Sorry, Deanie Babies: The next man to embark on a televised search for true love will be Arie Luyendyk Jr. The 35-year-old race-car driver has been laying low since 2012, when he was the runner-up on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette; he was rumored to be the next Bachelor following that season, but the gig then ultimately went to Sean Lowe. The news comes as a surprise, given that Bachelor and Bachelorette stars are typically cast from more recent seasons — Dean Unglert, Peter Kraus, and Eric Bigger, all contestants from Rachel Lindsay’s season of The Bachelorette, had been suggested by fans as worthy stars, but apparently none of them emerged as a compelling enough candidate.
As is often the case in the Bachelor universe, Luyendyk said during his reveal on Good Morning America that his casting was very last minute. If the difference between GMA and ABC’s promo materials is any indication, that could very well be the case (ABC is using Arie’s cast photo from five years ago, while GMA appears to have gotten a hold of a more recent photo, though the Photoshop job does appear to be hastily done):
America officially has its first salt-and-pepper-haired Bachelor. Progress!
This story has been updated throughout.