‘The Bachelor’ 2021 Premiere Date: When Does it Start?

Matt James in a blue suit.

ABC Matt James.

The Bachelor 2021 will premiere on Monday, January 4, with Matt James at the helm. James is the franchise’s first Black Bachelor. The show will air at 8 p.m. Eastern on ABC.

James is good friends with Tyler Cameron, who was on Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette. The two became friends in college, both attending Wake Forest University, where they played football together. James is a real estate broker and an entrepreneur. He also co-founded a nonprofit with Cameron called ABC Food Tours.

According to Oprah Magazine, James was initially set to appear on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams’s season of The Bachelorette but producers ended up offering him his very own season to find love.

Here’s what you need to know:

James Was Cast as ‘The Bachelor’ After an Online Petition Called on Producers of the Show to Make a Change

James was set to appear on The Bachelorette, following in the footsteps of his roommate, Cameron. However, a petition on Change.org helped James secure his spot on the popular dating show.

At the time, the petition, which called for producers to cast more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) in lead roles on the show, had upwards of 80,000 signatures at the time. It now has more than 162,000.

“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 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,” reads the petition’s description, in part.

The petition lists requests, the first being that producers “cast a Black Bachelor as Season 25 lead.”

James Previously Told ‘Good Morning America’ That it Is ‘an Honor’ to Be Cast as the First Black ‘Bachelor’

James wasn’t expecting to hand out roses on his very own season of The Bachelor, but, when the opportunity presented itself, he jumped. Aside from getting to become the show’s 25th Bachelor, James is the first Black man to ink a lede deal with the franchise (Rachel Lindsay was the first Black woman to star as The Bachelorette).

James was asked how he felt becoming the first Black Bachelor during an interview with Good Morning America, which you can watch in the video above.

“It’s an honor. I’m just going to lean into myself and how my mom raised me and hopefully when people invite me into their homes on Monday night they’re going to see that I’m not much different from them and they see that diverse love stories are beautiful,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s ever the wrong time to do the right thing. Hopefully this is the first of many Black men to be in the position that I’m in now,” he added.

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