ABC's next reality TV heartthrob will be Gerry Turner, a 71-year-old grandpa who's ready to find love again.
A Monday morning reveal on "Good Morning America" introduced Turner as the first star of "The Golden Bachelor," which will air this fall as the latest edition to ABC's long-running 'The Bachelor' franchise. Turner was married to his high school sweetheart for more than 40 years and had two daughters with her. She fell ill soon after her retirement and died in 2017.
"I have her picture on a dresser in my closet," he told GMA. "Every morning I give her the nod, 'So what do you think about this?' For a while it was like I was having a hard time figuring out if she would be OK. But we always told each other, when one of us goes, we want the other one to be happy."
Turner said his daughters urged him to sign up for the show. While his romantic prospects haven't been revealed yet, he hopes to find someone active — maybe a golf or pickleball enthusiast — who matches his competitive personality.
An ABC bio obtained by Entertainment Weekly calls Turner a "retired restaurateur and doting father and grandfather" who "lives in his dream house on a beautiful lake in Indiana."
'The Bachelor' and its spinoffs follow one bachelor or bachelorette and a large group of romantic interests each season. The bachelor sends home one contestant a week as the cast goes on romantic dates, usually culminating in a dramatic marriage proposal. Previous spinoffs have one big thing in common — most cast members are 20-somethings. Turner and his co-stars will be part of a new take on the format.
The spinoff has been in the works for years, with a casting call for single seniors announced in January 2020.
“It’s such a different way of doing ‘The Bachelor’ because these people are just at a totally different place in their lives," Rob Mills, ABC's unscripted TV chief, told Variety in 2020. "There is an interesting thing about people who have hit the other end of the spectrum, who’ve lived their lives, they’ve raised their kids, some have been widowed or divorced and maybe some have never been in love. We thought that would be an interesting dynamic through the ‘Bachelor’ prism.”