Season 16 of “The Bachelorette” may just prove an old, oft-repeated adage true — that this could truly be the most dramatic season ever.
The Bachelor Nation rumor-mill has been turning since this weekend about what has gone down since Clare Crawley’s season resumed production after shutting down abruptly in March due to the coronavirus, but so far no official word has come down from the network or the studios as to what is really going on behind the scenes. The prevailing theory is that Crawley fell for one of her suitors, Dale Moss, early on in the filming process — and potentially before production officially resumed — prompting her to ask to leave the show.
According to multiple reports, including from Variety, E! News, People, Us Weekly, and renowned “Bachelor” franchise blogger Reality Steve, Crawley has been replaced mid-season by franchise alum Tayshia Adams, who appeared on Colton Underwood’s season and later went on to star on “Bachelor in Paradise.” The word is that Crawley’s storyline will be shown at the beginning of the season, and then Adams will take over as “The Bachelorette.”
ABC and studio Warner Bros. Television declined to comment for this story.
The rumors started to emerge when reports came out that some of Crawley’s suitors had been asked to come back to the resort at the last minute, presumably to rebuild a new cast of suitors for Adams. It’s unclear whether those asked back were part of Crawley’s original group that partially disbanded when production shut down, or if they were part of the second group that had been invited to the resort to film with Crawley during the pandemic.
According to Variety’s sources, a series lead cannot make the choice to end their season simply because they fell for one of the suitors early on and no longer wish to date anyone else. But if the producers felt that the drama would benefit the season’s storyline, they may have made an exception.
Another piece of information that surfaced this week is that, according to Variety, Crawley “liked” a tweet about Tayshia taking over as the new Bachelorette, before quickly unliking it. As longtime “Bachelor” fans know, any activity on social media indicates that she is no longer within the confines of the “Bachelorette” set, where contestants are not allowed to have access to their phones. To that end, texts sent to Adams’ phone have reportedly not gone through, indicating that she may have shut off her phone to join the production.
As of Tuesday, Reality Steve’s latest intel was that Crawley “has definitely moved on with Dale in some capacity,” though he could not confirm whether the reports are true that they are already engaged.
“We don’t have confirmation they were talking pre-show but we assume they were, and her story will be shown when the season airs in September,” he tweeted. “So we can at least acknowledge now that, yes, Tayshia is the new ‘Bachelorette.’ Who are her guys? When does she start her journey? Did she already? Are guys being flown back in having to quarantine again for a week? All questions we don’t have answers to now.”
No premiere date has officially been set yet for Season 16 except that it will debut this fall. But one thing is for sure — when it does premiere, Chris Harrison is going to have a lot of explaining to do.