The 25th season of ABC’s The Bachelor will make (long overdue) history with its first Black male lead, Matt James. The big announcement was made on June 12 on Good Morning America after years of fans calling for more diversity in the franchise, and a more recent campaign amid protests across America for racial justice.
When asked if it was “too little, too late,” James said, “I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. We can’t have change until we put that first foot forward.” (He had previously been cast as one of the suitors for the next season of The Bachelorette with Clare Crawley.)
“Certainly no one is blind to what is happening in the world, so hopefully this announcement serves as a bit of optimism during a time that we can really use this, but I don’t want this to look like we’re patting ourselves on the back or taking a victory lap,“ ABC executive Rob Mills told Variety. “…We know this is a few grains of sand in a very big hourglass. It’s taken a while to get where we are, and we will continue to go further, and I acknowledge it may not be enough. In the last few years, I believe it’s gotten better, and with the announcement of [Matt James], I hope it keeps getting better. We are very excited about Matt.”
Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming season on The Bachelor.
The premiere date. Production is still a bit up in the air due to the coronavirus pandemic. But ABC is hopeful filming can start in September.
The suitors. Casting has not yet begun for the women who will try to win James’s heart—and get that final rose—but he says he is interested in telling diverse love stories. “It’s been nice, cause, to be honest with you, I’ve heard from a lot of my Black friends that aren’t Bachelor Nation faithful, that are excited about me and are honored I’m in the position I’m in and have this opportunity to just represent what it’s going to look like to have diverse relationships and tell those love stories,” James told Chris Harrison during a recent episode of The Bachelor: Greatest Seasons—Ever!, per People. “I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
What he’s looking for. It sounds like James (and his mom) have high hopes for a happy ending. “I think the grandkid counter for my mom started when the announcement was made,” he said. “She wants a basketball team. I’ll have a mini van, as many as we can fit.”
This post may be updated as new information becomes available.