Big Changes in Bachelor Nation

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If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last six months and/or enjoy keeping up with reality television, you’re probably aware of the fact that the “Bachelor” franchise has faced some serious scrutiny and undergone some serious change. In just a matter of months, the fan-favorite show went from being praised for finally selecting its first Black Bachelor, Matt James, to receiving criticism for that particular season’s issues regarding race and the conversations that followed. The popular franchise has seen some major changes in the last year, and as fans are preparing for Bachelorette Michelle Young’s season to begin, there’s a lot to catch up on.

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Let’s Play Catch-Up

If you’re not an avid “Bachelor” fan or haven’t been keeping up with the latest on the franchise, you might want to pay attention to this next segment.

The 25th season of “The Bachelor,” featuring Matt James, was initially one met with quite a bit of praise. The show, which has had a complicated history with racial issues, finally featured its first Black Bachelor, Matt James. James himself faced backlash for sending women of color home and for his many conversations with Chris Harrison regarding his fear that viewers expected him to end up with a “certain kind of person” (alluding to race or skin color), but that was nothing compared to what was to come.

When photos of Rachael Kirkconnell (the winner of James’ season) attending an Antebellum-style party on a plantation during her time in college (as well as accusations of bullying women for liking Black men and her parents’ history of donating to the Republican party and supporting Donald Trump) surfaced mid-season, fans of “The Bachelor” were furious.

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Not long after this issue came to light, Chris Harrison (the former host and face of the “Bachelor” franchise”) was interviewed on former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay’s show “Extra” and was asked about the problem at hand. Harrison’s response was considered by many to be in poor taste, asking, “Was it a bad look in 2018 or is it a bad look in 2021?”

Harrison’s response was deeply hurtful and upsetting for some, especially considering he and Lindsay — the first Black Bachelorette — worked together on her season of “The Bachelorette.” After receiving backlash, Harrison stepped down as the host of “The Bachelor” and has had no involvement with the franchise since.

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As filming began for Bachelorette Katie Thurston’s season began, the show was left without a host. Former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams stepped in to temporarily co-host the season. There was speculation regarding whether or not Bristowe and Adams would remain hosts of the popular reality franchise — while both are still signed on to host Michelle Young’s upcoming season, fans are unsure of where they stand with the franchise after its completion.

New Season, New Host

It was announced on Sept. 28 that “The Bachelor” had found its new host —Jesse Palmer, former professional football player, television personality sports commentator and one-time Bachelor himself.

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The announcement of Palmer’s new hosting gig came as a surprise, seeing as his initial run as the Bachelor in 2004 caused quite the controversy. This was early in the shows run on television and Palmer had just finished his professional football career in the NFL. At the time, many fans of the show didn’t believe that it was fair for Palmer to be the Bachelor as he was already famous. This clearly didn’t bother ABC, as there is a roster of both Bachelors and contestants who have followed the professional football-to-Bachelor pipeline.

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While Palmer will not be on-screen until the next season of “The Bachelor,” he’s already caused another stir in Bachelor Nation.

America’s Next Bachelor

Upon the completion of Katie Thurston’s season of “The Bachelorette,” there has been quite a bit of speculation regarding who the next Bachelor will be. Many fans have hoped for their favorites on Thurston’s season, such as Andrew Spencer, Justin Glaze or Greg Grippo, to return as America’s most eligible bachelor, but many reports of each of these men turning down the offer have circulated via Twitter threads and TikToks. This has led many to believe that the next Bachelor will come from Michelle Young’s season.

It was recently leaked that Clayton Echards, a contestant on Young’s season of “The Bachelorette,” has been tapped to become the next Bachelor. Many were unsure what to make of these rumors, especially given that at the time this article was written, the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette” had not yet premiered.

While this seemed like just a rumor making its course through gossip rags, new host Jesse Palmer seemed to confirm its truth with a recent tweet mentioning Echards.

We know there’s a lot to unpack here, Bachelor Nation. Share your thoughts regarding the future of the “Bachelor” franchise with us, @VALLEYmag, on Twitter!


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