‘The Bachelor’ Producers Seeing ‘Record-Setting’ Number Of Applications For Matt James’ Season

Matt James attends the relaunch of The Delta SkyMiles® American Express Cards
Craig Barritt / Getty Images

Less than a week ago, ABC surprised The Bachelor fans by announcing that Matt James would be the next man handing out roses. On Wednesday morning, network executive Rob Mills shared some fun details with Ryan Seacrest about how Matt’s season is coming together. For one thing, Mills said, they are getting a huge number of applications from women specifically wanting to be on the new season.

Last Friday, ABC announced their decision to have Matt as The Bachelor via a surprise segment on Good Morning America. When Mills called into On Air with Ryan Seacrest on Tuesday, he shared that this early announcement was definitely the right call for the network.

Mills said that he had just learned that they had already received more than 6,500 applications from women hoping to be one of Matt’s bachelorettes this winter. He said that’s a record-setting pace, and that the response to choosing Matt had been fantastic.

As he chatted with Seacrest, Mills set the record straight on a few other tidbits related to this upcoming season of The Bachelor. After last week’s news broke, it was reported that Clare Crawley hadn’t even been told that Matt was going to be the next lead. That was pertinent because he was originally slated to be a contestant on her season.

Mills said that Clare was told about the decision the day prior to the GMA announcement. They didn’t want her to be caught off-guard, but they also wanted to do what they could to keep it all under wraps.

Some fans of The Bachelor have questioned why ABC would pick and announce Matt as their next lead so soon. He’s an unknown to many viewers, as he has not appeared on Clare’s season yet. However, The Bachelorette fans who follow Tyler Cameron, last year’s runner-up, are likely quite familiar with the new Bachelor.

In addition, as Mills said, it wasn’t realistic to wait until the usual time to make the announcement about Matt. Typically, ABC chooses a guy from the most recent season of The Bachelorette, revealing the decision in early September and starting filming shortly after that.

In this case, that doesn’t work. Clare’s season hasn’t been filmed yet due to the coronavirus pandemic. By the time her run as The Bachelorette goes on-air, production will already have started filming Matt’s The Bachelor run.

Whether ABC announced Matt as their pick now or a bit later, fans wouldn’t have seen much of him as a contestant on Clare’s run. Plus, he’d already be in the process of filming his own season if the network revealed their pick at the usual time in early fall. Given that, there’s likely no way they’d have been able to keep that under wraps.

Production is essentially aiming to film Clare and Matt’s seasons back-to-back, with The Bachelor premiering in January as usual. There are still plenty of unknowns at this point, but ABC does seem to be making solid progress on getting the necessary pieces into place.