'The Bachelor' Announces Peter Weber Will Be Its Next Leading Man

Get ready for the windmill jokes Bachelor Nation, because Peter Weber has officially been named the next star of The Bachelor! "Pilot Pete" will be searching for love in Season 24 of the ABC dating show, the network announced Tuesday during the Bachelor in Paradise season finale. Weber made waves in Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette by making the absolute most of the Fantasy Suite a shocking four times in one night before being sent home.

The announcement came near the end of three-hour season finale of Bachelor in Paradise when host Chris Harrison brought the pilot to the stage and shocked the studio audience, and the cast members with the big news.

"What is life?" Weber said. "I feel so grateful right now, to have this opportunity in front of me. This is crazy. This is life-changing."

"My entire life I've looked forward to finding my girl, that person that I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with... I feel like the luckiest kid ever," he added. "I have all the faith in the world that this can work for me, and I know it's going to."

Weber praised his successor, Bachelorette Hannah Brown, saying he commended her for being herself throughout her season of the ABC series. He said he was committed to being authentic throughout the "ups and downs" of the process and promised to follow his heart.

Prior to Weber's announcement, many fans were campaigning for Brown's suitor Mike Johnson to star as the first black Bachelor and the first veteran Bachelor. But in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Johnson revealed he thought Weber would be the network's pick in the end.

"I think the Bachelor would be Peter," Johnson said in August. "Based on [the fact that] history repeats itself. I think Peter looks the part... when he gets a 5 o'clock shadow, he looks good too."

"He'd be a safe Bachelor, meaning that he won't do anything crazy obnoxious," he continued. "I think it'd be a good, safe, clean season if he were the Bachelor."

That doesn't mean Weber hasn't come under scrutiny in the past, with ex-girlfriend Calee Lutes telling Entertainment Tonight she suspected he called off their serious relationship to appear on The Bachelorette.

"He absolutely betrayed me," she revealed in July. "He interviewed for a reality dating show while simultaneously planning a future with me. I trusted him entirely and he pulled the rug out from under me. Also, if all of this wasn't bad enough, I've had multiple people reach out to me and tell me that he was seeing other women while we were exclusive."

"I can see why he's a fan favorite. If I didn't know him, I would think he's a very sweet, genuine person," she added. "That's what I saw in him too. But, knowing his true colors now, I believe it's all an act. He tells women what they want to hear regardless if it's true or not."

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The Bachelor returns for a new season Jan. 6 on ABC.

Photo credit: ABC/John Fleenor

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