After many weeks of Internet speculation, Dallas pilot Jake Pavelka will be the new Bachelor. ABC made the announcement on the Tuesday night live results show of Dancing With the Stars. The new season of The Bachelor begins filming in a few days and Pavelka says he’s ready to meet the 25 eligible women who will be vying for his affection.
Eliminated by Jillian Harris on The Bachelorette last season, the 31-year-old Pavelka tells PEOPLE he’s encouraged that he will find love on the show.
“I’ve dated some really amazing girls, but I’ve never been successful at finding that one girl,” he says, “and I saw how the whole thing comes together, the process with Jillian. I saw how the process works and I believe in it. That’s a unique way to meet somebody.”
Harris, who accepted a proposal by her final guy, Chicago computer software consultant Ed Swiderski, tells PEOPLE she thinks Pavelka will be a fabulous Bachelor.
“Jake has a huge heart and he’s very sensitive,” Harris says. “He isn’t afraid to show his emotions. The world will see how far he is willing to go to find the right person.”
According to Pavelka’s parents, Jim and Sallie, the woman who lands their son’s heart will have to have a taste for adventure. “He likes a girl that is spontaneous,” mom Sallie says. “The way he put it to me, he would like a girl that can work in the yard and then put on a pretty dress and go out to dinner.”
As for possible date suggestions, “He likes scuba diving and snow skiing,” dad Jim says. Adds Jake, “I fly on the weekends, play golf, go to a movie, but I’m not a couch potato. That’s the one thing I have to make these girls understand — I have a lot of energy. I love salsa dancing. Country dancing on a Thursday night in Dallas is really fun, too. I enjoy working with my hands, creating or building something, landscaping and doing garden work. Even if a woman didn’t enjoy doing the things that I do, I would want her to be a part of them because I love them so much.”
And Pavelka says he’s eager to reciprocate.
“I want to do things with her that make her happy. That’s something I’ll definitely offer her,” he says. I really want to find somebody. I have a really good life now, but I would love to share it with someone.”
Pavelka’s new season of The Bachelor is slated to premiere in early 2010 on ABC. Read more about him in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. — Monica Rizzo and Cynthia Wang
Tell us: Will you be tuning in to Jake’s season?