Through 16 seasons, all of the men given star billing to search for a mate were white. This has also been the case with the women in the seven seasons of ABC's "The Bachelorette." Two Hispanic contestants have been selected winners; the rest were all white.
This has also been the case with the pool of would-be mates, with no black women vying for the bachelor's hand during the past four seasons, and only one in season 12. That's one black woman out of 130, according to a review of the casts posted online.
One of the Nashville men who sued, 26-year-old teacher Christopher Johnson, said he was stopped immediately when he went to a casting call for "The Bachelor" and asked what he was doing there. He said he was told to hand in materials, and never got a call-back or tryout.
Warner Horizon Television, which produces the series, called the complaint "baseless and without merit." The company said producers "have been consistently - and publicly - vocal about seeking diverse candidates for both programs."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.