American commercial broadcast network ABC has selected Matt James as the first Black romantic lead in The Bachelor‘s history.
James (pictured), who appeared on The Bachelorette last year as a potential suitor, is slated to become the first Black Bachelor in the 18-year history of the romance reality series.
He becomes only the second Black lead in the franchise’s history and follows Rachel Lindsay who served as lead on season 13 of The Bachelorette.
James was set to appear on another season of The Bachelorette, but production was halted due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder will now hand out the roses on The Bachelor‘s 25th season, which is scheduled to premiere on ABC in 2021.
“We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience,” said Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, in a statement. “This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”
The Bachelor is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. The reality franchise is executive produced by Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton, Nicole Woods, Bennett Graebner, Peter Gust, Tim Warner, Louis Caric and Peter Geist.
Chris Harrison serves as host.