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‘Golden Bachelorette’ Revealed By ABC

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It’s official: Joan Vassos will be the Golden Bachelorette for ABC.

Vassos, a 61-year-old grandmother and school administrator from Rockland, Maryland, was revealed to be the next senior looking for love when she made a surprise appearance Tuesday at Disney’s upfront presentation to Madison Avenue ad buyers.

She follows Gerry Turner as the lead in ABC’s Golden franchise, becoming the first Golden Bachelorette star after the network formally picked up the series following heavy speculation in February.

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The Golden spinoff revitalized The Bachelor franchise for ABC and producers Warner Bros. Television. The series will launch in the fall on Wednesdays on ABC. Claire Freeland, Jason Ehrlich, Bennett Graebner and Andrew Frank exec produce the series.

Joan Vassos, pictured here for The Golden Bachelor. ABC

As THR previously reported, casting for the Golden Bachelorette was going to be “different,” according to Ehrlich, who said the process will be “almost like doing it for the first time all over again. What is it going to be like with 20-some older men living in the Bachelor Mansion? We don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it will be different and interesting. And that’s what makes me want to watch.”

While Golden Bachelor became a ratings hit for ABC and reinvigorated interest in the aging franchise, Turner’s marriage to winner Theresa Nist was short-lived and the couple divorced three months after their televised wedding. The duo said in an interview that a The Hollywood Reporter report on Turner’s not-so-Golden past “didn’t play into” their decision to split. They cited long-distance and dedication to their respective families as the biggest hurdles.

The decision to cast Vassos ends months of speculation that Nist or Golden Bachelor runner-up and fan favorite Leslie Fhima, a 65-year-old fitness instructor from Golden Valley, Minn., could topline Golden Bachelorette.  

Vassos’ time on the inaugural season of Golden Bachelor was cut short; she eliminated herself during week three of the dating competition over a medical concern with her daughter.

Vassos, whose husband died after 32 years of marriage, is a mother of four and grandmother of two. Per her ABC bio, she finds solace “in the music of Elton John, spending time with her dog, and cooking. Now, as she steps into the golden spotlight and begins her journey to seek love once more, Vassos envisions a future filled with shared moments by the beach and cherished time with family.”

The Golden Bachelorette is produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon.

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