Bachelor's Eric Bigger says he was picked to be lead but got replaced by Arie Luyendyk Jr & thinks it was 'due to race'

ERIC Bigger claimed he was picked to be The Bachelor but was replaced last minute by Arie Luyendyk Jr and suspects the decision was “due to race,” he said in a chat with The Sun. 

The Bachelorette fan-favorite from Rachel Lindsay’s season admitted he wanted to become the lead of the franchise but the network opted for a “safer” and “more relatable” option. 

Since joining the franchise in 2017, the 33-year-old has gone on to launch a personal training business, an app, podcast and is even releasing a book titled 100 Days of Wisdom – but revealed he almost added the title of Bachelor to his list of accomplishments. 

In an exclusive talk with The Sun, Eric said he “wanted” to be The Bachelor and the network even reached out to ask. 

However, he claimed it was proposed to him as a dual-lead season, similar to The Bachelorette in 2015 which began with both Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson.

“I was okay with that, like ‘yeah, lets rock & roll.’ And I was in New York and people thought I was there to go on Good Morning America [to make the Bachelor announcement].

“But then as soon as I got on my flight to come back to LA, that’s when Arie came on and he was the Bachelor,” he said. 

Arie, 40, was controversially announced as the Bachelor in 2017 despite it being five years since he appeared on Emily Maynard’s Bachelorette season. 

The Bigger Talks host confessed the move “shook” him as he got “no feedback” about why the decision was changed. 

"I felt like they went back to someone like Arie because he’s more relatable from the audience base, they can get it.” 

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When asked if he thought Arie’s race was a factor in becoming the Bachelor, Eric explained: “Yeah, for sure, that’s the audience. 

“That’s the crazy thing. The first time I went on the show, that’s when I realized it was really a divided America. 

“I draw the line where I can be like, ‘this is wrong, but I understand why that’s right for them.’”

He continued of the franchise: “I believe they don’t really understand me as a whole and where I come from and the world I’m a part of. And they don’t have to. 

“It doesn’t hurt them, my world doesn’t affect their world on any level. It’s all about relating. When you look at the leads from the show who are Black, their backgrounds are much different than mine. 

“They grew up in affluent neighborhoods or their parents did, they have diverse backgrounds. And it’s great! 

“But I come from a predominately Black background and from the inner city where it’s tough. And it’s not that it’s bad but it’s business, let’s be clear. 

“It’s a numbers game. You’re not going to put someone in front of the camera if they don’t bring the audience. It’s safe.” 


Giving examples of how his time on the show differed from fellow contestants, he said: “I’ll be honest, this is something not too many people know, there were some producers at the time on the show, I won’t name names, when we got to [Eric’s hometown] Baltimore, I thought they were going to show up. 

“But when I got there, they weren’t on site. They were like ‘oh, logistically it didn’t work out.’ But I’m like, they went on every hometown to the other cities. 

“I think the perception of Baltimore and how dangerous or violent it could be stimulated some preconceived notion of fear. Not that it’s right.”

The best-selling author also revealed: “The challenge most of the men on my season faced is, the barber on set was a white barber and he didn’t know how to cut a brother’s hair. 

“Even with Rachel, she had hair and makeup people who didn’t really know.’ My overall experience on the show was beautiful though. I fell in love, it changed my life.” 

Reps for The Bachelor did not respond to The Sun's request for comment.


After becoming a fan-favorite on Rachel Lindsay’s season, Eric went on to join Bachelor In Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games. 

He continued his TV career on shows such as Dancing With The Stars and Celebrity Family Feud but is now focused on launching his latest novel, 100 Days Of Wisdom. 

The Maryland native said he was inspired to write the book after exploring his own mental health and awareness, learning to lead with a logical response to problems rather than emotional. 

Eric will be hosting the book’s launch party on Thursday, November 4th at Elektric Studio in Los Angeles with select fans who sign up for tickets. 

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