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‘The Bachelorette’: ABC Planning to Announce Katie Thurston as Next Leading Lady

The current season of “The Bachelor” hasn’t even come to an end, but ABC is so impressed with one of Matt James’ current contestants, the network is set on its next star of “The Bachelorette.”

Katie Thurston is all-but-sure to be the next “Bachelorette,” sources close to the dating show tell Variety. While the network hasn’t made an absolute final decision, Thurston — who made a big splash introducing herself with a vibrator this season — is the network’s top pick to be the dating show’s next leading lady, and two separate people familiar with the casting decision say you can certainly bet on it.

ABC declined to respond to Variety‘s request. Warner Bros. TV, the studio behind the dating show, also declined to comment.

The network and studio rarely comment on casting rumors circulating around “The Bachelor” franchise. While a well-placed source says Thurston being named “The Bachelorette” is a sure thing, casting decisions can always change up until the last moment, so nothing is ever certain in Bachelor Nation.

(A few years back, contestant Caila Quinn was essentially set as “The Bachelorette,” with ABC even rolling cameras in her hometown, but the network pulled a last-minute switch, ultimately selecting JoJo Fletcher.)

In other words, anything can happen. However, insiders say the network is already discussing promo plans around Thurston, and that an announcement is expected imminently.

This past weekend, “Bachelor” blogging guru, Reality Steve, first tweeted that Thurston was announced as the new “Bachelorette” during the taping of the “Women Tell All” episode. Two insiders close to production tell Variety that no announcement regarding “The Bachelorette” was actually filmed last week. (Reality Steve later clarified his initial tweet, and stated that an official announcement would be coming soon.)

Thurston has become a fan-favorite on “The Bachelor,” which is currently airing its 25th season. From the moment of her limousine arrival when she introduced herself to James with a vibrator in hand, she has been praised by fans on Twitter for her sex-positive storylines.

She has also emerged as a fierce supporter of her fellow female contestants, which is a stark contrast to some of the “mean girls” garnering screen-time this season — and for a show that’s technically centered around women fighting for the same man, Thurston’s “women supporting women” mentality is a breath of fresh air.

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