ABC executive Robert Mills told Nick Viall on a recent episode of The Viall Files podcast that Chrishell, who currently stars on Selling Sunset and is competing on Dancing with the Stars' 29 season, was actually producers' first choice to star on Season 4 of The Bachelorette, which was revived for Summer 2008 broadcast after having been off the air since 2005.
"With Chrishell... she would never remember this. I actually have had lunch with Chrishell. This was about 10 or 11 years ago to talk about being the Bachelorette," Rob revealed of his 2007 luncheon.
"We were going to do -- this is a big exclusive...We were talking about, 'What do we put on in the summer?' Summer is when we debut a lot [of shows]. It's when [Dancing with the Stars] premiered and Survivor originally premiered. Summers were when a lot of alternative programming started."
Rob continued, "And we had been doing stuff that wasn't really working. So we go, 'What's something we can do that we know will work?' And I don't know if anyone remembers this, but there was a time when The Bachelorette was sort of done -- just, like, every so often when they decide to do it."
Nick pointed out that's why there have been 24 completed seasons of The Bachelor and only 15 completed seasons of The Bachelorette in history.
"That's exactly right. It's like four Bachelors for every one Bachelorette," Rob said.
"So I remember saying, 'Well, let's just do The Bachelorette.' The bar for success is lower in the summer, and that's whyThe Bachelorette wasn't done as much, because it didn't do as well as The Bachelor did."
Rob said producers therefore committed to doing a fourth season of The Bachelorette.
"So at that point, we didn't know who [the star] was going to be and so we were looking for people, and our casting director said, 'Oh, we should meet with this girl, Chrishell Stause. She's amazing," Rob recalled.
"And we had this incredible lunch. I think it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel and she was just awesome. I was convinced, 'This is the Bachelorette. This is the Bachelorette.'"
Nick therefore asked Rob what happened to change his mind since ABC ultimately went with DeAnna, who just paid Clare Crawley a visit on The Bachelorette's currently-airing sixteenth season.
"Brad Womack's [first The Bachelor] season aired and that's when he let go of both girls and one of them was DeAnna," Rob said.
The Bachelor's Fall 2007 eleventh season ended with Brad dumping both of his Final 2 bachelorettes -- DeAnna and Jenni Croft, who reunited with her former live-in boyfriend immediately after The Bachelor's filming.
Brad subsequently rejected DeAnna, who was a 26-year-old real estate agent from Georgia at the time, a second time during The Bachelor's After The Final Rose special.
"I remember Ellen DeGeneres actually calling the president of ABC and saying, 'This woman needs to be the Bachelorette.' This was before we even said we were going to do a Bachelorette," Rob explained.
Ellen also campaigned for DeAnna to be the next The Bachelorette star on her talk show, ans so there was a public outcry for DeAnna to become the franchise's lead, which ultimately convinced The Bachelorette producers to drop Chrishell and go with DeAnna instead.
"And at that point, it was like, 'Well how do we not do that?'" Rob recalled, adding that Chrishell was working as an actress back in 2007.
"[Chrishell] was on All my Children at that time. But yeah, Chrishell could've been the Bachelorette and we wouldn't have had DeAnna and then we wouldn't have thought to have Jason Mesnick -- and Nick, where would you be right now?!"
Nick, who starred on The Bachelor's 21st season, joked he'd probably be in Wisconsin still selling software as a mid-level manager.
"So it's so bizarre, and I wonder if she would remember. I haven't really seen her," Rob noted of Chrishell. "I don't know if she'd remember now because it was so long ago... A lot has happened."
Rob and Nick therefore agreed it's ironic Chrishell is now a reality TV star who's competing on Dancing with the Stars.
"She's doing great," Rob said of Chrishell's overall performance thus far on the season. "I think everybody's great, and I think every week [each elimination is] going to be a shocking upset."
Had Chrishell actually starred on The Bachelorettemany years ago, it would have marked the first time ABC chose a leading lady who didn't compete on The Bachelor first. As fans are well aware, ABC went on to only cast only The Bachelor bachelorettes in future seasons.
ABC announced in late January 2008 DeAnna would star on The Bachelorette's fourth season when it premiered that summer.
DeAnna told Reality TV World two months earlier she would "of course" accepting the position if ABC offered it to her.
"I believe in the experience and I believe that it can truly happen, and it happened for me. I'm sorry that Brad didn't have the feelings on his end, but I believe it and I think it can happen and I would be honored if they asked me to do it," DeAnna said in November 2007.
When ABC officially announced DeAnna's The Bachelorette participation, the network gushed about how she had demonstrated "assertiveness" and an "independent nature" during the series, which set "her apart from the other women."
"She also showed off top bartending and cooking skills, and additionally enjoys white water rafting and camping with her friends," ABC added at the time.
The Bachelorette first premiered in January 2003 and featured original The Bachelor runner-up Trista Rehn as the object of the men's affection.
Chrishell is now divorced from actor Justin Hartley and hoping to find true love and become a mother one day.
As for DeAnna, she married The Bachelorette alum Michael Stagliano's twin brother Stephen Stagliano in October 2011. DeAnna and Stephen now have two children together, Addison and Austin.