21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: America’s New Most Eligible Bachelor Is a 72-Year-Old Grandpa.

The network is going all in on “The Golden Bachelor,” a spinoff of its popular reality-dating franchise, which premieres Thursday. The show takes the well-worn conceit of “The Bachelor”—more than 20 women vying for one man’s proposal—and moves it into a new age bracket. All the participants are at least 60.

Turner, a tanned 72-year-old with a passion for pickleball, comes to the show looking for a second shot at love. The former restaurateur married his high-school sweetheart, Toni. For 43 years they built a family and life together before she died in 2017. Six years later, Turner is ready to find a partner for the next season of his life.

In an interview, Turner said he was only casually aware of “The Bachelor” before seeing the casting call for senior contestants. His daughters, enthusiastic viewers, encouraged him to apply. He quickly caught the showrunners’ eyes from nearly 30,000 total applicants. Then the pandemic put everything on hold.

“We were really fortunate that he was, frankly, still single and still interested in 2023,” said showrunner Bennett Graebner.

In February, Turner said, he was on vacation in Florida when he got the call offering him the lead. That led to a frantic search for a clinic nearby where he could get an STD test—a standard evaluation for “Bachelor” contestants—which he passed. On Memorial Day weekend, it was official: Turner would be the first Golden Bachelor.

The STD test was news to me, but all things considered it’s a good idea . . .