Matt James will be the star of the 25th season of "The Bachelor."
James, 28, was a popular contestant on Season 16 of "The Bachelorette" and is the best friend of former "Bachelorette" contestant Tyler Cameron, with whom he runs the non-profit ABC Food Tours.
"Matt has been on our radar since February, when producers first approached him to join Bachelor Nation, as part of Clare's season," ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke said in a statement. "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," Burke added.
A Change.org petition urging ABC to address a lack of diversity on the reality dating franchise, which includes "The Bachelor" and its lead spinoff, "The Bachelorette," garnered the support of thousands, including franchise alums.
The petition stated that "ABC and Warner Bros. have been producing Bachelor content for 18 years. During that time they've cast 40 season leads, yet only one Black lead. This is unacceptable."
"As creators of one of the most popular and influential franchises on television, ABC and Warner Bros. have an opportunity and responsibility to feature Black, Indigenous, People of Color ("BIPOC") relationships, families, and storylines," the petition reads. "The franchise, and all those who represent it, should reflect and honor the racial diversity of our country--both in front of and behind the camera."
Attorney Rachel Lindsay was the first African-American lead of the franchise as "The Bachelorette" during Season 13 of the dating series.