Gerry Turner is ABC's 1st 'Golden Bachelor': Everything to know about the new dating show

Meet Gerry Turner, star of The Golden Bachelor. (Photo: ABC/Brian Bowen Smith)
Meet Gerry Turner, star of The Golden Bachelor. (Photo: ABC/Brian Bowen Smith)

Bachelor Nation is officially expanding once again, with the latest addition to the franchise coming in as one of the most anticipated spin-offs since The Bachelorette. It's called The Golden Bachelor, and now that 71-year-old father of two, Gerry Turner, has been revealed as the show's leading man, it's time to look at everything there is to know about the next chapter in what has been a very successful franchise.

What is the show?

The Golden Bachelor is a spin-off of The Bachelor, the popular dating show that premiered in 2002 that revolves around a single man looking to find a wife from a pool of potential romantic interests.

And while The Bachelor has generally centered around twentysomethings and people in their early 30s, The Golden Bachelor will focus on an older generation of people looking for love in what ABC calls their "golden years." The women who've been casted are described as having "a lifetime of experience, living through love, loss and laughter, hoping for a spark that ignites a future full of endless possibilities."

Other than the age groups bringing a different kind of vibe, the show structure will remain the same as it has been with The Bachelor, with our golden man handing out roses at the end of each episode while sending potential suitors home.

Who is Gerry Turner?

Turner, the franchise's first Golden Bachelor, is a retired restauranteur from Indiana.

"He's often busy hosting barbecues, playing pickleball, cheering on his favorite Chicago sports teams, four-wheeling, and spending time with friends and family at restaurants and local haunts," reads a bio description from ABC.

Turner, who is also a grandfather, was introduced on Monday's Good Morning America, where he revealed he was married once before to his high school sweetheart, Toni. They were together 43 years; however, she died in 2017 after becoming ill just six weeks after she retired.

"I was having a hard time figuring out if she would be OK [with me doing the show]," Turner shared. "But we always told each other, when one of us goes, we want the other one to be happy. She's up there rooting."

Turner's daughters encouraged him to sign up.

"It's never too late to fall in love again," he added.

When was the idea initially introduced?

The Golden Bachelor first popped into public consciousness in 2020 with the first casting call surfacing on Instagram, and more following during airings of The Bachelor. But, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was put on an indefinite pause that turned out to be three years long.

When it came time to finally make it happen, Vanity Fair cited an ABC source who said they were looking for a "key time slot" and the ability to use Dancing with the Stars as a lead-in, which is returning to ABC this fall after streaming exclusively on Disney+ last season.

Who is eligible to apply/participate?

An early casting call for the show on Instagram was looking for "active and outgoing single men and women" who are in their "golden years." Casting calls that aired during The Bachelor for quite a while called for "senior citizens," which is generally considered to be anyone 65 years or older.

Of course, ABC social channels and marketing teams have been having fun with the premise, using phrases like, "For mature audiences only."

How does it fit into the ever-expanding Bachelor universe?

The Golden Bachelor is another in a long list of spin-offs from The Bachelor, with The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise being the most successful and most-repeated internationally. Other not-so-successful spin-offs include Bachelor Pad, which last aired in 2012, and The Bachelor: Winter Games from 2018.

No word yet on if The Golden Bachelor will be replicated internationally much like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but given its more traditional format like those others, it will most likely receive the same treatment, especially if The Golden Bachelor's success comes anywhere close to the amount of anticipation leading up to it.

The overall franchise ratings in Bachelor land have slowly decreased over the years, which can be common with long-running network shows like this one. But interest in The Golden Bachelor indicates that that course could soon be corrected.

Should we expect to see more reality TV shows like this during the strikes?

Since The Golden Bachelor falls under the unscripted reality TV genre, they don't have writers or actors serving as main pieces to the puzzle and therefore operate under a different contract. That means that the strikes by the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild won't affect The Golden Bachelor, which is part of what The Hollywood Reporter described as "strike-proof" programming for ABC.

Taryn Ryder contributed to this report

The Golden Bachelor this fall on ABC.