The (already leaked) news is out: The Bachelor has officially named recently booted Bachelorette contestant Clayton Echard as the star of the upcoming Season 26, TVLine has learned.
Clayton was first rumored to be the next Bachelor back in September, before he even made his debut as one of the suitors vying for Michelle Young’s heart on the current season of The Bachelorette. A former pro football player and a Missouri native, Clayton made it to Michelle’s final eight, but she sent him home last week after their one-on-one date.
ABC has also provided a first look at Clayton’s Bachelor season — which you can watch above — including the usual exotic globetrotting locales, savage catfights and lots and lots of tears. The Bachelor premieres Monday, Jan. 3 at 8/7c.
“This Midwestern man proves he is so much more than just a good-looking guy with a rock-hard bod,” per the official description. “He’s a throwback romantic who’s not afraid to put himself out there for love.”
Plus, Clayton won’t be the only new star when The Bachelor returns: Jesse Palmer, a former Bachelor himself, takes over hosting duties from Chris Harrison, who left the franchise earlier this year amid controversy after he railed against “cancel culture” while defending Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos surfaced of her at an Antebellum party.
Alright, Bachelor Nation, what do you think of Clayton as next season’s star? Hit the comments and share your thoughts.