It’s on! Clare Crawley’s season of The Bachelorette was a serious challenge for ABC due to health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. Season 16 completely reformatted and filmed the Sacramento native’s journey to find love entirely at one location, the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs, California.
How did the reality dating show pull off a *mostly* regular season with 30 contestants, two Bachelorettes and a full cast and crew? Everyone involved was tested for COVID-19 before entering the filming location and then was isolated for a “quarantine period” before the cameras started rolling, Variety reported on June 26. In addition, “regular testing and temperature checks are expected.”
Clare’s season was originally supposed to start filming in March with a slotted premiere date for mid-May. However, the show went on hiatus amid COVID-19 cases skyrocketing across the country. Filming finally began in July.
It seemed ABC accomplished their mission because programming executive Rob Mills told Variety they “really recreated” a traditional season of The Bachelorette during an interview published ahead of the premiere on Tuesday, October 13.
“Everyone was tested, so they could do everything they’d do on a normal season, like kissing and hugging and everything else,” he explained. “It will be acknowledged at the start, in terms of what everybody had to do — they had to quarantine and get tested — but then once you’re in the bubble, you’re in. There won’t be travel, but it looks like a regular season. It’s not socially distanced in any way, shape or form.”
“The contestants don’t know what’s going on, the producers don’t know what to do next … The guys don’t know what to do but laugh, they feel like they’ve been whipped around,” an insider said after Life & Style exclusively broke the news that the hairstylist wanted “to quit” the season after falling in love with contestant Dale Moss.
While they brought in a handful of new men for Tayshia, 30, she was also “matched” with the remaining contestants who originally arrived to meet Clare. “The guys that are now left are just happy to get another chance at love,” added the insider. “The show is going to go on with a new Bachelorette and they are excited. Producers have to be creative, but they like the element of surprise and are hoping it will draw more interest.”
Fans can’t wait for Clare to get her chance at finding love. Even her ex-fiancé, Benoit Beauséjour-Savard, from Bachelor Winter Games sent well wishes to his ex. “I’m glad she got that chance at finding love because we both trust that process,” he exclusively told Life & Style. “All I want for her is to be happy because she deserves the best.”
Time will tell what the future holds!