Much of Bachelor Nation rejoiced last week when Chris Harrison confirmed that “The Bachelorette” was “still casting” while on lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. But he now wants to make it clear that the show is not actively recasting Clare Crawley‘s previously announced 32 men.
In an interview with “Access Hollywood” (watch above), the host said he felt his remark was “taken completely out of context,” as some believed that he meant the show was recasting from scratch, especially since there’d been some backlash to the youthfulness of the cast for 39-year-old Crawley (23 of the guys are in their 20s). Harrison reiterated what he had always said: He doesn’t expect all 32 men will be available or be able to carve out time again to do the show whenever they can start production, so the producers need to be prepared to recast.
“What I said was, when we come back, if and when that is, these guys set aside a certain period of time — they took off work, I mean, our lives have been turned upside down — so just thinking that 25 or 35 guys can all do this again during the timeframe that we pick, that’s going to be difficult,” he clarified. “So I’m just saying there might be new guys only because some of these guys just might not be able to make it. I mean, who knows if these guys have jobs now, are looking for jobs, what their families look like. All of our world has been turned upside down, so we’re not going crazy trying to recast the show. I’m just saying we might have to.”
Season 16 of “The Bachelorette” was scheduled to start production on Friday, March 13, but Warner Bros., which produces the show, shut down production on all its projects that afternoon due to the pandemic. “We were hours away from starting our first night with Clare when we had to pull the plug,” Harrison recalled. “And luckily we did, and safely, and it was the right thing to do, but we’re all dying to get back to it. As soon as we can, we’re gonna get back to ‘The Bachelorette.'”
“The Bachelorette” is the top priority for the franchise, which was also supposed to air “Bachelor in Paradise” Season 7 and “The Bachelor Summer Games” this summer; though it wasn’t brought up in the interview, the latter is almost certainly postponed until next year to coincide with the yet-to-be-rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.
“Everything’s up in the air. It all depends on the timeframe of when we get back. First and foremost, Clare is on top of the list. We want to get our Bachelorette in and we want to do this for Clare,” Harrison explained. “And then it’s just where are we in the calendar year [for ‘Bachelor in Paradise’]. Is it May? Great. Is it June? OK. Are we now late July, August? That changes things when ABC can give us airtime, so all of it depends on the calendar of when we can get out of our houses and safely get back to production.”