After 33 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, TV's most popular reality franchise is finally getting its first black lead. On Monday, ABC used Jimmy Kimmy Live! to announce that 31-year-old Rachel Lindsay will be the next bachelorette.
Lindsay, an attorney from Dallas, was most recently a contestant on the current season of The Bachelor. And while she made it further in the competition than her African-American counterparts normally do, the current bachelor, Nick Viall, is expected to eliminate her just weeks before the finale.
The announcement came as a shock to fans, who are accustomed to learning who will be the next bachelorette only after the previous season of The Bachelor has aired in its entirety. One gets the sense that ABC just couldn't wait to announce that it had finally broken with tradition, after years of criticism over the lack of diversity in one of its flagship shows.
The move was not totally unexpected after network president, Channing Dungey, hinted at some possible changes during this summer's Television Critics Association press tour. "I think one of the biggest changes that we need to do is we need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning, because part of what ends up happening as we go along is there just aren't as many candidates to ultimately end up in the role of the next bachelor or bachelorette," she said at the time. "So that is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards."
One person thrilled with the announcement was Viall, who tweeted his congratulations to Lindsay after it was revealed. "My heart is full of joy for you Rachel. Congrats!!" Viall wrote. "You will be one hell of a Bachelorette!! Beauty & class.. you have it all!!" He later added that there's "No one better to show Bachelor Nation, & the world, the beauty of embracing diversity!"
Watch Lindsay get named the first black bachelorette above.
My heart is full of joy for you Rachel. Congrats!! You will be one hell of a Bachelorette!! Beauty & class.. you have it all!! TheBachelor— Nick Viall (@viallnicholas28) February 14, 2017