"It's really down to Arie and Sean," a source told E! News, adding that Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Ryan Lochte is "out of the running" to be the franchise's next star although he had openly expressed interest in the position.
"We honestly briefly considered him. But we are going elsewhere."
While The Bachelor producers have yet to arrive at a final decision, a casting announcement will reportedly be made "soon."
The E! News report seems to conflict with Luyendyk Jr.'s recent announcement that he had removed himself from consideration. The 30-year-old professional race car driver, who finished as Maynard's runner-up during the show's eighth season, revealed earlier this month he "will not continue with The Bachelor" to focus on his racing career.
While Luyendyk Jr. claimed in the statement released by his management company that The Bachelorette was an "amazing experience," he further explained, "Ultimately I realized my heart is tied to the racetrack and my career is my main priority. I'm looking forward to getting back on the track."
Luyendyk Jr. did admit, however, he will still consider future entertainment opportunities if they work around his training and team schedules.
As for Lowe, he was axed just before The Bachelorette's eighth-season finale, finishing third in line behind Luyendyk Jr. and Jef Holm for Maynard's heart final rose. His departure marked one of the most emotional moments of the season, but the bachelor said he had "no desire to be on TV" again during a July conference call with reporters.
However, when asked specifically if he'd consider being the next Bachelor, Lowe contradicted himself by telling reporters, "It would be a difficult decision if they were to ask me only because it was so emotionally taxing and I don't know if I could go through that again."
"But on the flip side of the coin, I understand that the process works. I believe in the process, and ultimately if I were to find my wife, it would certainly all be worth it. It's just a little difficult to think about right now. So, I'm not sure, but they'd have to ask first. So, I don't even know if I'm going to have to make that decision."
(Photo credit ABC)
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