finding love more than once on “The Bachelorette.” Harrison says it was all a matter of timing, suggesting that Luke will have his shot at love another time.

“That’s no disrespect to him, but we had to make the right call at the right time,” Harrison said. “At the end of the day, they just thought Nick was the guy.”

Meanwhile, Nick is hard at work narrowing down his numerous suitors. Photos emerged online showing the perpetual “runner-up” filming in his hometown of Waukesha, Wisconsin. According to a post on “Bachelor” blogger Reality Steve’s website, Nick and the ABC crew were working on footage for his intro video. He was also seen strolling along the Riverwalk in downtown Waukesha, and visiting The Steaming Cup — hailed as the small town’s “best coffee shop.”

Although ABC has decided to move forward with Nick as the star of Season 21 of “The Bachelor,”  there has been no shortage of outrage from fans and rumored stars. Following the Aug. 30 announcement, Luke took to Instagram to express his disappointment about not having been selected. He assured fans that although he would not be looking for love on television, he was not giving up on his search all together. The post appeared online amid rumors he had been surprised by the network’s decision and had his bags packed and ready to go. Chase McNary, who was also thought to be a frontrunner for “The Bachelor” position in Season 21, also posted a message of sorrow on instagram. Fans rallied around both men, tweeting about how ABC had made the wrong decision.

“The Bachelor” is slated to air on ABC in 2017. Do you think Nick was the right choice? Sound off in the comment section or share your thoughts on Twitter.

Nick Viall Nick Viall may have been chosen for Season 21 of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” but Chris Harrison (not pictured) assures fans that Luke Pell (not pictured) was in the running. Photo: ABC