After much speculation and even a strong insinuation from former ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee that the next The Bachelorette would be a person of color, the network announced during Monday's The Bachelor finale post-show After the Final Rose that next season's Bachelorette is Joelle "JoJo" Fletcher--a 25-year old from Texas.
(Update: Although Fletcher has expressed pride in her Persian roots--her mother was raised in Iran--ABC's response to past criticisms led many to believe the show would choose a contestant who does not appear white.)
The choice ends the popular theory that Bachelor contestant Caila Quinn, who is half-Caucasian and half-Filipino, would land the gig. She was rumored to win the role not only because a film crew was spotted in her Ohio hometown but also since, after complaints the franchise lacks diversity, Lee said in January " I'd be very surprised if The Bachelorette in the summer isn't diverse." However, Lee stepped down from his position at ABC in February and was replaced by Channing Dungey, whose rise to entertainment president at ABC makes her the first African-American to head programming at a major broadcast network.
Season 12 of The Bachelorette premieres Monday, May 23.