Hours after he was seen spurning the lovely Tia and driving away in a trail of tears in last night’s episode of Bachelor in Paradise, Colton Underwood has been announced by ABC as the central figure in the upcoming season 23 of The Bachelor.
Underwood first joined the dating show in The Bachelorette season that had him vying for the affections of Becca Kufrin. He was sent home and came into this summer’s Bachelor in Paradise still wounded and conflicted about commitment. After spending several episodes with Tia Booth, he finally confessed things were not going to work out between then and drove away in tears once again. But the hunky former football player is ready to jump back into the dating pool this time with better odds, in a format in which a slew of eligible women will be elbowing each other out of the way in pursuit of his affection.
The 26-year-old Underwood received kudos for his candor when speaking about his virginity and received widespread support by viewers when he discussed the sensitive topic during his emotional breakdown on The Bachelorette: The Men Tell All reunion.
Season 22 of The Bachelor was one of the most heated and controversial in recent memory, with Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. having second thoughts as production wound down and after he chose Kufrin his fiancée, and then ran back to runner-up Lauren Burnham. As cameras continued to unfold in real time, the decision was made to air an unedited cut of Arie and Becca’s breakup, shot from two perspectives for all to see. Subsequently, an “After the Final Rose” episode was tacked onto the season to allow viewers—and the show’s contestants—to process their feelings, and an Internet firestorm erupted.
The network’s SVP of alternative programming Rob Mills stood by the network’s decision, telling Deadline in an interview, “Look, my mantra with this show especially—but honestly, all reality shows—is, ‘Apathy is the enemy.’ We knew there was going to be a strong reaction, but that’s certainly okay.”
Hosted by Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is a production of Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Unscripted & Alternative Television. Mike Fleiss, Elan Gale, Bennett Graebner and Nicole Woods are the executive producers.