Some Santa Claritans might’ve recognized a familiar face from the ABC TV show “The Bachelorette” on Monday: Local native Tino Franco is one of the 32 men vying for the love of either Gabby Windey or Rachel Recchia — the two bachelorettes in the show, now in its 19th season.
Franco is a 27-year-old bachelor who grew up in Santa Clarita but is currently living in Playa Del Rey. According to his father, Joe Franco, he couldn’t talk to The Signal about the show due to a non-disclosure agreement he and the family signed with the TV network.
This latest season of “The Bachelorette” premiered Monday on ABC. The show typically follows a single bachelorette as she dates multiple single men over several weeks, narrowing them down to hopefully find her true love. But this time, two bachelorettes who came from the pool of women in the most recent season of “The Bachelor” will take the journey.
In a promotional piece introducing the men of the series, Franco can be seen showing off some “serious” dance moves — performing what looks like the Roger Rabbit.
In the season’s first episode, Franco made his entrance to meet the women while driving a forklift, then announcing to the ladies, “You two look forking gorgeous!” He and Recchia had obvious chemistry from the start, and she gave him the evening’s “first impression rose,” guaranteeing that he will move on past the show’s first rose ceremony, which is expected in the second episode on Monday.
Franco is known to many in the Santa Clarita Valley as a hero: He was named the 2019 Hero of the Year in the Heroes for Healing program, which is a six-week fundraising competition benefiting kids with cancer at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times.
Franco — whose younger brother Mateo was diagnosed with leukemia at age 7 and is currently cancer-free — managed to raise more than $28,000 for the cause, part of the $300,000 that the total campaign raised that year. Franco had previously told his team that if they raised $20,000, he’d let them shave his head.
His “Herculean locks,” as his father referred to his son’s hair in a 2019 Signal story about the accomplishment, grew back, but he has since opted for a shorter look, as viewers will notice on “The Bachelorette” when they see him.
Franco is a construction engineer and an honors graduate in civil engineering from Loyola Marymount University, according to his LinkedIn profile, which says that, while at LMU, “My primary focus was hydrology, conveyance and process methods.” He’s a West Ranch High School graduate, and both of his parents, Joe and Sandi, worked at The Signal in the late-1980s and early-1990s. Joe was the paper’s editor from 1989 to 1991.
The next episode of “The Bachelorette” is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Monday on ABC. SCV residents now have a candidate to champion.