The top contenders to become the first ‘Golden Bachelorette,’ coming to ABC this fall

The Golden Bachelorette’s Facebook photo is pictured Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024.
The Golden Bachelorette’s Facebook photo is pictured Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. |
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In light of the success of “The Golden Bachelor,” ABC announced the series will receive a highly anticipated spinoff — “The Golden Bachelorette.”

The debut season of “The Golden Bachelor” brought the Bachelor Nation franchise its biggest viewership debut since 2021, with an audience of 4.4 million viewers, paving the way for “The Golden Bachelorette,” per Variety.

The first Golden Bachelorette has not been revealed, but we do know it will be a runner-up from the first season of “The Golden Bachelor” — which is ripe with excellent contenders.

On Friday, “The Golden Bachelor” couple Gerry Turner and Theresa Nist announced they are getting a divorce. The reveal comes just three months after the couple got married in a televised ABC special.

“Theresa and I have had a number of heart-to-heart conversations, and we’ve looked closely at our situation, our living situation, so forth and — and we’ve kind of come to the conclusion mutually that it’s probably time for us to — dissolve our marriage,” Turner said in an interview with Juju Chang of “Good Morning America.”

Despite the “Golden” couple’s decision to end their marriage, “The Golden Bachelorette” is still a go for this fall.

The top contenders for ‘The Golden Bachelorette’

The lead for “The Golden Bachelorette” has yet to be announced, but ABC did reveal it would select one of the 22 women who appeared on “The Golden Bachelor.”

“There are so many incredible women from this season. That would be really hard not to (pick from). There are just so many, and you can picture what that would look like in several different ways, and it’s all exciting and fun,” executive producer Jason Ehrlich said during a Variety panel in December.

Out of the 22 senior women ABC has to pick from, here are five of the top contenders to become the first “Golden Bachelorette.”

Joan Vassos

In light of a promising connection with Gerry, Joan’s “Golden Bachelor” run ended prematurely when she was called home to take care of her daughter. Despite leaving the series early on, Joan’s charm left an impression on Bachelor Nation.

Joan, 60, is a mother and grandmother. She lost her husband of 32 years to pancreatic cancer and is ready to date a “family man with whom to blend her life,” per ABC. She works as a private school administrator and likes to cook.

Several fans are nominating Joan to get selected as the first Golden Bachelorette, per X. Her passionate fan base might be enough to put her back on screen as the Bachelorette.

Leslie Fhima

“Golden Bachelor” runner-up Leslie Fhima might be one of the most unique contestants in Bachelor Nation history. She allegedly dated Prince as a teenager and claims she was his inspiration for his 1979 song “Sexy Dancer” (though none of these claims have been verified), per People.

The dance instructor, 65, says she has not dated since breaking up with Gerry on the show but has a newfound approach to dating, per Entertainment Weekly.

“I think I will be more open. I won’t be so picky,” Leslie told Entertainment Weekly. “I used to always want the guy that would snowboard with me and go to rock concerts with me, everything — but now I don’t need everything. I just want the most important things.”

As the “Golden Bachelor” runner-up, Leslie has a good shot at getting selected as the first “Golden Bachelorette.” There have been several instances when a runner-up on “The Bachelor” became the next “Bachelorette.” For example, Trisha Rehn, the runner-up of the first season of “The Bachelor,” went on the be the first “Bachelorette.”

Faith Martin

Faith’s down-to-earth, adventurous spirit propelled her into Gerry’s top three women on “The Golden Bachelor.” After bringing Gerry home to meet her family and proclaiming her love for him, Faith made an emotional goodbye. But in hindsight, Faith admits their breakup “was the best decision” for both of them, per People.

“I trust the wisdom in Gerry, that he’s looking for specifics in his life that will work for him,” Faith told People. “I can respect that. But he really did touch a special place in my heart and showed me what I didn’t have. I know one quality that I really, really am looking for — that’s the kind of quality that Gerry had.”

Faith, 60, is a professional radio host who enjoys riding horses and music. She wants to find a man who will “enjoy the thrills of life” with her, per ABC.

Ellen Goltzer

Gerry’s biggest lapse in judgement might have been sending home Ellen Goltzer — shortly after she told Gerry she was in love with him. But Ellen’s untimely elimination did not dissuade her from searching for love.

“I have a new lease on love, I know I can fall in love again,” Ellen wrote on Instagram after she was sent home. “I’m so ready to find my forever person, I wasn’t ready for so long, but I’m so ready now!”

Ellen, 71, is a retired teacher who is passionate about pickleball, golf and staying active. She “hopes to grow old with the man of her dreams,” per ABC.

Susan Noles

Susan’s uncanny resemblance to Kris Jenner and homemade meatballs created a stir in Bachelor Nation — sealing her position as a fan favorite. Since leaving the show (she made the top five), Susan cooked her viral meatballs for Glamour magazine, received a shoutout from Kris Jenner and acted as the officiant to Gerry and Theresa’s wedding.

Participating on the “Golden Bachelor” changed Susan’s outlook on relationships and the type of man who is right for her.

“I love being in love, and I really tried. But I believe after this show, it cured me. I always thought I was a woman that needed a man, and now I realize I’m a woman that a man needs,” Susan, 66, said after five weeks on the series, per her Instagram.

When does ‘The Golden Bachelorette’ premiere?

“The Golden Bachelorette” will launch on ABC in fall 2024, per Variety. An official release date has not been announced but the series is expected to air following Season 21 of “The Bachelorette,” which typically runs in July and August.