Right now, The Bachelorette should have already finished airing—it was scheduled to start in May—but, well, it's been a wild year. ABC finally confirmed a release date on August 27, saying that The Bachelorette will return on Tuesday, October 13, at 8 p.m. ET—yes, Tuesday, not Monday—and Reality Steve noted in early September that the season had finished filming. It's been a crazy year for the franchise: Clare Crawley was announced as The Bachelorette, then the COVID-19 pandemic shut down filming for a while, then Crawley reportedly quit and was replaced by fan favorite Tayshia Adams, and then all kinds of Bachelor franchise veterans were spottted in the location where Crawley's season was intended to be filmed. It's been weird, guys.
What happened with Clare Crawley?
It hasn't been confirmed by ABC, but Clare Crawley is widely believed to have quit the titular role of The Bachelorette in late July or early August and been replaced by fan-favorite Tayshia Adams. Crawley's season of The Bachelorette had only just begun filming—it ended up starting filming in July, just weeks before it was initially scheduled to begin airing—and it had a tentative air date of fall 2020. We now know that the season will air in the fall, so it seems that the lead switch-up only delayed the premiere date by a few weeks.
Why was Crawley's season so delayed?
It has been a long and unexpected road—not just with reality TV, but with life in general—because of the coronavirus pandemic. The producers had (wisely) chosen to delay filming. The tentative plan was to shoot in the middle of the summer, with an air date projected to be sometime in the fall of 2020. Then Crawley was replaced as the lead, and everything was up in the air again.
Where will The Bachelorette take place?
The show will take place in one, singular location—La Quinta Resort and Club in Palm Springs—like a kind of one-woman Bachelor in Paradise.
Crawley's cast also changed because of the delay in filming. Matt James, who was announced this summer as the next Bachelor, was obviously pulled from Crawley's season to be the star of his own, and other men dropped out or were added in. And then this happened again when Crawley was replaced by Adams. All members of cast and crew who were there were tested and then essentially quarantined for the duration of filming.
Why were old Bachelor veterans there?
Even more confusingly, after the Tayshia news came out, multiple former stars of the franchise began popping up at the filming location, including Hannah Ann Sluss, Becca Kufrin, and Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon.
The reason for this hasn't been confirmed, but it's possible the franchise is going with a different format than the usual Bachelorette (especially since Bachelor in Paradise didn't go forward this year). Another option is that amid the tumultuous season and cast switch-ups, fan-favorite alums were drafted in to "advise" Crawley and Adams.
When was it meant to air?
According to the official ABC website, we had an original start of Crawley's journey of May 18, 2020. For context, Hannah Brown's season premiered at roughly the same date, May 13, 2019. In between The Bachelor finale and The Bachelorette premiere, we had that strange The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart situation. Not to mention, Bachelor: Greatest Seasons of All Time, which had its final episode (oh, Juan Pablo!) in September.
With that in mind, looking at Brown's season similarly gives us a clue to Crawley's projected finale date. Brown's "After the Final Rose" took place on July 29–30, 2019. So we might had been looking at a finale of August 3–4, 2020 for Clare—so, in the end, just two months before the season officially starts.
When will The Bachelor air?
If you've been chomping at the bit for more Bachelor content, because, well, Listen To Your Heart was weird and Greatest Seasons of All Time was like eating an appetizer instead of a main, do I have news for you: Per Reality Steve, Matt James' season of The Bachelor has begun filming. Which means that we're back on track with the Bachelor schedule, or at least close to it, because the Bachelor usually airs the first week of January.
How can I watch The Bachelorette?
It'll air live on ABC on October 13 at 8 p.m. But if you don't have cable (and here's a life hack for you—you can buy a satellite and hook it up to your TV, and get ABC for free; and no, I did not know that until the ripe age of 28), then it'll stream on Hulu starting tomorrow, Tuesday, October 14. If you don't have a satellite package but really want to watch tonight, you can trial a TV subscription service like YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, Sling TV, and more.