Tyler Cameron Once Joked About Close Friend Matt James Being the Bachelor: 'My Mom Signed Him Up'
Months before Matt James was promoted to a new bachelor, Tyler Cameron made his good friend the next leading man in the franchise.
On Friday, 28-year-old James made history with the show when ABC announced that he would distribute the roses in the next season of The Bachelor. He is the first black male protagonist in the franchise.
Of course, it was no surprise for 27-year-old Cameron that James - a New York-based realtor - was selected to suggest that his good friend and roommate take the role.
In August, PEOPLE met Cameron, who finished second in Hannah Brown's season of The Bachelorette, to learn more about ABC Food Tours, the nonprofit that he runs with college friend James and that brings kids from under-served elementary schools to restaurants in their local communities.
When Cameron was asked who he wanted to see as his next bachelor's degree, he didn't hesitate to name James. (The friends met as teammates on the Wake Forest University soccer team in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.)
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"I can't wait to see him next year," he joked, pointing to James, who laughed.
"With everything that's going on with ABC, I can't really talk about it," quipped James.
Matt James and Tyler Cameron
"That's my line. It's funny," said Cameron. "I know my mother signed him up," he added, noting his late mother, who died of a brain aneurysm earlier this year.
However, it wasn't just a joke: since James has caught the attention of Cameron's female fans, his Instagram has been swamped with comments asking him to give reality TV a chance.
And finally, ABC gives fans what they asked for.
During Good Morning America on Friday, the morning show announced James' new role with an ABC statement that they "have the privilege of having Matt" as their first black bachelor.
Tyler Cameron / Instagram Matt James and Tyler Cameron
"We know that we have a responsibility to ensure that the love stories we see on the screen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proud to serve our audience," said the Explanation. "This is just the beginning and we will continue to take action on diversity issues in this franchise. We feel so privileged to have Matt as our first black bachelor degree and we cannot wait to embark on this journey with him . "
RELATED: Tyler Cameron Catches New Bachelor Matt James, Who Gets Bare During The GMA Interview
James' new position comes after Bachelor Nation has called for more diversity in the franchise - a new petition calling for ABC and executive producer Mike Fleiss to fill more people with color.
The petition, which garnered more than 84,000 signatures on Friday morning, described the franchise's lack of diversity as "unacceptable" and found that Lindsay played the only black lead role in 40 seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. (Mike Johnson was a contender for becoming the first black bachelor last season, but Peter Weber, who is semi-Cuban, got the gig.)
Matt James / Instagram Matt James and Tyler Cameron
Prior to becoming a new bachelor, James was one of Clare Crawley's bachelorette candidates.
It is not immediately clear whether James will remain one of Crawley's clients since production has been discontinued after the coronavirus pandemic. Host Chris Harrison said in March that the cast could be restructured due to the pandemic.
In May, however, Harrison said to Entertainment Tonight, "As far as I know [he will still be a candidate]. I mean, I haven't heard anything else. I mean. I don't know if he wants to do it." after quarantine, who knows? But as far as I know, yes. "
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