Sorry, BuddyTV voters: You’ve been overruled, according to spoiler king Reality Steve, who reports that Ben Flajnik IS, for sure and for certain, ABC’s 16th Bachelor.

How does Steve know? First he heard from “very good sources” that “Ben was already going around telling friends he was the next Bachelor and that he’d be taking off work for a while come September.” Plus, Ben flat-out denied a fling with Jennifer Love Hewitt. What single man in America would do that, if he weren’t already in a committed relationship (with a TV show)?

Then — and this is when Steve says he knew for sure — earlier this week, his sources witnessed Ben engaging in some suspicious on-camera activity in San Francisco. From Steve’s blog post yesterday:

“Yesterday [August 22], Ben was with a camera crew filming on Kearny St. near Coit Tower in San Francisco, and also on Divisadero St, a very popular street loaded with bars and restaurants. All indications are those were being done for his video package as the “Bachelor”, since it had nothing to do with Evolve Wines, nor was he making some sort of “Cream Dream” sequel. It was Ben by himself, talking to the camera, goofing around, also filming some ITM’s. So yeah, Ben is the next “Bachelor” and filming begins at the mansion next month. Ashley was filming her intro video 2-3 weeks before her season started, so this is perfect timing.”

Well, I’m convinced. Then again, we all pretty much knew Ben had the Bachelor gig in the bag after watching his tale unfold this season on The Bachelorette.

As I noted in my (creepily detailed, in retrospect) analysis of the top three Bachelor candidates, Ben has almost all the right attributes for The Bachelor: Good looks, access to his emotions, a romantic and well-paying job and — the part I’m sure ABC is most thrilled about — the perfect come-back story to dovetail one season of the show with the next.

After he finally let go of his father’s death and opened himself up to love again, Ashley dumped him in the finale, leaving Ben with a broken heart, and viewers with about as close to a cliffhanger as this show can manage: “Won’t poor, adorable Ben and his poor, adorable heart EVER find love?”

Of course, the answer would be yes. The real question was whether we’d get to watch it happen —  and whether he wanted the job, which hasn’t exactly come with guaranteed fanfare and a happy ending in recent years.

Now we have our answer — not from Ben’s mouth, but from one we trust almost as much — that despite all the inevitable drama, yes, Ben does want the job of making out with 25 available women all over the globe, and he’s taking it.

Don’t forget, solid as it sounds, that this is all still speculation. Once the casting is announced during Dancing with the Stars this season (because that’s how these things work now) then we’ll know for sure. But let’s work with what we’ve got, and talk it out in the comments:

How do you think Ben will do as the Bachelor? Will you tune in?

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.