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OTRC: Emily Maynard is the new 'Bachelorette' and first single mom to star on show

Emily Maynard appears in a promotional photo for the eighth season of the ABC series 'The Bachelorette,' which premieres in the spring of 2012. (Craig Sjodin)

Emily Maynard has been named officially as the next star of the ABC dating series "The Bachelorette" and is the first single mother to hold the title.

The 25-year-old is set to choose one man out of 25 contestants on the eighth season of the show, which is scheduled to premiere in the spring of 2012.

Maynard won the previous 15th season of "The Bachelor." She seen accepting Brad Womack's proposal on the season finale, which aired in March 2011, but the two confirmed that summer that they had broken up. It was reported in July 2011 that Maynard was in talks to become the next star of the "Bachelorette."

"We've been talking about this for quite some time. When they approached me about it, I said this is a no-brainer," host Chris Harrison told WABC Television, the sister station of OnTheRedCarpet.com's parent company, KABC.

"It's an absolute home run - she was such a viewer favorite and she's so beloved and I just think she'll be a fantastic 'Bachelorette' and she's going to kind of push the envelope again for the show," he said.

Maynard was born in West Virginia and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is the mother of Josephine Riddick "Ricki" Hendrick, 6. Maynard was pregnant with her daughter at the time her fiance and famed NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick died in a plane crash in October 2004.

"When we started this show 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette,' it was a bit controversial, and then a single dad like Jason Mesnick and now, this is our first single mom," Harrison told WABC. "I think it's always interesting to push that kind of social debate and it will be interesting to see how that changes the show itself."

"She will make decisions for her and her daughter Ricki and the guys will have to approach this differently, so it's going to be a very different show, which I love," he added.

Previous female contestants on "The Bachelor" have gone on to star in "The Bachelorette," its spinoff series. Ashley Hebert, who appeared with Maynard and Womack on "The Bachelor," headlined the seventh season. Ali Fedotowsky fell for Roberto Martinez on the 2010 season of "The Bachelorette." The two are also no longer together.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Matarese of WABC Television, sister station of KABC Television, which produces the entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings). Check out WABC's "Bachelor" / "Bachelorette" blog, "Coming Up Roses."

OnTheRedCarpet.com, KABC Television, WABC Television and the ABC Television Network are owned by the Walt Disney Company.

Check out Chris Harrison's interview with WABC about "The Bachelorette" below.

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