Will ‘The Bachelorette’ recast Clare Crawley’s suitors during shutdown? Chris Harrison is ‘all for it’

If you were unimpressed by the overwhelmingly young dudesThe Bachelorette” assembled for Clare Crawley, good news: They’ll probably not all make it on the show whenever production commences after the coronavirus-induced shutdown.

In an Instagram Live on Tuesday, Crawley encouraged guys to keep applying for her season, which was set to start filming last Friday before Warner Bros., which produces the series, halted production in response to the global pandemic. “I’m not saying this personally, but I feel like since we have a break in the show right now, I don’t think it’s too late to submit people,” the hairstylist said. “So, submit them, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?”

In his own Instagram Live later on Tuesday with his girlfriend, “Entertainment Tonight” host Lauren Zima, Chris Harrison said that some recasting was “not out of the realm of possibility” and he’s “all for it.” From a logistical standpoint, it’d be incredibly difficult for the all of the previously announced 32 guys to request time off from work again — never mind the fact that everyone would still be getting their normal lives back on track from COVID-19.

SEE Meet the 32 men vying for Clare Crawley’s heart on ‘The Bachelorette’

“The thought that 25, 30, 35 guys — everybody that was able to take time off and come on ‘The Bachelorette’ is gonna be able to come back again whenever we do this, because we don’t have a set time of when we’re gonna come back obviously with this virus — who knows when this thing is gonna blow through?” he said. “So the idea that everybody’s just gonna be able to take off work to do this again, probably very slim. So there will be some different guys. Maybe it’ll be completely different guys. Maybe it’ll be a little mixture. Who knows? We really don’t know with the way the world  is right now, with everybody’s schedule.”

ABC unveiled Crawley’s 32 suitors last week, who range in age from 23 to 42, with 23 of them being in their 20s. Crawley, who turns 39 on Friday, is the show’s oldest lead ever, leading many fans to feel TPTB would cast more age-appropriate men. While Crawley’s casting was announced early, it was only by 11 days before production was scheduled to begin. Rob Mills, ABC’s head of alternative programming, shared last week that most of the applications they had received by then were from younger men who “thought probably the Bachelorette would be coming from [Peter] Weber’s season” of “The Bachelor,” which featured the franchise’s typically young ladies.

Crawley has repeatedly said she dates younger men — but “not too much younger… but younger,” she clarified on Tuesday.

SEE Chris Harrison defends Clare Crawley’s young ‘Bachelorette’ suitors: ‘Age is a rather dubious marker’

Harrison had previously downplayed age as an major factor in relationships, but he’s also realistic. “Keep casting new guys. Look, is Clare gonna date a 23-year-old man?” the host asked rhetorically. “No, she’s not. Just not gonna happen. Just not gonna happen. Let’s be honest.” Sorry, James C. from Chicago.

The other element that might cause some recasting is that none of these people, the lead or the contestants, are supposed to know about or have met each other beforehand (other than when the franchise sometimes brings a few contestants on “After the Final Rose” to briefly meet the new lead). That’s just Reality TV 101. The entire first episode of every season is devoted to the star meeting every guy/girl for the first time when they come out of the limo. But now everyone’s back at home, being socially distant, and the cast list and photos are out and all over the internet for them to see.

ABC has not commented on the casting situation. “The Bachelorette” is still scheduled to premiere on Monday, May 18, but with the way things are going in the world, that’s looking less and less likely.

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