The new host of

The Bachelor

says he loves the show so much he refuses to describe it as a "guilty pleasure".

Dominic Bowden is replacing Mike Puru as host of the third season of the TV3 reality show, returning from his base in Los Angeles to take up his duties.

"I am a romantic at heart and a super fan of the franchise," Bowden said in a statement.

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"It's not my guilty pleasure, I wear my Bachelor New Zealand badge with pride."

The second season of the show ended in a storm of controversy when Jordan Mauger chose Fleur Verhoeven over Naz Khanjani in the finale.

Mauger dumped Verhoeven the day after the show ended, and admitted he had more chemistry with Khanjani.

Khanjani later admitted they'd slept together "several times" during filming.

Bowden called the show a "national phenomenon".

"When you watch it, you want to talk about it; you have to talk about it. It's the perfect format for today and socially relevant, now more than ever before."

Season one's winning couple, Art Green and Matilda Rice, remain a celebrity powerhouse on the local celebrity scene.

Bowden's previous hosting duties include The X Factor NZ and Dancing With the Stars.

Applications are open now for The Bachelor's third season.