ABC Confirms Which Man From Michelle Young's Season is the New Bachelor

The Bachelor franchise may have been airing episodes non-stop for the last six months, but its time on TV is not over just yet. ABC has announced that The Bachelor season 26 will air straight after the end of Michelle Young's season of The Bacheloretteand one of her rejected men will be the new lead.

After two seasons of The Bachelorette and one of Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor is coming back in early 2022 for the first time since Matt James' ill-fated season and the racism row that ended in Chris Harrison exiting the franchise.

An ABC press release calls the exit of the new Bachelor from Michelle's season "one of the most emotional and heart-wrenching moments in Bachelor history." Which is laying it on rather thick, but his bond with the five-graders who the suitors met in one episode did melt the heart of many fans.

Here's who will be the next Bachelor, and when you can watch their debut.

The Bachelor Season 26 release date

While Michelle's season aired on Tuesdays, The Bachelor is moving back to Monday nights. The new season begins on the first Monday of 2022. Specifically, that is Monday, January 3 at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT.

This means that the new season of The Bachelor will air just two weeks after "After the Final Rose." This means there will be no episodes of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette on December 28—the first week we have not had an episode of The Bachelor franchise every week since Katie's season began in June 2021.

As ever, the episode will be available to watch on Hulu from 5 a.m. ET every Tuesday.

clayton bachelor
Michelle Young with Clayton Echard. Clayton will be the Bachelor for 2020. ABC

Who is the new Bachelor?

Choosing between 30 women this year will be Clayton Echard, a 28-year-old medical sales representative from Eureka, Missouri.

Earlier this year, he came eighth on Michelle's season before he was eliminated in Week 6. Though he did not make much of an impact in the early weeks, he was given more screentime when the final eight met some of the children Michelle teaches, when he charmed the children with his fort-building skills.

When younger, Clayton was a walk-on for the football team at the University of Missouri, before being briefly signed to the Seattle Seahawks.

ABC describes Clayton as "a puppy-loving goofball with a heart of gold (and surprisingly good dance moves) who is ready to find the love of his life," and whose biggest aims are to find a wife and start his own business. The network also mentions his "rugged good looks and Viking-level athleticism" in a statement—though viewers will be able to make up their own minds about that early next year.