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LOS ANGELES – ABC has just announced the next Bachelor: Lamar Hurd of Portland, Oregon, the show’s first bachelor of color.

The show’s creator Mike Fleiss has repeatedly come under fire for the lack of diversity on the show. Perhaps in an effort to curtail a pending racial discrimination suit, ABC decided to announce the decision months ahead of schedule.

“Lamar Hurd campaigned for the role. In the end, his charm, wit and persistence won us over. We look forward to another amazing season of love and surprises,” explained the show’s long-time host Chris Harrison at a press conference this morning.

Houston-native Hurd is a sportscaster in Portland and a former basketball player at Oregon State. He is believed to be The Bachelor’s first high school valedictorian contestant.

The pending discrimination suit, which will reportedly be filed today, involves two African-American men who claim they were excluded from the normal audition process at a recent Nashville casting call because they are black.