AceShowbiz - The bosses of popular U.S. dating show "The Bachelor" have picked their first black hunk to lead the new season.
New York realtor Matt James, 28, will make history when he fronts the 25th run of the show, which has been on air for almost 20 years.
He was picked as a contestant on the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette", which was forced to halt production due to the coronavirus pandemic, but when fans called for more diversity on the show he was upgraded to "The Bachelor".
"Matt has been on our radar since February...," a statement from ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke reads. "When filming (on The Bachelorette) 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."
She continued, "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."
In the 18 years of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" franchise, there has only been one black lead - Rachel Lindsay starred as "The Bachelorette" in 2017. She was among the former stars who signed a fan-based petition urging series bosses to cast a black Bachelor.
During an appearance on "Good Morning America" on Friday, June 12, 2020, James said, "When Rachel speaks, we listen. She has a very important voice in all of this, being the first black woman, person of colour to have a lead. I think we’re all following suit in that conversation, and this is hopefully... the first of many black men to be in the position that I’m in now (sic)."
The new season of "The Bachelor" will air next year 2021.