Filming for the Bachelor franchise may be on hold right now due to concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the network has a plan to give Bachelor Nation new content as soon as possible. During an appearance on the Chicks in the Office podcast, Robert Mills revealed that ABC plans to resume The Bachelorette as soon as possible, because everyone can use some reality TV escapism right now.
Mills, who is the head of alternative programming at ABC, gave the podcast hosts an update about the status of Clare Crawley's upcoming Bachelorette season during the April 13 episode. "We talk about it every day. Obviously, it's super important," Mills said, before adding that the production will resume on the reality series once shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted across the country. "I'll be honest: We will do it as soon as it's safe," he explained, adding that "We want to get it on [the air] the first minute we possibly can."
According to Reality Steve, Clare's season of The Bachelorette was set to begin filming on March 13 at the Bachelor Mansion in Los Angeles. However, on that same day, Entertainment Weekly revealed that production had been suspended indefinitely in order to protect the cast and crew from the spread of COVID-19, and the May 18 premiere date has also been postponed. "Everyone’s health is the most important priority at this time," Clare wrote on Instagram at the time, adding that, "We are taking it day by day and even hour by hour as this is so unpredictable."
ABC and the Bachelorette team have been taking concerns about the spread of coronavirus very seriously, and right before production was suspended, host Chris Harrison explained that they were considering filming all of Clare's season in the United States, in order to keep everyone safe. While on Chicks in the Office, Mills revealed that a domestic Bachelorette season is still a possibility, as it's unclear what the world will look like when the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. "A lot of that just changes daily," Mills said. "We will figure out how to get some version that reflects the world we're in as quickly as possible."
And while it's possible that Bachelor in Paradise will be filmed and air before Clare's season of The Bachelorette, Mills added that her season is the number one priority at the moment. "We definitely want to get Bachelorette in the can because we announced Clare, everyone's excited for it, there's all these plans for it, but that might take longer to logistically figure out," he said. "It will be tough, but we will definitely figure it out because we all need this — badly."
However, there is an upside to having to postpone filming for Clare's season: the chance to recast her men with more people who could be the hairdresser's perfect match. "We met with a lot of girls from [Peter's] season … we talked to some of [Colton's] girls [but] Clare was literally the last person we met with," Mills said, about casting Clare. And many fans believe that, because they were looking at so many different members of Bachelor Nation to become the next Bachelorette, producers cast a variety of men who may not have necessarily been the perfect fit for the confident, 39-year-old Clare. Thanks to the extra time, Harrison told ET in April that they were "still looking" for more men to potentially win Clare's heart.
Bachelor Nation may still have no idea when they will get to see Clare hopefully find true love, but at least everyone can take comfort in the fact that ABC wants new episodes of the reality series just as badly as fans do.