Rachel Lindsay's season of The Bachelorette is all wrapped up and Bachelor in Paradise is underway, but fans' sights have already turned to the next big question in Bachelor Nation: who's next? More specifically, considering Mike Fleiss' "shocking news" tweet on Wednesday, will the 2018 Bachelor be someone new? The names that are being thrown around for it so far are all familiar faces from Rachel's season, but couldn't ABC also choose someone from outside the franchise?
The most likely contenders this time around are Peter Kraus and Eric Bigger, the attorney's first and second runner up, respectively, but they shouldn't rest easy just yet. The network has a track record of selecting someone from a previous season — typically the one just prior — to helm its next show, but that hasn't always been the case.
It certainly has been for recent history; you have to go back nine seasons to find a Bachelor who wasn't plucked from the cast of a prior season of The Bachelorette. For its first 12 seasons, The Bachelor cast its stars in much the same manner that it cast its contestants; it wasn't until The Bachelorette gained popularity that it began serving as a sort of Bachelor farm team. And that's the way it has stayed, ever since Jason Mesnick was chosen from DeAnna Pappas' rejected pool to be the Season 13 Bachelor.
He's been followed by Jake Pavelka from Jillian Harris' season, the return of Season 11's Brad Womack, Ben Flajnik from Ashley Hebert's season, Sean Lowe from Emily Maynard's season, Juan Pablo Galavis from Desiree Hartsock's season, Chris Soules from Andi Dorfman's season, Ben Higgins from Kaitlyn Bristowe's season, and Nick Viall from one of any number of seasons.
By this point, it's clear that The Bachelor is stuck in recruiting its stars this way, presumably to encourage public interest in the Bachelor from the very beginning. If you've already spent a season getting to know someone, you're that much more invested in their romantic journey by the time the first episode airs.
So, for that reason, in addition to their track record, it's very unlikely that anyone from outside of Bachelor Nation would be cast as the Season 22 Bachelor. Pending what goes down in Bachelor of Paradise Season 4 and overall public sentiment, that makes Peter and Eric the most likely suspects. And, for his part, Reality Steve has his money on Peter.
In a post hinting at some early predictions, Steve points out that Peter is already laying the groundwork for a potential story arc as the next Bachelor; Reality Steve also spoke up on Wednesday to say that his sources were claiming Peter will be the Bachelor, and we all know he's usually right. Will Peter be ready to propose this time? Here's the quote from the personal trainer that had the spoiler-loving expert perking up his ears:
"I went into this entire process totally open-minded and ready for whatever was thrown at me, and even with that I don't think I was prepared. I don't know if I can get to that level [a proposal] with someone that fast, but I certainly know that I tried. In this one instance, I couldn't. I can't really speak to my future. In this one time, it wasn't what I was able to do at that point."
Things can change drastically, of course, so whether the Bachelor mantle lands on Eric, Peter, or someone else entirely is still pretty open. But one eventuality that seems the most unlikely is a non-Bachelor Nation Bachelor.