Though The Bachelor has been a staple on TV since 2002, the show named its first Black lead in June of 2020 (Rachel Lindsay was the first Black Bachelorette in 2017). Matt James, who is the founder of ABC Foods, was originally supposed to be a contestant on Clare Crawley’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette. Amid criticism that the franchise has continually lacked diversity, Matt was revealed to be the next star. 

Mike Johnson, who has been a popular suggestion for The Bachelor since he was sent home on Hannah’s season, discussed Matt taking on the role for Season 25. 

“Matt is a great choice. I do feel like ABC realized that Bachelor Nation was fed up with not having any diversity in the lead. They definitely had to do something, but that doesn’t take away from Matt being a great person,” he shared. “I do think that the timing of it was peculiar, but again, that doesn’t take away from Matt James.”

He also explained how the franchise can work to do better by adding BIPOC representation at all levels in the future.

“I do feel like the franchise absolutely and unequivocally needs to have BIPOC people in lead roles, not just in front of the cameras, but at the top of the helm,” Mike continued, before elaborating on what roles this would include. “The casting, the top executive producers, things of that nature as well.”

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