Rumors that The Bachelorette fourth-season runner-up Jason Mesnick has become the shoo-in to be The Bachelor's next star are apparently premature -- at least according to ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson.

"We're actually looking for another bachelor and we'll see how it goes," McPherson said when asked about The Bachelor's status during a Television Critics Association summer press tour appearance on Wednesday, iF Magazine reported.

"I think the casting on [The Bachelor] is critical. I think a few years ago, when we kind of had a bit of a downturn, I think it was all about those personalities. People were not rooting for them.  So we want to make sure that we don't just have it on the schedule, announce it, and then be like, 'Oh, now we've got to find the guy.'"
Many The Bachelorette fans are certainly rooting for Mesnick, who never had the opportunity to propose to fourth-season star DeAnna Pappas.  She instead presented her final rose and accepted a marriage proposal from Jesse Csincsak during the pre-taped fourth-season finale.

Even if Mesnick is the eventual choice to star in The Bachelor's thirteenth installment -- and he has previously stated he would "consider" it if approached -- television viewers wouldn't get see him do so until after the upcoming fall season.

ABC announced in May that The Bachelor's thirteenth season would not be included on the network's Fall 2008 primetime programming schedule and would instead air as midseason programming -- representing the first time the long-running reality dating series won't be part of the network's fall lineup since 2005.

"I think for us, it's a show that is good to rest and come back," said McPherson, iF Magazine reported.  "It's also an advantage in the fact that we don't need [The Bachelor] on the fall schedule and it will be a backup for us going forward."