'The Bachelor' Announces Premiere Date for Colton Underwood's Season

Colton Underwood's search for love on season 23 of The Bachelor will begin on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, ABC announced Wednesday.

The former pro football player first appeared on Becca Kufrin's season of The Bachelorette in 2018, but wasn't able to make it work with the Minnesota native, now engaged to suitor Garrett Yrigoyen. Underwood then appeared on Bachelor in Paradise over the summer, romancing Tia Booth on the beaches of Mexico before breaking things off with the Arkansas native and packing his bags for Bachelor Mansion.

According to the network, "It was his good looks, love for dogs and vulnerability that charmed not only Bachelorette Becca Kufrin, but all of Bachelor Nation. This former NFL player made a play for Becca's heart but was sadly sent home after professing he had fallen in love. Now Colton is back and ready to capture hearts across America yet again when he returns for another shot at love."

Bachelor Nation watched as the Indiana native met three of the women who would be vying for his heart during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in September, where he also opened up about his decision to maintain his virginity throughout his Bachelorette and Paradise journey.

"I know how it was to go through Bachelorette and go through Paradise and know how good it was for me to continue to grow," he said. "So I knew the experience I had prior to it, and I was super excited because it's helped me grow as a person."

He continued, "I'm so excited to not only meet my fiancée and my wife, but to [also meet] the mother of my children and someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I feel like I was born to be a dad, so I'm literally super excited for this."

As for the infamous Fantasy Suites dates? "I'm looking forward to the Fantasy Suites because you could do more in the Fantasy Suites than just have sex," he told DeGeneres. "We could play board games. We could hang out."

Underwood has faced a fair amount of criticism from fellow Bachelor Nation members who don't think the 26-year-old is ready and willing to pledge his life to another person, however.

"I love Colton, don't get me wrong, but [he's] not my Bachelor," Bachelorette alum Dean Unglert told Entertainment Tonight in September. "He's a very nice person... He's well-intentioned. He is beautiful. I just think it's going to be a dumpster fire."

"You know, [he's] a little young. He's younger than me," Unglert answered when asked why he thought Underwood wasn't a good choice. "He might be more advanced in his life than I am, but I don't necessarily see him marrying the woman that he chooses... I don't think he knows exactly what he wants."

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The Bachelor returns for a two-hour premiere on Monday, Jan. 7 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo credit: Getty / John Medina