He ultimately chose to pursue a relationship with Rachael Kirkconnell.
Filming and development
The new season was announced on May 21, 2020.
The premiere date of January 4, 2021, was announced on November 10, 2020.
The official poster was released on December 7, 2020.
As with the 16th season of The Bachelorette, the season was filmed entirely at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pennsylvania, 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh due to quarantine safety protocols.
Casting and contestants
Matt James was announced as the Bachelor on June 12, 2020. He was originally supposed to be a part of Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette. Matt is the first black Bachelor in franchise history, and while it was intended and announced as the second Afro-American lead (after Rachel Lindsay of the 13th season of The Bachelorette), the sudden introduction of Tayshia Adams as a co-lead on 16th season of The Bachelorette, made Matt the third Afro-American lead of the franchise. He is also the first lead to have not previously appeared on The Bachelorette since Matt Grant in season 12.
On October 5, 2020, 43 possible contestants were announced on the official Bachelor Facebook page. In an official release posted on December 7, 2020, it was revealed that only 32 women would take part in the show. This is the highest amount of women to appear on the show. The release also revealed that eight women will be sent home during the first rose ceremony. On December 11, 2020, the final cast of 32 women was revealed.
A notable contestant is Mariela "Mari" Pepin, who had previously been crowned Miss Maryland USA 2019. Pepin later went on to place within the top ten at Miss USA 2019, where she competed against season 24 contestants Victoria Paul and Alayah Benavidez. Another contestant is Kit Keenan, who is the daughter of fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.
The season began with 32 contestants.
Katie Thurston was announced as the next bachelorette on the After The Final Rose special. Her season will air in May 2021.
Michelle Young was also announced as the bachelorette on the After The Final Rose special. Her season will air in Fall 2021.
|5||Chelsea||Sarah||Kit||Pieper||Ryan||Serena P.||Serena P.||Pieper|
|7||Magi||Serena P.||Rachael||Magi||Serena P.||Pieper||Jessenia||Kit|
|12||Khaylah||Pieper||Serena C.||Serena C.||Katie||Brittany
|13||Serena C.||Mari||Serena P.||Abigail||Abigail|
|The contestant received a first impression rose.|
|The contestant received a rose during the date.|
|The contestant received a rose outside of a rose ceremony or date.|
|The contestant was eliminated.|
|The contestant eliminated outside the rose ceremony.|
|The contestant was eliminated during the date.|
|The contestant quit the competition.|
|The contestant won the competition.|
|No. in season||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Week 1: Limo Arrivals"||January 4, 2021|
|A record-breaking 32 exceptional, beautiful women have come from all over the country to leave their everyday lives behind for the opportunity to meet the accomplished, handsome heartthrob from North Carolina. The bachelorettes pull out all the stops to catch his eye. One woman causes a stir by arriving in nothing but black lingerie and asks Matt to help her pick out an outfit from a rack of clothes. But the drama is ratcheted up when dueling ladies arrive: one in a chauffeur-driven gold Bentley, only to be upstaged by another being carried in on a throne like Cleopatra, wearing a gold crown. Behold "the Queen"! However, nothing can stop the first blossoms of romance from blooming between Matt and the women. One who was born deaf and has a cochlear implant wins his admiration, but will she garner the coveted first impression rose? Matt finds his first rose ceremony overwhelming, discovering it difficult to say goodbye to the women he really didn’t want to disappoint. Twenty-four hopeful bachelorettes remain to join him on his romantic adventure to find the love of his life who could be his future wife.|
|2||"Week 2"||January 11, 2021|
|The 24 women who survived the rose ceremony on arrival night discover that dating Matt is intoxicating although the atmosphere among the women is plain toxic. Matt's adventurous first date with Bri triggers an emotional bombshell between the other jealous women, including Victoria. The largest group date in Bachelor history has 18 women dress up for a wedding photo shoot, with Matt as the groom kissing his brides. Sarah is thrilled to join Matt on a romantic ride aboard a 1930s biplane, but the love-struck bachelorette is having a difficult time seeing him with other ladies, leading to multiple women spiraling out of control.|
|3||"Week 3"||January 18, 2021|
|Sarah is at the center of an emotional firestorm that envelops Matt and the other women as the rose ceremony continues. A steamy group date, featuring Bachelor Nation favorite Ashley Iaconetti Haibon, offers the women a chance to write their own hot love scenes with Matt and read them to him in front of a live audience. Serena P. finds out if her initial feelings for Matt could develop into something more serious. And even though his journey just started, Matt’s biggest fear comes to pass, leaving him devastated.|
|4||"Week 4"||January 25, 2021|
|Still reeling from Sarah’s sudden departure, Matt fights his tendency to put up walls as his journey continues with the 18 remaining women vying for his heart. Emotions in the house continue to run high, leading to a trash-talking face-off between Victoria and Katie, and even former Bachelor Ben Higgins and Bachelor Nation favorite Wells Adams can’t diffuse the drama as things get physical on two group dates. Chelsea takes the opportunity to get real with Matt about her journey to self-love, and Chris Harrison drops a bombshell that will change the course of the season.|
|5||"Week 5"||February 1, 2021|
|With a rose ceremony looming, Matt has a few tough conversations, making it clear to the house that toxic behavior won’t fly; but not everyone takes that news to heart and one woman finds herself in an emotional spiral of denial. Later, the group date showcases Matt’s country roots and reveals who is comfortable getting down and dirty. Two one-on-one dates lead to a shopping spree for one woman and a delicious home-cooked meal for the other.|
|6||"Week 6"||February 8, 2021|
|Halfway through Matt’s journey to find love, time is running out for the remaining women to strengthen their connection with the Bachelor. Emotions run high as rivals come face-to-face, cocktail parties are called off, and a group date gets unexpectedly competitive. Pieper and Matt take a break from the drama with a romantic carnival date complete with a performance by Temecula Road; and later, tensions are briefly lifted when Matt’s best friend and Bachelor Nation favorite Tyler Cameron stops by. But everything could change when former cast member Heather Martin (season 23) makes a surprise visit to the house, proving that the twists and turns just don’t stop coming.|
|7||"Week 7"||February 15, 2021|
|With hometowns on the horizon, Matt and the remaining women all take a serious look at their potential future together, resulting in more than a few difficult decisions. Former cast member Heather Martin isn’t the only source of drama during this jam-packed week that includes two one-on-one dates, a group date, two rose ceremonies and a performance by GRAMMY®-nominated artist Aloe Blacc. Don’t blink or you may miss something.|
|8||"Week 8"||February 22, 2021|
|It’s time to meet the families! Though Matt and his final four won’t be leaving the resort, their loved ones have safely arrived and are ready to get to know the man that has stolen these women’s hearts. Over the course of four intense and emotional dates, there will be plenty of tough conversations, heartfelt moments and touching surprises. In the midst of all the thrills, Matt’s ego may not be the only thing bruised along the way.|
|9||"The Women Tell All"||March 1, 2021|
|Fifteen women return to relive the romance and rehash the rivalries from their journeys to find love. Some may seek forgiveness while others take a stand, but everyone will have the opportunity to speak their piece, including the Bachelor himself, Matt James. Among other reunions, Serena P. and Matt will face each other for the first time since her emotional hometown date exit. This pre-taped special takes all the emotion and sprinkles in hilarious bloopers as well as an exclusive sneak peek at the remainder of the season.|
|9||"Fantasy Suites"||March 8, 2021|
|It’s time for fantasy suites! Matt and his three remaining women each enjoy romantic and perfectly tailored one-on-one dates, all of which lead to the big question: Are they ready to spend the night together? But before he can truly consider moving forward in a relationship, Matt must first address the one that has previously held him back. Will an honest conversation be enough to guide him on his quest to find love?|
|10||"Finale"||March 15, 2021|
|As the landmark 25th season comes to a close, the two final women will meet Matt’s family and enjoy one last date before he hands out the final rose. After all this, Matt’s mind seems made up, but when a shocking last-minute development threatens to alter the course of his entire journey, will he give in to his fears or let his heart lead the way?|
|11||"After The Final Rose"||March 15, 2021|
|On-air personality and bestselling author Emmanuel Acho hosts an emotional and impactful evening featuring touching reunions, heart-wrenching confrontations and powerful one-on-one talks with the final women as well as the Bachelor himself, Matt James. Plus –just when you thought the twists and turns were finished – a shocking announcement that will have Bachelor Nation talking.|
Where are they now?