NEW YORK -- More than 11 million people watched the premiere of "The Golden Bachelor," and enough have stayed with it to place the series among the most popular shows in primetime.
Perhaps most surprising, is the series' popularity with viewers aged 18 to 49 given that star Gerry Turner is 72 years old!
On Thursday night's episode, "The Golden Bachelor" has narrowed his choice to two women and gets to spend time with each in the show's famous "Fantasy Suites."
The destination is Costa Rica and emotions are running high.
Just two women are left and each say they are in love with Gerry. This good and decent man is clearly in a quandary, which of course, makes for good TV.
"I'm dying inside," Gerry said in a clip.
His anguish is obvious as Gerry tries to decide between the two remaining women, Leslie and Theresa.
"And, in each case, I've told them 'I love you,'" he said on the show.
Some viewers have criticized him for being too free with the 'L' word, but "The Golden Bachelor" is unrepentant.
"I feel comfortable now looking back on that, and in the moment I felt comfortable saying that, but as my journey came to a close, I had complete clarity on who was the right woman for me," he said.
His choice between Leslie, a fitness instructor from Minneapolis, and Theresa, a securities professional from New Jersey became obvious after the series famed overnight dates.
"It was a one-two punch. Night one of the fantasy suites and night two of the fantasy suites, and by the end of those two nights, it was completely clear to me," Gerry said.
We won't know his choice until the end of the month, but Gerry did get to spend some time alone with his new mate, in a Manhattan hotel suite overlooking Central Park.
"I remember we were talking about our favorite songs, and we danced in the kitchen, and we cooked together, and we kept thinking we should sit down and watch a little TV; and conversation just kept going and kept going, and we didn't have much time for that, and it was really a fantastic weekend," he said.
Gerry told me he "thoroughly enjoys" his sudden notoriety.
"I think the nicest thing, or the thing that makes me feel best, is when they say that I represent our generation in the best way possible. That is a huge compliment for me," he said.
Gerry told me folks who encounter him in New York City are, "a little more cool about it" than in other parts of the country where they are more enthusiastic.
When he goes home through the Indianapolis airport, it's like a "party" with dozens of people each wanting a selfie with "The Golden Bachelor."
"The Golden Bachelor" airs Thursday nights with "Bachelor in Paradise" following on ABC.