'Bachelor' Producers Promise 'Significant Changes' for Franchise Amid Calls for Diversity

(Abc/Craig Sjodin)

The Bachelor team is making a pledge after casting their first black Bachelor. Like many longtime fans, they want the franchise to "do better."

Following the announcement on Friday that Matt James would be the franchise's first black male lead, executive producers of The Bachelor released a statement addressing the franchise's lack of diversity.

"We are excited to move forward with both Matt James as the new Bachelor and Clare Crawley as our next Bachelorette. We acknowledge our responsibility for the lack of representation of people of color on our franchise and pledge to make significant changes to address this issue moving forward," the statement read. "We are taking positive steps to expand diversity in our cast, in our staff, and most importantly, in the relationships that we show on television. We can and will do better to reflect the world around us and show all of its beautiful love stories."

Host Chris Harrison also took to Instagram, writing, "Congrats Matt James! #TheBachelor family is thrilled to start this journey with our new Bachelor! We can and we will do better to portray diverse love stories that reflect the world around us. This is just the beginning."

Harrison's post, and the statement from the Bachelor EPs, echoes the statement ABC released this morning, shortly after James' casting was announced on Good Morning America. Season 25 will mark the first time the franchise has ever had a black male lead in its 18-year history.

"We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience," the statement read. "This is just the beginning, and we will continue to take action with regard to diversity issues on this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first Black Bachelor and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him.”

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