It’s crazy that, just a couple months ago, we were all begging for Peter’s trainwreck of a Bachelor season to be over. The season was a mess from start to finish, and we were all ready to have our Monday nights back. The announcement of Clare Crawley as the next Bachelorette felt like a breath of fresh air, and we were all ready to move onward and upward with the franchise. Well, a lot has changed since then, and I, for one, regret taking the nightmare of Peter’s season for granted. At least we had something to talk sh*t about! Obviously, the coronavirus pandemic has majorly messed up the Bachelor calendar for the rest of 2020, and this week, we got a clearer idea of how the franchise will move forward.
Since the decision to postpone filming for Clare’s season in mid-March, we haven’t gotten a lot more information, but that’s finally changing. In a new interview with Variety, ABC’s senior vice president of alternative programming (translation: reality) Rob Mills shared new details about what we can realistically expect for the rest of the year. First and foremost, Mills says that Clare’s season “is happening one hundred percent.” It never seemed likely that the network would just dump Clare after publicly introducing her as the next lead, but hey, it’s nice to have confirmation.
As for the timeline of Clare’s season, that’s still up in the air. Mills told Variety that, “being realistic, it would probably be mid-summer that we start .” This hasn’t been finalized yet, but it sounds like that’s the earliest possible time that they would film. He added that if this timing works, then the season would be ready to air in the fall. That would actually work pretty well, because the fall is usually the one time of the year when there’s nothing happening in Bachelor Nation.
But even when they do start filming, it’s not like things will just automatically go back to normal. Chris Harrison has already shared that there won’t be any international travel on Clare’s season due to safety concerns, but Mills took things a step further in the new interview. He said that they would rather film sooner with more restrictions, so they might not travel at all. So the contestants won’t even have to pretend to be excited about going to Cleveland? Bleak.
Here’s what Mills said about the current plans for a travel-free season: “As of right now, the plan is to get a great location that has a ton of space where everybody could safely be together and we can still have great dates that still feel big and romantic, and we would shoot the entire season there.” Okay, this sounds depressing as f*ck and honestly still kind of dicey considering I’m barely allowed to even travel to the grocery store right now. But a “great location that has a ton of space”?? I’m picturing a giant empty warehouse with cots six feet apart, and they can just decorate individual corners for the one-on-one dates. Either that, or they can just do the whole season in the middle of the desert as a camping experience. Wait… wouldn’t that just be Stagecoach?
When asked about how hometown dates will work, Mills answers that “All of this is still being figured out,” which is pretty obvious from the vague “one giant location” comments. I have mixed feelings about the hometown dates in general (Peter didn’t even meet Victoria’s parents!), but they’re definitely an important part of the show. This season sounds like it could be a trainwreck in a very good or a very bad way, but either way, I’ll be watching.
But while it sounds like we should get some version of The Bachelorette by the fall (hopefully), things aren’t looking so good for Bachelor in Paradise this year. Mills made it clear that ABC’s top priorities are The Bachelorette and The Bachelor, and that Paradise will have to fit in between those two, if at all. While Mills said that ABC “would love to do it” if at all possible, Chris Harrison doesn’t sound too optimistic. He also spoke to Variety, and said that “It does seem extremely unlikely, as far as going to Mexico.” I guess they could make Paradise work in Florida, or California, or something, but it just wouldn’t be the same. We might just have to wait a year to see these losers dry hump on the palapas, and you know what? That’s okay, I’ll live.
If you’re a Bachelor fan, there’s no doubt that this year is going to be a disappointment. First, a lame season, and now all this? It’s almost too much to bear. But at least you have Listen To Your Heart to suffer through right now, and ABC just announced The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable – Ever!, a 10-episode look back at some of the franchise’s most dramatic moments, which will start in June. It’s definitely not the same as a new show, and the name is a f*cking mouthful, but I appreciate that they’re trying something. We’re all doing our best with this ~new normal~, and if anyone is going to come through for us, I expect it to be Chris Harrison.
Images: ABC/John Fleenor