Clare Crawley’s season of “The Bachelorette” is shaping up to be much different than any of her predecessors on the beloved ABC dating franchise because of the growing coronavirus pandemic.
Longtime “Bachelor” franchise host Chris Harrison opened up about what changes fans can likely expect from the upcoming season, which has seen production delays in the wake of the pandemic. ABC had previously announced a May 18 premiere date for the 16th season of the series, but that was before production was shut down just one day before the contestants were set to move into the mansion last week.
“When we come back, it may look a little different,” Harrison told TheWrap. “My guess is when we’re all able to get back out there, we’re still not gonna be able to go international for a while. So maybe it’s a California show. Maybe it’s a domestic show where we can fly charter around the United States to remote locations. Who knows what it’s gonna look like? It’s all just complete speculation right now. We don’t even know when my kids can go back to school, much less when we can start shooting.”
As for whether that May 18 premiere date will have to be moved, Harrison said it’s still up in the air, but keeping that date would be “a stretch.”
“I would say just right now, logistics wise, that’s gonna be a stretch. But we’ll see what we can come up with,” he said. “Right now, I think that would be a tough deadline to hit.”
He also detailed the near-disaster that was avoided by shutting down production the day before what was meant to be Clare’s first rose ceremony.
“We were dangerously close. I mean, literally on the day, we pulled the plug,” Harrison said. “The timing was probably great in that we weren’t into massive production. We had shot things with Clare, the guys were in town, we were ready to move in. I actually shot some stuff the day before what would have been the first rose ceremony with Clare. Essentially, yes, we started principal production, but we didn’t get into the mansion and we didn’t have that first cocktail party, which was going to be the next night before we shut down.”
In an Instagram Live video with his girlfriend Lauren Zima on Tuesday, Harrison also forecasted that Crawley’s extremely young cast of suitors will probably not all be able to return when production does resume.
“The thought that 25, 30, 35 guys, everybody that was able to take time off and come on ‘The Bachelorette,’ is going to be able to come back again — because we don’t have a set time of when we’re going to come back. Obviously with this virus, who knows when this thing is going to blow through. So the idea that everybody is just going to be able to take off work and do this again? Probably very slim,” Harrison said in the live video.
The host confirmed to TheWrap that all of Clare’s contestants have been sent home.
“We cleared everybody and sent everybody home, made sure everybody got back safe to their families. Claire is back home as well,” Harrison said. “A lot of our crew is from out of town as well, they come in just to work on the show, so we got our crew back home. It’s a massive ripple effect.”