It was a long, long Bachelor season with Matt James, complete with a ton of disappointing and revelatory off-screen drama. But in recent news that's being called "the big reset" of the franchise: There will be two Bachelorettes in 2021! One of them will be Ms. "I brought a vibrator to my meet-cute with Matt" herself, Katie Thurston, who became a fan favorite for being sex-positive and vocally supportive of the other contestants. The other Bachelorette in 2021 will be Michelle Young, who made it to the final two before James eliminated her, and who behaved with utter class at After the Final Rose.
Early spoilers from Reality Steve revealed that Thurston had been selected for the lead role, then both Thurston and ABC denied this was the case, and then we finally got the big reveal of two leads during James' Bachelor finale. If having two seasons and two Bachelorettes sounds a little confusing to you, I get it: This is the first time in franchise history that the producers are doing things this way, and there'll be some adjustments as we go along. I'm...actually excited for these seasons?? Here's what we know so far about Thurston's, which apparently wrapped a week ahead of schedule and "went great," according to Us Weekly.
When will The Bachelorette with Thurston premiere?
ABC has confirmed that Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette will premiere June 7, 2021, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Is there a trailer?
You bet. Here's the first-look trailer, featuring a blowup doll, plenty of crying, and...a guy dressed up as a cat:
And here's another sneak peek, complete with proof that Blake Moynes, one of the most memorable suitors from Clare and Tayshia's season of The Bachelorette, shows up to date Thurston:
Who will host Katie Thurston's Bachelorette season?
Former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will be taking over as co-hosts this season as Chris Harrison continues his hiatus from the show (you can see them in the promo above). Bristowe is coming off her win on Dancing With the Stars, and Tayshia Adams' season wrapped up last year.
When asked about viewers who said they wouldn't watch the show without Harrison, Thurston replied, "I think they're on the wrong side of history. It's 2021...I support Chris and everything that he's doing, and I think that this is the best decision...I really feel like this is the big reset. There have been a ton of uncomfortable conversations, but important conversations."
Harrison is also being replaced as host for Bachelor in Paradise (more on that below), and we don't have confirmation on who will serve as host of Young's Bachelorette season.
Hang on, what's happening with Bachelor in Paradise?
Don't worry, your favorite hot mess of a show will be back on our screens on Monday, August 16, 2021 after a two-year absence (it's my favorite of the bunch, so I'm delighted).
Thanks to the lack of Paradise in 2020, there are about 150 (!) contestants to choose from. “How do you make that in to 15 to 18 cast members? It’s going to be really tough,” ABC executive Rob Mills said. But they're "hell-bent" on bringing the show to our screens, bless 'em, and cast members are likely to include Ben Smith, Joe Park, and Bennett Jordan from Adams/Crawley's season. Chris Harrison will not host, however, and will be replaced by "guest comedians," which sounds...interesting. You can learn more about the next season of BiP here.
And what do we know about Michelle Young’s Bachelorette season?
Young's Bachelorette season will air in fall of 2021, meaning she'll likely starting filming in July, around the time Bachelor in Paradise wraps. So if you're keeping track, the 2021 franchise order will be:
- Kate Thurston as Bachelorette, starting June 7
- Bachelor in Paradise, staring August 16
- Michelle Young as Bachelorette, premiere date TBD
Where will Thurston's Bachelorette season film?
Thanks to spoilers from Reality Steve, we know that filming took place in the Hyatt Regency Tamaya, which is outside Albuquerque, New Mexico. Due to ongoing COVID quarantine procedures, it was almost certainly a closed set, without travel, with the guests likely flown in and quarantined.
As for dates, the 550-acre resort has plenty of options. The resort has five restaurants, three pools, a full-service spa, an 18-hole golf course and tennis courts. Expect to see plenty of adventure dates, where the contestants could be horseback riding, cycling, fly fishing, hiking, hot air ballooning or doing equestrian yoga.
Who are Bachelorette contestants?
ABC announced the 34 contestants for Thurston's season on their Facebook page, and you can get to know them all here. The men range from ages 26 to 36, an older than average age range for the show. One standout with Bachelor Nation ties is Andrew Spencer, a 26-year-old from Waukegan, IL, who's Bachelorette and Paradise alum Clay Spencer's cousin. Michael Allio, a 36-year-old from Akron, Ohio, founded a nonprofit in honor of his wife who passed away from breast cancer. Another standout is Bao Wu, a 36-year-old real estate agent from San Diego, CA. And Moynes, of course. We also have a potential villain: Thomas Jacobs, who's "an early favorite that quickly wears out his welcome with some of the others," per Reality Steve.
Warning: Spoilers. We also have a little intel about some of the contestants, and Katie's final picks. Per Reality Steve: "As you know by now, Blake Moynes shows up rather early in the season, he of Clare/Tayshia’s season. [Spoilers ahead.] Blake makes the final 4 along with Greg Grippo (the first impression rose recipient), and John Hersey. Those 3 I know. I’m not sure who the 4th guy is in the final 4 yet. I’ve heard names but nothing I’m confident about. Those three I am.” One thing we do know: Thurston reportedly leaves the season engaged, per Us Weekly.