NEW YORK -- A new journey to find love begins Thursday night on ABC as a 72-year-old "Golden Bachelor" becomes the first senior citizen to star on the long-running "Bachelor" franchise.
Gerry Turner is a retired businessman from Indiana whose wife died six years ago, and entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon said he seems more reasonable, down to Earth, and kind the more you get to know him.
"For a small-town guy like me, it's like 'Golly, how'd I get here?'" he said.
Turner is a widower who is looking for love on TV at the urging of his daughters and granddaughters who thought he should take a second chance at marriage after the death of his wife of more than 40 years.
"He just deserves to find that somebody else," his daughter Angie Warner said.
Turner first expressed interest in "The Golden Bachelor" in early 2020, but the series was put on hold during the pandemic so considerable time passed before producers called him again.
"They went right to the point, 'Are you still interested?'" Turner said. "'Do you want to be on 'The Golden Bachelor?' And, I said, 'No I'm good.'"
He had started dating again, but without success, so in the end, he was lured by the promise of adventure and agreed to meet more than 20 women selected for him.
"They had to be older than 60 because I wanted to make sure that there weren't cultural problems, you know, references in humor and music and all of that,'" Turner said.
The age group has been under-represented on TV so it's interesting to see how a show generally aimed at a younger audience has been adapted.
"All too often people think of the fantasy suites as the boom-boom room," Turner said.
The show is famous for offering contestants alone time in a hotel room.
"At our age, at least for me, I'll just speak for myself, it was the time when I developed connections on an intellectual and emotional level," Turner said.
And they are connections that prove every bit as emotional as on previous seasons of the long-running franchise.
Turner speaks more frankly than the younger contestants on the show who are carefully coached not to say too much.
He said in the course of the season he broke a vow he made to himself not to say the words "I love you" without truly and deeply meaning it - and that's something he regrets.