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Why ABC's The Bachelor Likely Hasn't Revealed Its Newest Lead Yet

The Bachelor Michelle Young and Katie Thurston are announced as Bachelorettes on After the Final Rose
(Image credit: ABC Press)

Ever since The Bachelor franchise started selecting former contestants to lead new seasons, the Bachelor Nation fandom has grown increasingly impatient to find out who the new leads will be. ABC has often rewarded our need for instant gratification, sometimes revealing the next Bachelor or Bachelorette as early as on the “After the Final Rose” portion of the season finale. However, Katie Thurston’s season of The Bachelorette has come and gone, and we’re halfway through Bachelor in Paradise with no word of who will lead Season 26 of The Bachelor. It turns out there might be a good reason ABC is staying mum — we haven’t met him yet.

This is the first time two seasons of The Bachlelorette are airing without a season of The Bachelor in between. So, while fans picked apart Katie Thurston’s ex-boyfriends, there was always the possibility the next Bachelor wouldn’t come from her season. And, it appears that’s exactly what has happened as, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the lead for Season 26 of The Bachelor will be one of the contestants from Michelle Young’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette. The outlet noted that this man's "story" "resonated most with producers," and they decided to give him "a second chance."

While ABC and Warner Bros. declined to comment, this reason would make the most sense for fans having to wait so long for an official announcement. Not only would audiences not be familiar with the new lead if he were named now, it would be a major spoiler for Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette to already know one of the men who gets eliminated!

The sources also revealed that Katie Thurston’s exes, Andrew Spencer — a favorite among the house to get the designation — and Greg Grippo were on the short list. Although Grippo was involved in some huge confrontations with Thurston, where she accused him of gaslighting her, Grippo was actually rumored to have gotten the call, with professional Bachelor spoiler Reality Steve saying, “at this point I would be very surprised if it’s not him.”

We’re still a few weeks away from the premiere of The Bachelorette Season 18, so it might be a while yet before we meet our new Bachelor. Even after the premiere, there’ll be no indication of how far the chosen one makes it on Michelle Young’s season. If he’s a frontrunner and sticks around for a while, it’s going to be a very long announcement wait for an already-impatient Bachelor Nation.

With production on The Bachelor Season 26 set to begin at the end of September, fans should also be looking forward to another announcement — who will host the season. This will be the first season of The Bachelor since Chris Harrison was booted from the franchise. The fabulous David Spade and other guest hosts took over Bachelor in Paradise, while former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe got the co-host gig for both Katie Thurston and Michelle Young’s seasons of The Bachelorette.

While we wait for The Bachelorette’s October premiere, we’ve still got Bachelor in Paradise, which is rife with drama to hold you over, airing at 8 p.m. ET, Tuesdays on ABC. And, be sure to check out our 2021 fall TV schedule so you don’t miss the premieres of any of your favorite shows.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.