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Warning: Spoilers below for Clare Crawley's (potential) 2020 season of The Bachelorette, a.k.a Season 16!
After dealing with all of Peter Weber's insanity on his season of The Bachelor, it's been a long road to get here, but we're all, I think, finally ready to dive into the goodness that (hopefully) lies ahead when we can watch Clare Crawley's 2020 season of The Bachelorette. Production was supposed to begin last Friday, but had to be delayed because of fears over the coronavirus. Now we're hearing that, because of that delay, the show might be forced to recast the bachelors who were chosen for Clare's season. Bright sides!
OK, here's what's happening now. Obviously, all of Bachelor Nation is annoyed that Clare's season of The Bachelorette can't quite go on as planned right now, even though we know the production shutdown was important. So, to talk more about what might happen with the upcoming Season 16, franchise host with the most Chris Harrison did an Instagram live video recently (via People) to talk things out with fans. His thought? We will likely see a very different list of men in Clare's Coterie when filming does actually begin:
The thought that 25, 30, 35 guys, everybody that was able to take time off and come on The Bachelorette, is going to be able to come back again — because we don’t have a set time of when we’re going to come back. Obviously with this virus, who knows when this thing is going to blow through. So the idea that everybody is just going to be able to take off work and do this again? Probably very slim. There will be some different guys. Maybe it’ll be completely different guys, maybe it’ll be a mixture. Who knows? We really don’t know, with the way the world is right now, with everybody’s schedule.
The current plan is for The Bachelorette to delay production for two weeks, then assess the situation and see if and when it's possible to start filming. But, as Chris Harrison said, there's no way for any of the many productions that have shuttered their doors to know exactly when they can go back to work, so the case is the same for The Bachelorette.
But...this would take care of an issue that many fans noticed when Clare's list of bachelors was first announced. A lot of people (including yours truly) felt that most of the guys who'd been cast were simply too young. Clare will be 39 when filming gets underway, and somehow (miraculously) the producers were only able to find three dudes who were in their mid-30s to early 40s for Clare to date and try to find love with. Most of the men were, pretty typically for the franchise, still in their twenties and early 30s, with a few at or below 25-years-old.
Clare didn't really seem to have a problem with this, seeing as how she stood up for the choices and herself when talking back to her Bachelor ex Juan Pablo Galavis after he bad-mouthed her and The Bachelorette on Twitter, but, it looked to me like the show was trying to set her up to fail. Clare's ready to get married, and possibly have a bambino or two. How many 23-year-old guys are really ready to do both of those things by the time they turn 25?
So, Clare and the fans might actually get more men closer to her age on the show now that the delay is shifting everyone's plans, but there's another factor at play that Chris Harrison didn't mention when talking about casting new guys. As Reality Steve pointed out, a big part of the whole Bachelor / Bachelorette journey is the lead getting to know everyone for the first time, as well as the cast interacting for the first time on camera. Well, guess what? Because they were due to begin filming on Friday, they now all know each other and have already had many of those interactions without fans being a part of it.
Even if everyone cast could come back whenever they get around to filming for real (we'll get to that in a bit), the novelty will be somewhat broken. They weren't all together for very long, but we're already in a situation where Bachelor A could now have inside jokes with Bachelor C and Bachelor X. Bachelor P and Bachelor T could have realized that they're actually related, and Clare could have decided that she doesn't like the look of any of them at all. So, give Clare new men!
Now, about when filming could start up again. This also poses some big problems that go beyond the dudes Clare might be dating. According to Reality Steve, The Bachelorette would have been done shooting around the 8th or 10th of May, for a May 18 premiere. With the delay, though, and not knowing how things are going to shake out with the coronavirus, Steve posits that it could be June 1 (at the earliest) when they get cameras rolling again. The seven week filming schedule would then push Bachelor in Paradise back to a start date somewhere in August.
On top of that, Clare's Bachelorette season would then begin airing in early August and last for 11 weeks, meaning that BIP can't premiere until the week before Halloween at the earliest, and then air through the winter. Also, this would mean that either Bachelor in Paradise airing will have to overlap with The Bachelor filming (which happens in the fall / winter) or that show will also need to be pushed back, potentially throwing the whole franchise and ABC's schedule into disarray.
Basically, as you can see, this is a big ol' Bachelor Nation mess of a very different kind, and it'll be intriguing to see just how everything plays out over the next several months.
I really just want two things to come from this: 1) for everyone to be safe and healthy, and 2) to be able to watch grown-ass woman Clare Crawley look for love on a semi-trashy reality dating show. Come on, universe. I don't think that's too much to ask for!