5:25am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
It's Official: Chris Soules Is the Next 'Bachelor'
Get ready for lots of tractor shots on the next season of The Bachelor.
As expected, Chris Soules — a 32-year-old farmer from Lamont, Iowa — has been named the star of the 19th season, airing next year on ABC. The official announcement was made Wednesday morning during ABC's Good Morning America during a segment that included an interview with Soules, who said he's "humbled, flattered, grateful" to be the next Bachelor.
"Coming from a small town, I'd never really expected to have this opportunity to be on either show, let alone be the lead on The Bachelor, so it's been awesome," he said.
He also said he believes it's possible to find love on a TV show.
"I believe in the process," he said. "I believe in what I went through on the previous show, and that's why I'm doing it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't feel like that was a potential."
He added: "My focus is going to be to make the girls that are on the show as comfortable as possible because that was my first initial challenge, was just opening up to Andi."
Soules appeared on the most recent season of The Bachelorette, featuring Andi Dorfman. Soules, who was revealed to be Dorfman's "secret admirer," made it to the final three — past hometown dates — before she decided to send him home in the middle of their overnight date. (She told him she didn’t see a future with him before the date progressed to the "fantasy suite" portion of the evening.) Dorfman went on to accept a proposal from Josh Murray in the season finale.
Soules had been considered the frontrunner for the gig for some time. During the live finale airing in July, Bachelor alum (and Bachelor in Paradise castmember) Michelle Money asked host Chris Harrison who the next Bachelor was going to be. The audience began chanting "Chris!" as Soules himself looked down sheepishly.
"There are candidates in the room. I just want to say the new Bachelor [long pause] is going to be named later," Harrison joked, adding: "We really will tell you at some other date who the new Bachelor will be. Right?" he added as he put his hand on Soules' shoulder and smiled.
Soules studied agronomy and agriculture at Iowa State University and then helped expand his family's farm, which is said to be a multimillion-dollar business.
Soules had been one of a few names rumored to be in the mix, along with past competitor Arie Luyendyk Jr., who was on Emily Maynard's season of The Bachelorette.
But Luyendyk tweeted Monday that he was out of the running:
I'm not the Bachelor, have fun on the farm people ??
— Arie Luyendyk Jr. (@ariejr) August 26, 2014
Another potential Bachelor rumored at one point to be under consideration was Nick Viall, the runner-up on Dorfman's season who shocked viewers when he admitted on live TV that the two "made love" in the fantasy suite. Fans also lobbied for Marquel Martin, who is currently on spinoff Bachelor in Paradise.
The Bachelor, which is set to return in January, is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton and Alycia Rossiter are the executive producers.