Production on The Bachelorette's 2020 season, the Bachelor spin-off's 16th overall, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with more than 70 other Warner Bros. TV productions, according to Entertainment Weekly. (The show, which is broadcast on ABC, is produced by Warner Horizon Television). The season, which will have Bachelor Nation favorite Clare Crawley as the lead, was slated to begin production on Friday, March 13 for a May 18 premiere. Host Chris Harrison confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that the original premiere date will not be possible, and it's too early to say when the show will go back into production. However, producers are reportedly eyeing a new format for the show to accommodate our new reality.
Here's everything we know so far about Season 16 of The Bachelorette, and we will update as we learn more about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect it.
Clare's journey is on hold for now, but getting The Bachelorette up and running will be the franchise's top priority when the shutdown ends, Harrison said (sorry, Bachelor in Paradise). Casting for Clare's season is ongoing, as some of the men originally cast are not expected to be available when the show returns, whenever that will be.
"Maybe we do it all this summer, but if things don't go as planned with this virus and with this quarantine, maybe we won't have time to do it all," Harrison said. "So we have to think, 'OK what is our priority?' It's trying to create any content in the interim, and then let's get The Bachelorette."
Reality Steve reports that producers are scouting for a resort where they can film for five weeks in July and August for a season premiering in September. They would film the entire season, from introductions to the final rose, inside the resort, which would be entirely booked for their cast and crew. Everyone would be tested for the coronavirus before the start of filming.
32 men were posted on The Bachelorette's Facebook page on Tuesday, March 10. Not all of them will make the final cast -- usually the cast tops out at 30 -- but one of these men could become Clare's fiancé, although with casting ongoing, this group may change a lot by the time filming starts. The photos do not come with full bios, just names, ages, and hometowns, The oldest guy is 42, the youngest is 23, and most are in their mid-to-late 20s. Clare said she has no issue dating men younger than her.
The Sacramento, California, native first appeared on The Bachelor in 2014, coming in second and memorably telling infamous Bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis off when he disrespected her at the final rose ceremony. She then appeared on the first and second seasons of Bachelor in Paradise in 2014 and 2015, followed by The Bachelor Winter Games in 2018. She was briefly engaged to Benoit Beausejour-Savard, a Canadian contestant she met while that show was filming. He proposed at the show's live reunion, but they split a few months later. Clare will be 39 during filming, which will make her the oldest lead in franchise history, both Bachelor and Bachelorette, so her season is already making history and destined to be different.
The Bachelorette Season 16 will come to ABC sometime in the future. In the meantime, The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.