The next two Bachelorettes have been announced! Katie Thurston and Michelle Young were revealed as the next two franchise leads during Matt James’ After the Final Rose special, which was hosted by Emmanuel Acho on Monday.
Katie, 30, and Michelle, 27, will each get their own season of the show. Katie’s journey as The Bachelorette is set to premiere summer 2021, and Michelle’s season will air fall 2021.
Katie, a bank marketing manager, was eliminated from Matt’s season in February. She is the first woman to be cast as the Bachelorette without having made it to the top 10.
She made waves on night one, when she greeted Matt with a vibrator as part of her entrance. It rubbed some of the contestants the wrong way, but Katie became a fan favorite for her maturity.
Meanwhile, Michelle, a teacher, was the runner-up, with Matt instead choosingRachael Kirkconnell in the season finale. Matt and Rachael have since split, amid her ongoing racism controversy.
She was one of five women to enter the season late, but quickly became a front-runner after a memorable one-on-one date with Matt.
After rumors sparked that Katie would be starring as the next Bachelorette, she played coy on social media. “Reading my texts this morning like News to me,” she wrote on her Instagram Story.
The announcement of Katie and Michelle’s casting comes as the Bachelor franchise has made headlines following Chris Harrison’s controversial interview.
During a Feb. 9 interview with Rachel Lindsay, Chris defended Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions and encouraged people to offer her “grace.” He later apologized for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
In his second apology, Chris announced that he’d be taking time off and would not be hosting the After the Final Rose special.
“By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term ‘woke police,’ which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong,” he wrote in part before sending a message to the Black and BIPOC communities.
“The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions. To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time,” Chris added.
During his first televised interview with Michael Strahan on Good Morning America,Chris admitted that he “made a mistake” in defending Rachael.
Follow along with ET’s coverage of the Bachelor finale and the After the Final Rose special here.
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