‘The Bachelor’ Ukraine Returns With War Veteran Oleksandr Budko as Lead

The Ukrainian edition of “The Bachelor” is set to return with 28-year-old war veteran Oleksandr Budko as the lead.

Produced by Starlight Media (an STB channel) and Warner Bros. International Television, the iconic dating format has been adapted in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Budko’s casting is a key part of that. The war vet signed up to defend his country in February 2022 and within six months was promoted to platoon commander. But his army career was cut short during the battle for Kharkiv when a shell landed near him, causing Budko to lose both his legs. He has since undergone extensive rehabilitation and had prosthetics fitted.

Budko has continued to achieve great things, competing in Prince Harry’s international athletics tournament for injured veterans, the Invictus Games, where he won a medal, and taking part in a ballet performance alongside the United Ukrainian Ballet in California. He has also appeared in Sarah Jessica Parker-produced film “Front Row” and written a book called “The Story of a Stubborn Man.”

“I am not looking for an ideal. I’m looking for someone whose inner world I can admire,” says Budko of joining “The Bachelor” universe. “I want her to be a person with great respect for veterans who cares about barrier-free and inclusive spaces. For me, ‘The Bachelor’ is a chance to meet someone I want to try and start a family with. I know from my own experience that miracles can be found anywhere, and I believe one can find love on the show.”

CEO of Starlight Media Oleksandr Bohutskyi comments: “We thank Warner Bros. International Television for this undoubtedly important partnership and their willingness to see new power and senses in the world’s iconic format in the extraordinary circumstances of the Russian-Ukrainian war. We believe that love and life will win. This fall, on STB, we will be cheering for the love story of our modern-day hero and shaping the culture of new relationships.”

Andrew Zein, WBITVP’s SVP for creative, format development and sales says: “‘The Bachelor’ is one of the world’s most loved and successful dating formats and we are thrilled to be working with Starlight Media and STB to bring it back to Ukraine. Having someone as inspirational as Oleksandr Budko as this season’s Bachelor is incredibly exciting, and we have no doubt that he’s going to be hugely popular with contestants and audiences alike.”

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