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ABC Chooses First Black Lead for ‘The Bachelor’

Matt James will be the man in demand when season 25 of The Bachelor rolls in 2021. James is the first black bachelor in the history of the show.

Matt James named the first black bachelor for ABC's reality series 'The Bachelor'

Matt James (Image credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin)

“Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare’s season,” said Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment. “When filming couldn’t move forward as planned, we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor. 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. 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.”

James, who is from North Carolina and lives in New York, shared the news on Good Morning America June 12. He’s 28 and is a real estate broker, entrepreneur and community organization founder. He played football at Wake Forest University and had short stints with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints in the NFL, according to Wake Forest Magazine. 

Chris Harrison hosts The Bachelor. Next Entertainment produces the show in association with Warner Horizon Unscripted Television. Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton, Nicole Woods, Bennett Graebner, Peter Gust, Tim Warner, Louis Caric and Peter Geist are the executive producers. 

Michael Malone
Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.