ABC: Clare Crawley's 'The Bachelorette' now likely to air this fall, 'Bachelor in Paradise' 2020 season may be scrapped
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/01/2020
ABC says Clare Crawley's season ofThe Bachelorette will still be produced as soon as possible and now likely air this fall, however Bachelor in Paradise's 2020 season may fall victim to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and be scrapped.
The Bachelorette's sixteenth season was originally supposed to have begun filming in March and premiere on May 18, but due to the pandemic and global health restrictions that have shut down nearly all Hollywood productions, the season has yet to begin filming.
"Clare's season is happening one hundred percent," ABC reality chief Rob Mills toldVariety, assuring worried The Bachelorette viewers the show will go on.
"If I'm being realistic, it would probably be mid-summer that we start," Mills said, adding that Season 16 ofThe Bachelorettewould then therefore likely premiere in Fall 2020.
Mills confirmed prior reports that producers are now envisioning filming the entire The Bachelorette season at a single large property or resort, with road trips potentially being thrown into the mix as long as social-distancing regulations subside.
All cast and crew would also be tested for COVID-19 before entering the filming location and asked to abide by quarantine regulations onsite for the duration of the season's production, according to Variety.
"We've looked at everything -- are travel restrictions going to ease up? And it just doesn't look like anything is changing anytime soon, and what we would rather do is start getting the season underway, sooner rather than later," Mills said.
"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."
How the season's traditional hometown dates would be handled is also reportedly still currently undecided. "All of this is still being figured out," Mills told Variety.
In recent years, The Bachelorette begins airing in May and then, once it wraps on ABC, Bachelor in Paradise premieres a new season in August.
While ABC is apparently open to debuting Bachelor in Paradise's seventh season at a later date, (Mills said last month he could envision a winter Paradise "in a ski lodge," for instance), it may get scrapped altogether since The Bachelor's upcoming 25th season remains producers' top priority after The Bachelorette.
"We're certainly discussing [Bachelor in Paradise] and how it could work and if it could work, but we want to make sure that the next season of The Bachelor stays on track because that's something that everybody looks forward to at the beginning of the year," Mills revealed.
"The goal is to make sure we absolutely have Bachelorette and Bachelor, and then, if there's a way to do Bachelor In Paradise, we would love to do it."
The franchise's host Chris Harrison told Variety, however, "It does seem extremely unlikely, as far as going to Mexico [to film Paradise]."
If ABC is able to follow through and air The Bachelorette this fall, Mills revealed the series could air simultaneously with the new season of Dancing with the Stars, pending social-distancing measures are lifted so celebrities can dance with their professional partners.
"It's all preliminary, but I think you can have room for both Bachelorette and Dancing with the Stars," Mills told Variety.
"The big question is who knows when scripted will be back, so there might be a need for Bachelorette and Dancing with the Stars to co-exist at the same time. I think we will look at every different scenario, but clearly, we love Dancing and we love Bachelorette, and to be able to have them both on at the same time is a high-class problem."
However, Mills noted he's not looking to turn ABC into a broadcast network full of just reality programming and game shows.
"You want everything to come back... We need all of our scripted shows sooner rather than later," Mills said.
"We had all these plans for more unscripted because there was the potential of a writers' strike. And now, no, it's not the writers' strike -- it's a pandemic. You just never know."
Despite Mills and Harrison's predictions and goals, it appears all plans are subject to change and scheduling is a work in progress.
"It would be crazy for us to say that we know what anything is going to look like -- not even television, I'm just talking the world in general," Harrison told Variety.
"We don't know when we come out of this, what it's going to look like as far as getting back to social distancing, can you get 10 people in a control room? Can you get 20 people in a control room? How are we going to shoot this safely?"
But Harrison said "the good news" is producers are able to get "back to work."
"People can work from home as far as trying to look at locations, asking can we travel, or do we need to just bunker in place and have one main campus?" Harrison shared.
"The options are endless, and we're just trying to have ten great ideas so that when the governor or the President set these guidelines, we'll hopefully have a plan in place and we'd get back to work as soon as possible."
Harrison added ABC's upcoming reality shows will definitely reflect the times and how coronavirus has changed people and their interactions.
"When people talk about reopening America, I think people freak out. Even in our communities, if they said you could go to restaurants and bars tomorrow, I think we'd all be a little bit weary, so, it's going to be a little bit different," Harrison explained.
"I'm sure for Clare and the men she's dating, it's going to be a little bit different. We'll have to lean into that a little bit, but hopefully not too much."
The only concrete plan ABC has for the time being is airing The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable -- Ever! this summer.
The new retrospective spinoff will revisit and recap an entire prior season of The Bachelor andThe Bachelorettein a single broadcast.
ABC announced earlier this week it will premiereThe Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable -- Ever! with a three-hour episode on Monday, June 8 at 8PM ET/PT. The 10-episode series, hosted by Harrison, will then continue airing on Monday nights.
ABC has already punted onThe Bachelor: Summer Games as well as a new spinoff that had been in the works for senior citizens.
Mills confirmed in his interview with Variety "there's a pin" in the senior edition that had been in the early stages of casting.
Harrison and Warner Bros. Television Group, which produces all Bachelor spinoffs, first announcedThe Bachelorettewould postpone production on March 13, saying ABC didn't feel it had a choice and the delay was decided "out of an abundance of caution."
The coronavirus pandemic has affected production schedules of many other reality TV shows -- including Survivor and The Amazing Race, which have postponed filming new upcoming seasons, as well as currently-airing shows like American Idol and The Voice, which now feature contestants performing from home.