Alright, Bachelor Nation. After many, many unexpected months of waiting for Clare Crawley's season of The Bachelorette to finally begin airing, we are almost at the start date. Obviously, there are surprises aplenty in store for us (cough Tayshia Adams cough), but one thing we don't know about what's to come is just how the show managed to handle COVID-19 testing and the rest of its pandemic prepping. Now, though, we have an answer for you, as host with the most Chris Harrison has confirmed that the show won't ignore the current realities of the world.
As we all wait to see exactly how Clare will find love (and how Tayshia will take over for her own search), one of the biggest factors for Season 16 of The Bachelorette will, of course, be our current health crisis. The show was forced to shut down for months, just like every other production, back in March, but it had to do so on the very day it was set to start filming. As the producers worked on a plan to get things up and running again, one of the necessities was figuring out how to make sure the entire cast and crew were tested and healthy for the duration of filming.
We don't want it to be the pandemic Bachelorette, but obviously we need to embrace what's happening in the world [as] it would be silly to ignore it completely. So early on, you're going to see the testing and what and the, the steps we took, and you'll literally see people being tested and working their way into the bubble.
Honestly, this is a pretty solid idea. While everyone who tunes in for Season 16 of The Bachelorette will be looking to escape daily life at least a little bit, if the biggest component of 2020 didn't come up here and there it would seem odd. I'm sure there will be some conversations among Clare, Chris Harrison, and her suitors about this year and the future, so the production might as well show us how they got everyone quarantined and checked out to make sure they were all healthy and ready to possibly swap spit on screen.
Having said that, though, there's already a lot going on this season, so I hope they don't spend too much time showing us testing and the like.
As most fans know by now, there had to be several unexpected changes made so that The Bachelorette could resume operations several weeks ago. Production had to abandon the Bachelor Mansion, and instead opted to buy out a Palm Springs, California resort for filming, so that they could ensure all of the cast and crew would be able to stay virus free for the many weeks of work which were ahead. They also needed to make sure that there were a variety of locations / activities for all of the dates, rose ceremonies and cocktail parties, seeing as how they obviously couldn't travel internationally or even within the U.S. safely.
This strict quarantine process led to a bit of a fan uproar when Chris Harrison, who has hosted roughly 9 million hours of Bachelor Nation content since the franchise began in 2002, was replaced for a few weeks. In mid-August, he left the (apparently very secure and healthy) Bachelorette Bubble to take one of his sons to college in Texas, and when he returned had to quarantine again for several days before he was allowed to roam freely about the resort and resume his hostly duties.
Luckily, filming for the show was able to be completed without any health related hitches, so even though we had a super long wait, we should still get all of the longing glances, smoochy-faces, groping, hot tub dates, drama and shocking reveals that we usually do. In fact, the process worked so well that Harrison even confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that they will be filming Matt James' Season 25 of The Bachelor in the same way, with the cast and crew reportedly filming from the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania. About the new season, Harrison said:
I think the most important things we learned from last season -- it worked, it was successful. What we did was 100 percent successful. We had no issues whatsoever, so if it's not broke, don't fix it. So, we're gonna get right back in that bubble...Different location, we're not gonna be in Palm Springs. This is a little more expansive. I can tell you there's gonna be a lot more offered to us as far as being outdoors. It's not gonna be 155 degrees, which helps. Shooting on the surface of the sun was difficult this summer. So, this place is gonna give us a lot more outdoors, a lot more activities.
I really like the sound of that! We need at least one of these pandemic seasons to have a makeout session among a lush outdoor location, and I will absolutely die if there's somehow a waterfall under which Matt can kiss one of his ladies. Season 16 of The Bachelorette comes to ABC on a new night, Tuesdays, beginning on October 13 at 8 p.m. EST, while The Bachelor with Matt James is still expected to land on the network sometime in January 2021. For more to watch in the coming weeks, check out our fall TV premiere schedule!