Bachelor Nation devotees, listen up: Next season of The Bachelor could be historic, as Hannah Brown’s former suitor Mike Johnson has become a major contender for the leading role — which would make him the first black male lead in franchise history.
“Mike is being seriously considered to be Bachelor, and producers have brought up his name a lot to potential contestants,” a source tells Us Weekly exclusively.
At July’s “Men Tell All” special, Johnson opened up about the possibility of being the next Bachelor during an exclusive interview with Us. He expressed his excitement about potentially landing the coveted part.
“It makes me feel awesome, I’m not gonna lie about it. It puts a smile on my face to know that people want me to find the love that I want so dearly,” he told Us at the time. “I’m, like, super humble in the sense of I shy it down quite often, but being completely transparent, it makes me feel amazing that people would even consider that for me.”
Johnson is a 31-year-old portfolio manager from San Antonio, Texas. The Air Force vet quickly became a fan favorite on Brown’s season, but he was ultimately eliminated by the 24-year-old pageant queen after their one-on-one date during week 7 of the competition.
During the show’s “Men Tell All” special, he spoke candidly with host Chris Harrison about his emotional breakup with Brown.
“To be broken up with like that and see her crying, I just wanted to be there for her,” he said at the time. “It’s definitely not something I wanted to go through, but being on this journey, I know that we’re here looking for love and so is Hannah, and it sucks, but I trust Hannah.”
Colton Underwood, a 27-year-old NFL alum, last helmed the sought-after position of Bachelor. When his journey wrapped up in March, he revealed that he found love with Cassie Randolph — who is still his girlfriend to this day. Prior to this, Juan Pablo Galavis — an American-born Venezuelan former soccer player — was the only person of color to star as the Bachelor.
On The Bachelorette side of things, Rachel Lindsay is the only black woman to have led the spinoff show. She spoke about the ABC franchise’s diversity problem during the filming of the Bachelorette reunion special.
“It was sad for me to look around the room and [see that] no one else looked like me,” Lindsay, 34, told Us in April. “It was sad for me to be the sole representation for women of color.”
Lindsay then expressed gratitude for the women who led the show before her, adding: “The best part for me was being in the midst of the women who paved the way for me to be the Bachelorette. They started this ‘journey’ at a time when it wasn’t popular to be the Bachelorette. America was not as accepting to see a woman in this role the way they were accepting of men.”
Us Weekly has reached out to ABC for comment.
The Bachelor season 24 is expected to premiere on ABC in January 2020.
With reporting by Emily Marcus
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