Katie and Michael 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC

Who Will Be the Next Bachelor? Here's What We Know About Season 26

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Jul. 12 2021, Updated 7:47 p.m. ET

This year is a unique one for the Bachelor franchise. Not only have we bid farewell to longtime host Chris Harrison, but we’re also getting not one but two Bachelorette seasons. Both Bachelorettes come from the controversial Matt James-led Bachelor season. But having two Bachelorettes in one year means that the pool for our next Bachelor is bigger than ever.

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We’ve heard very little about the upcoming Bachelor season, which is expected for 2022. We don’t yet know who the next host will be, where the season will be filmed, or who the Bachelor himself will be. But fans already have some hopes and theories about the next Bachelor.

Greg and Katie 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC
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Who will be the next Bachelor?

It’s generally expected that future Bachelors and Bachelorettes will be cast from previous seasons, and there usually isn’t a huge gap between the season they appear on and the season that they lead. For instance, our first Bachelorette of 2021, Katie Thurston, was on Matt James’ Bachelor season, which premiered in January of 2021. Our next Bachelorette, Michelle Young, also came from Matt’s season, and she’ll lead her own season in the fall of 2021.

While our next Bachelor may end up being a Bachelor Nation newbie, like Matt James was, there’s already a large pool of potential candidates who could be chosen. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our previous Bachelorette season was delayed. Though Matt was initially supposed to be Clare Crawley’s suitor, he was picked as the Bachelor for Season 25 instead.

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Thomas 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC

This meant that the contestants for Clare (and later Tayshia Adams) were unable to be named as a Bachelor. Could we end up seeing Ben Smith make a return for The Bachelor Season 26?

Not only could ABC choose from Clare and Tayshia’s season, but we could also see a Bachelor from Katie’s season. Currently, top picks from fans include Greg Grippo, Andrew Spencer, and Michael Allio. It seems safe to assume that Thomas Jacobs is not about to be chosen to lead his own season.

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However, it’s very unlikely that we’ll hear who the next Bachelor is when Katie’s season comes to an end. Considering that we have two Bachelorettes this year, he may end up being chosen from Michelle’s season. So, if he’s announced as the Bachelor before Michelle’s season even airs, it would definitely spoil his Bachelorette journey before fans get to watch it. ABC would likely wait until after he’s eliminated before sharing the news.

Michelle and Katie 'The Bachelorette'
Source: ABC
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We typically find out between August and September who the next Bachelor will be. If they don’t choose from Michelle’s season, we should expect to hear the announcement around that time. Although Matt James was picked all the way back in June of 2020, his announcement was an outlier, with COVID-19-induced production delays and confusion to blame for the switch-up in the schedule.

When is the release date for Season 26?

Although we know that the next season of The Bachelor is expected in January of 2022, we don’t yet know what the exact release date is. We also don’t know who the next host will be, although Variety reports that whoever is named the next Bachelor host will be the permanent one. The Bachelor Season 26 is expected to begin filming in the fall of 2021.

In the meantime, catch Katie Thurston’s Bachelorette season Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

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