THE BACHELOR chose Clayton Echard as the latest lead because he’s a “wholesome Midwestern gentleman” following the show’s scandals, The Sun can reveal.
After recent years of controversy for racism as well as an incident of alleged sexual misconduct on set, the ABC franchise is looking to purify their show with the small-town boy.
Missouri native Clayton, 28, who is from the tiny town of Eureka, was chosen as a “last minute” decision, a source close to production told The Sun.
“It’s a big gamble with Clayton because viewers don’t even know him yet but he’s a midwestern gentleman that the audience will love,” the insider gushed.
They continued: “He’s very naive and pure to the whole TV thing, he’s not an aspiring influencer like a lot of these people.
“He will charm the audience at a time the show desperately needs a more wholesome lead.”
The source went onto explain that the unconventional choice of picking a Bachelor before their Bachelorette season even airs was due to scheduling.
“It’s not an ideal situation with the pandemic postponing things and Michelle’s season airing so late in the year which is not typical, there’s no way around the scheduling conflict.
“The Bachelor begins production in a few weeks and so they didn’t have a choice. It was either: have someone that wasn’t the producers top pick to be the lead or have an unconventional filming schedule.
“Ultimately what they did is in the best interest of the franchise,” the informant added.
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The town of Eureka, Missouri is already celebrating their hometown hero becoming the next big reality star.
A large banner that reads “Go Find Love Clayton!” Is now hanging up over one of their main roads.
“Eureka is ecstatic about Clayton being The Bachelor. Eureka is a small town and this is definitely one of the most exciting things to happy from one of our community members,” a source close to the mayor told The Sun.
They continued: “Nothing like this has happened around there before. The entire town is buzzing about it and will be rooting for him.
“They got a huge banner up when we found out the show was coming here and hung it up. I think it embarrassed Clayton a little bit but they’re proud of that boy.
“It’s exciting the exposure this town will get too, they’re a great little community that’s proud to be who we are.
“And they look after our own so if any haters try to come for him, Clayton will always have his whole hometown backing him up so don’t talk bad about their boy!”
Fans of the dating franchise have not yet met Clayton, who will appear as a contestant on Michelle’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette.
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After the network had a number of other men from Bachelor Nation – including fan-favorite Tyler Cameron and the controversial Greg Grippo – to fill the leading role, Clayton was named the next Bachelor, The Sun can confirm.
Despite Michelle’s season of The Bachelorette not airing yet, it appears Clayton’s season of The Bachelor has already begun production.
Speculation about the show’s new leading man began when photos leaked of Clayton with a camera crew, which were published by E! News on Wednesday.
The move comes after the show was forced to let go of longtime host, Chris Harrison, for being at the center of the series’ racism scandal.
Additionally, the show had a dark cloud looming over it – especially when it comes to alcohol consumption and sex – since Bachelor In Paradise’s 2017 season.
Contestants Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson were involved in a sexual encounter that neither could allegedly give consent to due to how much they had drank that day.
Since the incident, the show has limited the amount of drinks the contestants are allowed to consume while filming.
Clayton can be seen on Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette which premieres on Tuesday, October 19 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
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