Meet The New Bachelor! Matt James Is The Franchise’s First Ever Black Lead

Say hello to Matt James. The 28-year-old former professional football player with a degree in economics will be the star of the 25th season of The Bachelor. ABC made the announcement on June 12, following a petition for the company to address a lack of diversity on the hit reality dating show. James, who was a contestant on Season 16 of The Bachelorette, is the franchise's first Black Bachelor.

In a statement, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke had this to say about James. "Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare's season. When filming couldn't move forward as planned [because of the coronavirus pandemic], we were given the benefit of time to get to know Matt and all agreed he would make a perfect Bachelor."

Burke continued, "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 is best friends with another name that's familiar to fans of the series: former Bachelorette contestant Tyler Cameron. The two of them run a non-profit organization called ABC Food Tours.

Tune in next year, as James' new season of The Bachelor is scheduled to air in 2021.