'The Bachelor' names its new leading man, Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Producers of The Bachelor promised fans a truly “shocking” announcement — and for the first time in forever, they weren’t exaggerating. This January, Arie Luyendyk Jr. — best known to fans as the runner-up on Emily Maynard’s season of The Bachelorette in 2012 — will be returning to the fold as the Bachelor.

The news, announced on Good Morning America this morning, came as an actual shock to fans and Bachelor scholars. Even infamous Bachelor spoiler sleuth Reality Steve was predicting up until Wednesday that Peter Kraus, the salt-and-pepper haired runner up from the 2017 season of The Bachelorette, would be the one handing out the roses. It seems that Kraus was, in fact, in serious discussions with ABC to be the Bachelor, but something unexpected apparently derailed his “journey” to Casa Bachelor. Good Morning America had promised to announce the new Bachelor on Friday, Sept. 1 — but that plan was scrapped, leading to lots of fan speculation about behind-the-scenes drama, including some concerns that ABC might be about to cancel the long-running romance franchise.

Bachelor producer Mike Fleiss soon took to twitter again to reassure fans…

…and then on Wednesday, Fleiss dropped a new bomb on Bachelor Nation:

Luyendyk has remained largely out of the Bachelor spotlight since losing out to Jef Holm in Season 8 of The Bachelorette. (Emily Maynard and Holm broke up in October 2012; she is now married to Tyler Johnson and pregnant with her third child.) In addition being a driver on the racing circuit, Luyendyk is also a part-time real estate agent. (Click here to read more about his history with the Bachelor franchise.) Though he rarely talks about The Bachelor on social media, he did offer this prescient (and at the time, no doubt joking) tweet last month.

This is the second last-minute Bachelor switcheroo in as many seasons: In August 2016, producers handed the gig to Nick Viall, after negotiations with fan favorite (and fellow Bachelorette contestant) Luke Pell fell apart.

So, rose lovers, what do you think of Team Bachelor’s choice? Take our poll below!

The Bachelor premieres January 2018 on ABC. 

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