Matt James/YouTube

Is Matt James Done With ‘Bachelor’ Franchise?

Bachelor, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Nation, News, Reality TV

Does Matt James see himself having a future with the Bachelor Nation franchise? Or is he one-and-done? What does he think about Rachael Kirkconnell possibly joining Bachelor in Paradise

Matt James’ Landmark Bachelor Season Turned into a Hot Mess

Season 25 of The Bachelor was supposed to be inspirational and groundbreaking. After almost 20 years since its 2002 debut, the show finally cast a Black male lead. (The Bachelorette broke this ground in 2017 with Rachel Lindsay.) 

Matt James was originally a suitor for Clare Crawley’s season of Bachelorette. However, filming was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic. While ABC claims they were already planning a Black Bachelor lead, Matt James was officially announced in June 2020. At the time, the country was in the throes of protests and activism for racial equality following George Floyd’s death. 

Not only was Matt the first Black Bachelor, his contestants were the most diverse in the show’s history. Additionally, Abigail Heringer was the first deaf person to appear on the show. She didn’t make it to the final rose ceremony, but she won over viewers with her strength and dignity.

Unlike the rest of Season 25. The season was marred in controversy from the beginning. The first few episodes focused on the cattiness and bullying between the women instead of their connections with Matt. Then photos of Rachael Kirkconnell attending to antebellum-themed party in 2018 hit the internet. 

The ensuing firestorm engulfed the entire franchise, including host Chris Harrison. He spoke to Rachel Lindsay, now a correspondent with Extra, about the photos. Rather than denounce racism, he tried to defend Rachael Kirkconnell. The backlash led to him taking a temporary break from Bachelor Nation. 

Matt James gave his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell. However, their relationship didn’t make it to After the Final Rose. He broke up with her over the photos, mainly because she didn’t understand why he was upset about them. 

Is He Done With Franchise? 

Before appearing as The Bachelor, Matt James didn’t have any reality tv experience. The network typically picks former contestants as leads for the Bachelor or Bachelorette. However, Matt James’ only connection to the franchise was a close friendship with Tyler Cameron from Hannah Brown’s season of The Bachelorette.

It seems that one season of Bachelor Nation is enough for Matt James. He was a guest on The Bill Simmons Podcast earlier this week, Us Weekly reports. When it comes to returning to the franchise, Matt James is going to pass. 

He’s done with dating competitions and dating, period. Matt told the host, “I’m not going to be dating. I’m solely focused on getting back to that meaningful work in the community.”

So, don’t expect to see Matt James on Bachelor in Paradise this summer. 

Could Rachael Kirkconnell Show Up in Paradise?

Bachelor in Paradise may already have one contestant from Clare Crawly’s season of The Bachelorette. But could Rachael Kirkconnell head to the island, too? 

She hasn’t spoken about it either way. But if she does, Matt James doesn’t have a problem with it. He said that BiP is not “in the cards” for him. But he won’t hold it against any of Season 25 contestants going on the show. Without naming Rachael, he said, “[If] that’s in someone else’s cards, all power to them.” 

Do you think Matt James should give Bachelor Nation shows another chance? Or would you prefer not to see him stay with the franchise? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Jennifer Havener

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