'The Bachelorette' will reportedly feature Katie Thurston as Season 17's star after all
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/04/2021
The Bachelorette's Season 17 casting discussions have been ongoing and ABC has reportedly finally settled back on their initial choice, Katie Thurston, as the season's lead and will formally announce her soon.
"(SPOILER): The more things change, the more they stay the same. The original spoiler I reported seems to be correct. Katie Thurston is set to be announced as the 'Bachelorette' in the coming days," Reality Steve spoiler blogger Steve Carbone tweeted Wednesday.
Production is expected to commence later this month at an American resort, according to Carbone, who had previously reported that ABC's original plan to film Season 17 ofThe Bachelorette at a Canadian resort it had already selected and blocked off was forced to change when the country's government enacted new COVID-19 policies.
"Right now, I'm trying to nail down the location for the next Bachelorette season. I know the state they're filming in, but I don't know the resort just yet," Carbone wrote in a February 23 blog post.
He added, "I'm trying to search resorts and see if anyone has cancelled their bookings from March through May."
The next day, Carbone announced he had confirmed The Bachelorette season will film at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, NM.
"Next season of The Bachelorette will begin filming in last half of March in New Mexico," he tweeted.
"I can 100% confirm this now that filming will be at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya just outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico."
The saga began when Carbone initially reported on February 7 that Katie was selected to star on the 2021 season of The Bachelorette and the announcement was made at the taping of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All on February 4.
Katie, however, responded by taking to Instagram and making a post that suggested she had no idea what Carbone was talking about and reports of her being the Bachelorette were "news" to her.
Carbone hinted that Chris's offensive interview with Extra'sRachel Lindsay, who starred as The Bachelorette's first Black leading lady on Season 13, changed ABC's casting direction.
"Katie was going to be the Bachelorette," Carbone wrote on February 16.
"Now, I don't see that happening. Hell, we don't even know if there WILL be a Bachelorette season. Maybe they delay it past BIP. There are so many questions right now, and unfortunately, I know you all want answers, but we just don't have them all at this time."
Carbone addressed the issue again the next day when answering some of his readers' emails in a February 17 blog post.
One of Carbone's readers asked, "Do you think in light of all this [racism controversy] that Katie is still a lock for The Bachelorette or may they switch to a BIPOC contestant as another bandaid solution?"
Carbone replied, "I don't see Katie anymore from what I'm hearing. [Recent events have] thrown everything upside down."
Another fan pointed out The Bachelor franchise may feel the need to redeem itself amid continued racism allegations and cast someone like Michelle Young or Bri Springs as the Bachelorette instead of Katie.
"Yeah, it's not looking like Katie anymore," Carbone said.
Carbone also couldn't inform his readers at the time when The Bachelorette star will officially be announced; however, he did point out that production of the show was postponed by at least one week. (In non-pandemic years past, The Bachelorette has typically gone into production almost immediately after a season of The Bachelor wraps airing on television).
Katie, a 30-year-old bank marketing manager from Lynnwood, WA, was eliminated by Matt during a one-on-one date well before the women's round of hometown dates on The Bachelor's 25th season.
When Katie expressed how she was developing strong feelings for Matt, he simply didn't feel the same way.
Many The Bachelor fans were rooting for Katie to become the next The Bachelorette star even before her ouster due to her bold and raunchy sense of humor as well as strong anti-bullying convictions.
Katie appeared to be the only woman denouncing bullying and gossip on the show. She called out the "mean girls" in the house and asked Matt to address rumors so no girl's life would be ruined after the show.
Brittany Galvin, for example, was accused of being a paid escort and sleeping with wealthy men in her hometown of Chicago, IL.
Although Katie works as a bank marketing manager, she has amassed over 400,000 followers on Instagram as well as on her TikTok account, where she shares "adult humor" and "comedic entertainment" videos.
Katie has expressed pride in being unapologetically herself and not hiding anything on the show.
In addition to Michelle and Bri, many The Bachelor fans have also been calling on Chelsea Vaughn or Serena Pitt to star as the next Bachelorette, which is still currently expected to debut on ABC this spring.