In case you missed the massive, massive news: Clare Crawley is reportedly out as Bachelorette after a few weeks of filming, with speculation being that she quit the show to pursue one of her bachelors exclusively. She's being replaced by none other than fan favorite Tayshia Adams, which makes this a first for the already-dramatic show. The rumors originated on Reddit this weekend and were confirmed by E! and Entertainment Tonight yesterday.
So our next question becomes: Wait, how is this going to work, exactly? Will the season "restart," or will Crawley's eliminated men stay eliminated? Will the men, who'd been trying to woo Crawley, be amenable to changing Bachelorettes? (Remember that terrible season where the bachelors voted on which Bachelorette they wanted? Let's hope these bachelors behave better than that.) If you remember, Crawley's cast ultimately numbered 42, which included more than the usual number of contestants so that there would be alternates if any tested positive for the coronavirus. Given the unique parameters of this season due to the pandemic, it seems unlikely that any true outsiders would join the cast at this point. But here's what we know so far, and we'll keep the post updated when we learn more.
Crawley had already gone through rounds of elimination.
Crawley had filmed a few weeks of her season when she told producers (reportedly) that she didn't want to do the show anymore—so, Reality Steve speculated, that would put her down to around 15 men. The whole cast and crew had come to the hotel before filming started to quarantine and be tested for the coronavirus, but it's not exactly clear if the eliminated men would leave immediately (which is what normally happens) or remain in the hotel.
So, if Crawley eliminated some contestants, but they had to remain in the hotel, could they be un-eliminated so Adams could start with more men for her season? Would the producers leave those men eliminated and dip into their pool of alternates, if they're still around? Or will Adams start with 15 men in a sort of condensed show format, essentially half the men Crawley started with? Would producers let her take a look at the cast list and let her decide? A source talking to Entertainment Weekly said, "Filming did not stop, but Tayshia got a fresh start as the Bachelorette," so take that for whatever that means.
Cut Bachelorette cast members were mysteriously asked to return.
Last week, without knowing the bombshell that was to follow, Us Weekly broke a story that bachelors who were cast on the show but ultimately never made it to night one were asked if they'd like to return to the show. "Last weekend, producers reached out to backup Bachelorette contestants who had been vetted for Clare’s season but were ultimately not cast to film at La Quinta [Resort]...When producers reached back out, out of the blue, it was very apparent that something had happened with production."
It didn't appear as though any of those contestants decided to come back, that we know of. And it sounds like it's way too late to start fresh with new contestants. So at least so far, it seems as though trying to work with existing bachelors might be the way to go—but stay tuned. TBD.