LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) — As if shooting “The Bachelorette” under quarantine wasn’t enough drama, ABC’s female-fronted reality show has been rocked by more real-life twists that will play out on-screen in the upcoming season.
Over the weekend, rumours began to swirl that “The Bachelorette” lead, Clare Crawley, would be replaced by “Bachelor” alum, Tayshia Adams, when a Reddit user posted that Crawley had fallen in love with a contestant early on and refused to continue filming.
While both ABC and Warner Bros. TV have declined to comment about the on-set bombshell, sources say tabloid and blog reports that have surfaced over the weekend are not all entirely accurate.
However, insiders have clued Variety in on the fact that there is some validity to the rumours that Crawley and Adams could swap in the leading lady position during the season. In other words, Crawley – the woman who was originally cast as “The Bachelorette” for Season 16 – will not be completely replaced, and her dramatic storyline will air during the season.
“It’s shaping up to be a very interesting season creatively with lots of twists and turns,” a production insider tells Variety.
Even if Crawley had fallen in love with a contestant early on throughout filming, a cast member cannot make the decision to depart the show on which they are under contract. However, if the production team believes a cast departure could benefit the storyline, the switch could certainly happen.
Adding more fuel to the fire, late this weekend, Crawley briefly liked a tweet about Adams becoming “The Bachelorette,” before un-liking the post on Twitter. “Bachelor” cast members are not allowed to have their phones during the duration of the shoot, so Crawley’s social media interaction brings about questions of her whereabouts. Moreover, Variety hears that texts were not going through to Adams’ phone this past weekend, which could indicate she is, indeed, on-set.
The off-screen rumour mill has always fueled “The Bachelor” franchise with tabloids and bloggers publishing tons of stories, while each season is in production – some that are true, and many that are not true. In this case, the Crawley and Adams rumours surely keep the upcoming season in the headlines, which could explain why the network and studio are not providing any comment, let alone denying the various reports. ABC typically declines to comment on any production rumours, regarding the franchise.
Variety has learned that no sort of announcement is expected to be made, at this time, and the drama will be saved for the season when it airs this fall.
Should Adams become the second star of Season 16 of “The Bachelorette,” she would bring more diversity to the long-running dating show franchise that has suffered years of criticism for its lack if diversity, but has cast its first-ever Black male lead, Matt James, for the upcoming season of “The Bachelor,” which is planned to air in early 2021.
Adams, who is mixed-race, first appeared as a finalist on Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor,” and then went onto the sixth season of summer spinoff, “Bachelor In Paradise.”
Production on this season of “The Bachelorette” was shut down in mid-March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in the U.S., halting virtually all production in Hollywood. Production is now four weeks in, as the cast and crew are essentially quarantined in a bubble at a Southern California resort, which has been completely rented out just to film the ABC series. Sources indicate that the Crawley drama occurred as production had just about hit the halfway point.