Meet your new 'Bachelor': Matt James is ready to hand out roses

« Back to News

Michelle Rose / TV Media
Matt James is "The Bachelor"

Matt James is "The Bachelor"

Meet your new 'Bachelor': ABC announced that Matt James is "The Bachelor" once the reality dating show returns in early 2021.

The 28-year-old New York real estate broker is a Wake Forest University graduate and the founder of ABC Food Tours, a non-profit organization. He's also friends with former "Bachelorette" contestant Tyler Cameron and was due to appear on the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette" before production was halted.

James is only the second Black lead in the franchise's 18-year history and the first Black "Bachelor." That glaring lack of diversity wasn't lost on former "Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay, who threatened to disassociate herself with the show unless a Black "Bachelor" was cast. A Bachelor Diversity Campaign was also launched online, with thousands signing a petition demanding change for Season 25.

ABC insists James' casting was already in the works before Lindsay commented publicly. In an exclusive interview with Variety, ABC executive Rob Mills explained that, "Matt was somebody who was on our radar and we were thinking about him. We were thinking do we announce him early or do we put him on Clare's season and then announce him later, if it doesn't work out with Clare? We didn't make a final decision until recently, but this has been talked about for quite some time."

Meanwhile, the show's producers put out a statement that appeared on host Chris Harrison's social media accounts. In it, the producers acknowledge their "responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward. We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories."


Play it again, Zoey: It's official. "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" is no longer a freshman series but a sophomore one.

NBC has opted to renew the musical dramedy for a second season. And that's great news for viewers, especially when you consider that no other NBC rookie series have been handed a renewal order. In fact, "Lincoln Rhyme" and "Perfect Harmony" were both canceled, as were "Bluff City Law," "Sunnyside" and "Indebted." ("Council of Dads" was still awaiting news of its fate by press time.)

"Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" stars Jane Levy ("Suburgatory") as Zoey Clarke, a computer programmer who hears everyone's inner thoughts expressed as songs or musical numbers. And the premise is clearly connecting with audiences, especially online, where the series has been a strong performer for NBC Universal streamer, Peacock.

In a network statement, Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC, were quoted as saying, "We were overwhelmed by the number of people who fell in love with 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' and how much joy it brought to everyone. We're thrilled to bring it back and can't wait to see how Zoey's journey continues,"

The series renewal means "Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist" is on the same roster as such scripted originals as "The Blacklist," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Good Girls," "New Amsterdam," "Superstore," "This Is Us," the "Chicago" franchise and "Law & Order: SVU." "The Kenan Show" has also been picked up after a retooling, and other newcomers will include "Young Rock," "Mr. Mayor" and the Christopher Meloni-led "SVU" spinoff.


'Bellas' renewed: So much for maternity leave. E! announced that it has renewed the docuseries "Total Bellas" for a sixth season. And that means viewers will have a front row seat as the Bella Twins each welcome a new addition to their families.

Season 5 covered a lot of big personal milestones for former WWE wrestlers Nikki and Brie, including Nikki's engagement to Artem Chigvintsev of "Dancing With the Stars" fame (the two were dance partners in Season 25) and the twins' discovery they were both pregnant and due within weeks of each other.

The June 11 season finale also featured Nikki's gender reveal party (spoiler alert: it's a boy). And while sister Brie and husband Daniel Bryan opted not to learn their baby's gender in advance, fans of the show and its stars clearly wanted to know: the finale drew the series' largest audience since Season 3.

This is Nikki's first child and Bella's second. And while they are both due sometime this summer, the births will figure heavily in Season 6, which will premiere this fall.

While some expectant moms wind down during the third trimester, the twins released their new memoir, "Incomparable," in May. They're also successful entrepreneurs who have overseen the launch of a range of product lines, from lingerie to wine. And, of course, there's "The Bellas Podcast," in which the sisters talk candidly about, well, everything, including what happens behind the scenes of "Total Bellas."