Looking for love: New 'Bachelor' searches for a spouse

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Sarah Passingham / TV Media
Zach Shallcross is “The Bachelor”

Zach Shallcross is “The Bachelor”

A brand-new season of "The Bachelor" is here to thaw our cold hearts this winter.

Premiering Monday, Jan. 23, on ABC, last "Bachelorette" season's runner-up Zach Shallcross steps out onto the glistening drive of Bachelor Mansion to welcome limo upon limo full of women ready to fall in love. While Shallcross didn't find love with Rachel Recchia on "The Bachelorette," he has managed to mend his broken heart and open his arms to a potential 32 contestants this season.

So, who is Zach? The man who launched 32 flights to Los Angeles is, according to his "Bachelorette" bio on ABC's official website, a 26-year-old tech executive who calls Anaheim Hills, California, home. In the bio, Shallcross is described as "an old-fashioned romantic" and "charismatic" with a "huge heart," and when it comes to romance, he "is excited to lay it on thick." The lucky ladies vying for his heart surely added Shallcross' fun facts to their cribs sheets; he loves Spider-Man and beach volleyball but hates eggs.

Throughout his journey as a contestant on "The Bachelorette," Shallcross was a front-runner with Rachel, who was one of two leads that season alongside Gabby Windey. Rachel's experience as the lead was a bit rocky, feeling like the men who had chosen to pursue her over Gabby didn't always appear to have wooing her top-of-mind. Shallcross, however, was one of the exceptions.

Interested in Rachel from the start, Shallcross connected with the pilot over their shared interest in aviation, and even took Rachel, while she was visiting his hometown on a date, to the airport where he and his father watched planes arrive and depart growing up. While the pair parted ways after their overnight date over compatibility and age-difference concerns, they had an amicable conversation during the season finale, shortly before Shallcross was named the next lead. Proving he was over the split and ready to settle down after all, Shallcross joked during his September 2022 appearance on "The Jennifer Hudson Show" that, "I was 25 at that time when we had that conversation, so what I have to say is I'm 26 now."

As has become a custom of many "Bachelor" franchise finales, viewers got not only a sneak peek at the season ahead of them, but they got to watch Shallcross give out his very first rose as Bachelor. Earning an early spot on Shallcross' season is Brianna from New Jersey, who won over the lead with a Polaroid photo of the two of them, "so we would always remember this." Now that the first impression rose is out of the way, all that's left to do is fall in love!

In a preview of this season of "The Bachelor" released by ABC in November of last year, fans of the show were treated to standard "Bachelor" fare — cheeky shower scenes, extravagant dinner dates, couples skydiving and rivers of tears. Voiceovers of contestants effusively describing Shallcross as a dream guy play over clips of their travels across the world, as they see the sights from heights, relax on a yacht and bond over what looks like a hat-shopping escapade.

Host Jesse Palmer with new “Bachelor” Zach Shallcross during the season finale of “The Bachelorette”

Host Jesse Palmer with new “Bachelor” Zach Shallcross during the season finale of “The Bachelorette”

It's not all about adventure, though. The teaser reveals that the emotional stakes are high and leave everyone in tears, including Shallcross. The coveted title of villain of the season is still up for grabs, and viewers will have to tune in to see which contestant isn't there to make friends. One controversial "Bachelor" figure makes a teaser-confirmed appearance, though.

Fresh off of "Bachelor in Paradise," Victoria Fuller is seen in Shallcross' season preview, presumably to host a date rather than compete for the lead, as Fuller was at the time of filming in a relationship with another "Bachelor" franchise alum. Also reappearing is "Bachelor" Season 23 and "Bachelor in Paradise" contestant Tahzjuan Hawkins, who is probably best remembered for adding comedic relief to break the tension of her seasons.

Host Jesse Palmer ("Holiday Baking Championship") has completed his "Bachelor"-franchise punch card now, after returning from Sauylita, Mexico, at the helm of his first "Bachelor in Paradise" season, which aired its finale in November 2022. Now, Palmer is back where it all started for him, on "The Bachelor." The former NFL player was the lead of the reality dating show's fifth season in 2004, but Palmer's relationship with his final rose recipient didn't last long after filming wrapped.

Fast-forward about 18 years, and Palmer's career as a TV sports analyst and cooking competition series host have made him a natural fit as successor to former franchise host Chris Harrison, whose offensive interview with Extra correspondent and former "Bachelorette" lead Rachel Lindsay resulted in Harrison and the show cutting ties. Palmer ushered in his tenure as host on Season 26 of "The Bachelor," guiding near-doppelganger Clayton Echard through his journey to find love.

Set the mood for love, and tune in to the season premiere of "The Bachelor," airing Monday, Jan. 23, on ABC. Episodes will also be available to stream on demand on Hulu the day after their network premiere.