I mean, I know the early bird gets the worm but ABC announced Rachel as the Bachelorette so early. Girl is still on Nick's season vying for love! Usually the Bachelorette announcement comes during the finale of The Bachelor or, at its earliest, during the Women Tell All. Before hometown dates is literally unheard of. But, increasingly, the show has proven it doesn't have a set way of doing anything. Recently it switched lead choices in the final moments, going from Caila to JoJo and from Luke to Nick. And, Nick for Bachelor was a historic reveal in itself considering how many times he's been on the franchise.
Nick's Bachelor reveal also paved way for Rachel's early announcement. When Nick was picked for Bachelor, it was announced on After Paradise a full week before Bachelor in Paradise finished airing. It essentially spoiled the end of the show because people knew then that things didn't work out with Jen. So, clearly, ABC doesn't care about spoiling their own show, and this certainly does that. Rachel was likely headed to hometowns in the last episode that aired. So, while we don't know when, we do know things between her and Nick must turn sour at some point — otherwise she wouldn't be the Bachelorette.
As for why the show announced so early? Perhaps to earn press, maybe to build up a fan base for her, and, most likely, to cast people she'll actually be interested in. According to creator Mike Fleiss' twitter, that's why Nick's season was announced early, to give producers extra time to pick women specifically suited to his tastes. There's never been a black Bachelorette, and while Rachel is clearly comfortable dating white men, she also said she's dated black men, which means ABC will want a good mix of men for Rachel. In an interview with Reality Blurred from 2016, Fleiss claimed that “The vast majority of our applicants are less than diverse." Which, he continued, makes things tough for casting directors.
So, perhaps the early announcement is in an effort to make a real push for an actual diverse cast. Whatever the reason, though, I'm excited to see Rachel as the Bachelorette — even if her being named spoiled the end of Nick's season.