Surprise -- Matt James is our new Bachelor!
The news was revealed Friday morning, and makes James the franchise's very first black Bachelor in its 18-year history. James' season will also be a milestone as the show's landmark 25th.
The announcement, made on Good Morning America, comes amid worldwide headlines about the Black Lives Matter movement.
"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," ABC said 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.”
James, a 28-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina, was originally set to be a contestant on Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette. But, filming of Crawley's season was put on hold in March for coronavirus precautions, just ahead of the night she was supposed to meet her group of men.
On GMA, James said he was disappointed he wouldn't get to meet Crawley, but said he's excited to take on the Bachelor role.
"It’s an honor," he said. "I’m going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me, and hopefully when people invite me into their homes Monday night they see that I’m not different from them and that diverse love stories are beautiful."