Matt James is the Season 25 Bachelor, and that's a big freaking deal. Not only is he making history as the first Black Bachelor in the franchise's 18 years of existence, but he's also the first guy in 12 years to be tapped as the show's lead before appearing on the Bachelorette. With these changes — some of them long overdue — fans are hoping Matt James' Bachelor season shakes things up in ways the franchise has never done before.
Matt was first brought to Bachelor Nation's attention when fans realized he was BFFs with another franchise fan-fave, Tyler Cameron. In early March, ABC announced Matt as one of the cast members of Clare Crawley's upcoming season of The Bachelorette (which was delayed due to coronavirus concerns).
However, ABC producers were apparently already eyeing Matt for the Bachelor Season 25 lead role when they cast him as a suitor for Clare. "When we realized the shutdown [of Clare's season] was going to extend through the summer, we started thinking about how we were going to choose our Bachelor,” ABC exec Rob Mills told Variety. “Matt was somebody who was on our radar and we were thinking about him. We were thinking, 'Do we announce him early, or do we put him on Clare’s season and then announce him later, if it doesn’t work out with Clare?'"
On June 12, ABC finalized its decision by officially naming Matt as the Bachelor for the next iteration of the show.
Fans are thrilled that the franchise has finally cast its first Black male lead, but many are making it clear that naming Matt the Bachelor is not enough to quell the growing criticisms over the show's lack of diversity.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Matt addressed these concerns: "I don't think it's ever the wrong time to do the right thing," he said. "Hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night, they're gonna see that I'm not much different from them, and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful."
Here's what else fans can look forward to in Season 25:
Matt's 'Bachelor' Season Premiere Date
Monday nights are back to being Bachelor Nation nights! ABC has announced that Matt James' season of The Bachelor will premiere on Monday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. ET.
Matt's 'Bachelor' Season Cast
On Oct. 5, ABC posted a list of 42 women who "may be on this season" on The Bachelor's Facebook page. Of course, this number will likely be narrowed down by the time the show airs, but here's who we're working with so far:
Nicole Remy, 25
Serena C., 24
Serena P., 22
Check back for more updates as they come available.
This article was originally published on