The journey has begun! Matt James‘ season 25 of The Bachelor kicked off on the weekend of September 10 and the 28-year-old was delighted to meet his hopeful women.

‘The Bachelor’ Season 25 Cast: Meet Matt James’ Potential Contestants

“It was so interesting because Matt is not on the season of The Bachelorette, and the reason why we take leads from a previous season is because you know them so well and we can predict which person he might like or not, but we just didn’t know at all, so it was really fun to watch him interact with everyone,” ABC Entertainment executive Rob Mills told Variety in a new interview. “And the women were so fantastic. It couldn’t have gone better.”

James, who will be the first Black Bachelor, was introduced as one of Tyler Cameron‘s close friends during Hannah Brown‘s season of The Bachelorette. After fans fell for him, he was then listed as part of Clare Crawley‘s original suitors.

When the hairstylist’s season of The Bachelorette was pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic, that all changed — and the real estate broker was offered the role of the next Bachelor.

Host Chris Harrison, who is currently in Pennsylvania filming James’ season at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, also noted that the process of filming during COVID-19 is easier than it was at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs.

Matt James Makes History! 5 Things to Know About the Season 25 Bachelor

“It was a little bit fluid inside this last season, having to adjust and change some things. Shooting in California, our wonderful governor was just changing things on a whim,” the Texas native, 49, said. “We had to adjust with our wonderful governor — my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek — so this will be a lot easier and a lot more organized because we know what we’re dealing with going in, so Matt James, going in, is going to have a much smoother ride than The Bachelorette did.”

Of course, due to the crisis, there will be no travel during James’ season either. Luckily, the resort on the east coast works perfectly for that.

Everything We Know About Matt James’ ‘Bachelor’ Season

“Obviously, once we can travel, we look forward to be able to do that again,” Mills added. “The look of it will be completely different. It was nice to have a change of scenery, but beyond that, the protocols and everything are the same — we have a good system in place for as long as we’re in pandemic mode. There was a ton of learning from the season of Bachelorette that we were able to take and make this season of Bachelor even better. It is impressive — the bubble that they’ve devised is so fantastic. It really is the one way you can do it safely.”

The Bachelorette airs on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET. The Bachelor is set to premiere in January.

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