‘The Bachelor’ Creator Teases Rumors Clayton Echard Is the Next Lead in 2022

Bachelor Nation fans are buzzing about the reports that Clayton Echard is the next bachelor in 2022. But is there any weight to the rumors? Recently, franchise creator Mike Fleiss seemingly responded to all the chatter by dropping more clues about the new Bachelor Season 26 star, and everything seems to align with Clayton.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains potential spoilers from The Bachelorette Season 18 and The Bachelor Season 26.]

Why ‘Bachelorette’ fans think Clayton Echard is the new lead of ‘The Bachelor’ 2022

In August, Bachelor Nation spoiler guru Reality Steve claimed Greg Grippo (The Bachelorette Season 17 with Katie Thurston) was going to be the next bachelor. At the time, Fleiss seemingly responded to the spoilers on Twitter, revealing that “no official decision” had been made. 

Meanwhile, the tides began to shift in September. Multiple reports claimed that the new lead of The Bachelor 2022 was expected to be from Michelle Young’s season of The Bachelorette. Then on Sept. 15, E! News leaked photos of Clayton with a production crew in Eureka, Missouri, and the publication speculated that the 28-year-old was filming promos for the ABC reality series. Hours later, Variety confirmed Clayton as the next bachelor.

Reality Steve also shared The Bachelor Season 26 production spoilers, claiming that Clayton was expected to film his intro package at his old high school in Eureka the next day. Then on Sept. 16, the franchise blogger shared a clip from filming. 

Eureka Mayor Sean Flower also posted a photo of a banner located downtown supporting Clayton’s new journey to find love. In the comments, the mayor confirmed the sign was provided by The Bachelor crew.

“Go find love Clayton!” the banner says, via Facebook.

Mike Fleiss teases the next bachelor for season 26

ABC has yet to confirm Clayton as the new star of The Bachelor Season 26. So fans will just have to wait and see what happens next. That said, Fleiss dropped a few clues about the new lead, and it looks like the rumors surrounding Clayton could still be true.

On Sept. 15, Fleiss confirmed the next bachelor will be from The Bachelorette Season 18 with Michelle. 

“Major Announcement!!! Your new #TheBachelor is a great guy from Michelle’s season of #TheBachelorette. Can’t wait for you to meet him,” Fleiss wrote on Twitter.

The franchise creator also dropped another major clue about the next lead’s name. 

“Another Major Announcement!!! His first name starts with the letter ‘C.’ #TheBachelor,” Fleiss tweeted.

When Michelle’s potential Bachelorette cast was announced on Facebook in July, only four men had names that started with the letter “C.” But whoever the next bachelor will be, it seems fans need to look out for Clayton, Christopher G., Casey, and Chris S.

Tayshia Adams also confirms the new bachelor will be on ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 with Michelle Young

Headshot of Michelle Young from ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 and ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25
Michelle Young from ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 18 and ‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 | Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

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Now, it appears Bachelor Nation fans need to start paying attention when The Bachelorette Season 18 starts on ABC on Oct. 19. In the Sept. 16 episode of the Click Bait podcast, Tayshia Adams — who is co-hosting Michelle’s season alongside Kaitlyn Bristowe — also confirmed that the next bachelor will be from the new season of The Bachelorette.

“Our next bachelor is, indeed, from The Bachelorette Season 18 [with Michelle], and I have to say I have met all of the men,” Adams said, hinting that she knows the identity of the new lead.

Adams also suggested that The Bachelor Season 26 announcement isn’t coming anytime soon. But, at the very least, she promised the next bachelor will be a night one arrival in The Bachelorette Season 18 premiere.

“The next bachelor definitely comes out of the limo on night one,” Tayshia said. “Just make sure to watch night one because you’re not gonna want to miss it.”

ABC did not return a request for comment by the time of publication.

The Bachelorette Season 18 with Michelle Young premieres Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.