Spoilers ahead for Matt James' season of The Bachelor and the upcoming Season 17 of The Bachelorette.
To say that the past year of Bachelor Nation action has been dramatic would be a massive understatement, going from Peter Weber's mom causing a stir on The Bachelor to the leading lady switcheroo of Tayshia Adams for Clare Crawley on The Bachelorette Season 16 to the controversy surrounding Matt James' season of The Bachelor. Now, the next season of The Bachelorette is reportedly already recasting the leading lady due to scandal, and it's time to reevaluate when the big announcement will be made about the star of Season 17.
Spoilers have been circulating for the better part of a month that fan-favorite Katie Thurston would go from the woman who didn't win Matt James' heart on The Bachelor to the star of The Bachelorette, but Bachelor Nation spoiler guru Reality Steve reports that Thurston is no longer destined for the Bachelorette limelight. According to Steve, Thurston was set to be the new Bachelorette up until scandal started brewing in Bachelor Nation, and now producers are discussing which of Matt James' jilted ladies to go with.
The decision to recast Katie Thurston due to the current controversy is somewhat surprising, as the scandal surrounds Rachael Kirkconnell and longtime Bachelor Nation host Chris Harrison rather than Thurston herself, and Matt James himself dropped some comments about Thurston as the next Bachelorette. So, if Thurston is no longer going to be the star of The Bachelorette Season 17, when can fans expect to find out who will be the one distributing roses? The answer might be more complicated than Reality Steve simply spilling the beans weeks in advance, as has happened in the past.
On early February 9, the spoiler king wrote that Katie Thurston's selection as the next Bachelorette came out at the taping of the "Women Tell All" special episode of this season of The Bachelor, with "Women Tell All" reportedly filming on February 4, which was before Chris Harrison's fateful February 9 interview in which he defended Rachael Kirkconnell after photos of her at an Antebellum party in 2018 started to spread across the internet. That interview blew the situation right up, resulting in Harrison stepping away from the franchise, Kirkconnell posting an apology online, Rachel Lindsay deciding to leave Bachelor Nation, and Matt James reportedly breaking up with Kirkconnell.
Whatever was decided by the time of the "Women Tell All" was evidently changed by the controversy in the weeks since, which raises a new possibility for when the announcement could happen. The traditional "After the Final Rose" finale to this season of The Bachelor is reportedly filming this weekend in Los Angeles, although even Reality Steve doesn't know who will host the ATFR, how the ATFR will work, or if the ATFR host will take Chris Harrison's place as host when The Bachelorette picks up. That said, ATFR episodes have seen the reveals of new Bachelor Nation leads before; could the next Bachelorette be announced there? And if so, will the spoiler leak?
Of course, only days are left between the time of writing and when ATFR is reportedly filming over the weekend, and filming on The Bachelorette is said to have been delayed for a week later into March, so there is no guarantee that producers will be ready to drop the bombshell by the weekend. Still, ATFR would make sense as the time and place for an announcement, if a decision has been made about who will be the next Bachelorette in place of Katie Thurston.
You can find Katie Thurston back on screen sooner rather than later, however. She will be one of the 15 women who return for the "Women Tell All" episode of The Bachelor that airs on Monday, March 1 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, even if it apparently is not going to involve the announcement of the next Bachelorette.