Ben Flajnik will be the next star of the ABC dating reality show "The Bachelor," reports say, although the network has not confirmed this.
The 16th season of the series is set to premiere midseason in 2012. It will see its main male star choose from among 25 women.
Us Weekly magazine said on Wednesday, August 24, that Flajnik would head the next season of "Bachelor", echoing previous unconfirmed reports. An ABC spokesperson told OnTheRedCarpet.com: "We have nothing to confirm or announce at this point."
Flajnik, a 28-year-old winemaker from Somona, California, was the runner-up on the recent seventh season of the program's spin-off, "The Bachelorette," which saw star Ashley Hebert pick J.P Rosenbaum over him. They are now engaged. (Check out a recap and photos from the finale.)
Flajnik made headlines earlier this month when several entertainment news outlets linked him romantically to actress Jennifer Love Hewitt. She told Ryan Seacrest's syndicated KIIS-FM radio show in mid-August that she and Flajnik met "totally by coincidence" and that she is "totally single."
Seacrest's co-host Ellen K. said after Hewitt's interview that an "inside source" told her that Flajnik would become the next star of "The Bachelor," adding: "It's happening, and here's why - because, any waiverings they had, once they found out this movie star is in 'like' with him, let's lock him."
Hebert, 27, and Rosenbaum, 34, told reporters after the August 1 finale that they would watch the next season of "The Bachelor" if Flajnik or several other eliminated contestants were its star.
Brad Womack headed "The Bachelor" this year and also competed on the show in 2007. He and the winner of the recent 15th season, Emily Maynard, have since broken up.