We may not be quite sure what this summer will look like in terms of vaccine availability and travel restrictions, but what we do know is that we'll definitely be able to spend the season living vicariously through a group of very photogenic twenty-somethings as they chug tropical drinks and attempt to fall in love with each other in some beachy locale. That's right, folks: Bachelor in Paradise is coming back! The seventh season will premiere on Monday, August 16.
After the series was forced to take a year off in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the powers that be over at ABC have been scrambling to bring the no-holds-barred Bachelor spinoff back in time for this summer. As Rob Mills, a senior vice president at the network, told Variety earlier this year, "We are hell-bent on figuring out how we make Paradise work. ... Unless something horrendous happens, I feel very confident that Paradise is coming back on this summer." Between that and Reality Steve's recent intel claiming that BiP will begin filming after Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette, all signs seem to be pointing to the series' imminent return. Here's everything we know about season seven of Bachelor in Paradise so far.
When will Bachelor in Paradise air in 2021?
Bachelor in Paradise will begin airing on ABC on August 16, 2021. The series will start filming in June, between Thurston and Michelle Young's back-to-back seasons of The Bachelorette.
This is in line with other seasons; five of the last six seasons of BiP have premiered in the first week of August (season four kicked off a week later than usual) and continued, airing two episodes a week, until mid-September.
Who will be on Bachelor in Paradise this season?
Several seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette have aired in the two years since the last group of Bachelor Nation alums flew to Mexico, meaning that there will be plenty of eliminated contestants to choose from for the next season of BiP. The full cast hasn't yet been announced, but Mills, the ABC exec, did let one name slip earlier this year. In early January, after Joe Park, an anesthesiologist who appeared on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams' joint season of The Bachelorette, documented his second vaccine dose on social media, Mills shared the post and wrote, "We've got ourselves a vaccinated Paradisian!!"
There are also some unverified rumors that Noah Erb, Chasen Nick, and Spencer Robertson from Crawley/Adams' season have been cast. Chelsea Vaughn from James' season posted a picture in a bikini with the caption, "Did someone say paradise?" (It's unclear if that was a hope or a hint about her casting, but commenters loved it.) Serena Pitt, also from James' season, wants to come on Paradise and says she has a plan. “I would go in with a very open mind...I'm definitely someone who bases a lot on chemistry and interaction.”And the most infamous bachelor of all time, Blake Horstmann, said he might also come back to Mexico, but not for lack of trying. “When you come off the show you kind of start to fear that you can’t find someone without the show and someone not in [Bachelor Nation],” he wrote on Instagram. “We just relate to each other so much...Unfortunately I have had no luck in love recently and I’m back to that train of thought…and it sucks."
Many Bachelor Nation alums have already announced that they will not be returning for round two of competitive broadcast dating. Matt James, for one, recently said on The Bill Simmons Podcast that BiP is "not in my cards." And his second runner-up, Bri Springs, said on the Here for the Right Reasons podcast that she would "need to see kind of some tangible change from the show in order for me to put myself back in that situation." Ivan Hall, who was an absolute fan favorite on Adams' season, told E! in February he wouldn't want to do Paradise without some serious changes—specifically pertaining to the host. "I don't know how this will all shake out, but for myself, for example, if they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that—and I'm sure a lot of the other contestants feel this way as well—I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank." He added, "[I'm] not saying he can't make a recovery, he can't learn from all this, but it would just be too soon."
According to E!, other potential contestants who are getting approached are hesitant. "Casting has begun and some members of Bachelor Nation are apprehensive to sign up," one insider said. "Some are wondering what direction the season will take and are curious if it will strictly focus on contestants falling in love." A second source explained, "They have put out several asks to Bachelor veterans. Many people are declining due to the current state of Bachelor Nation. A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise." We did also get some more hints that the producers are "hoping to get Blake Horstmann, Tia Booth, and Becca Kufrin. Producers are not considering most of the women from Matt [James]'s season." Interesting.
Where will Bachelor in Paradise be filmed?
That'll probably depend on the aforementioned vaccine availability and travel restrictions. Since season two, Bachelor in Paradise has filmed at the Playa Escondida resort in Sayulita, Mexico, and that could still happen, as Mills mused to Variety in January: "If people can get vaccinated, then maybe we're back in Mexico. If not, maybe there is a bubble situation in Mexico. We will figure out something," he said.
Otherwise, similar to how the COVID-era seasons of The Bachelor and Bachelorette have had to give up their globe-trotting ways and stay put at a single luxury resort somewhere in the U.S. all season long, perhaps BiP will go passport-free and send its contestants to a secluded American beach—I hear Hawaii is beautiful in June?
Who will host Bachelor in Paradise?
It's the biggest question of all. With Chris Harrison "stepping aside" from the franchise due to comments about race he made in early February, ABC went ahead and replaced him with Emmanuel Acho for the "After the Final Rose" special following this month's Bachelor finale, and with past Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams for Thurston's season of The Bachelorette. The network has yet to confirm whether Bristowe and Adams will stay on for Young's season, and nor has it announced a new host for Bachelor in Paradise.
The current consensus seems to be that Wells Adams should (and probably will) get the gig. The Bachelorette and BiP alum has spent the last three seasons acting basically as Harrison's co-host through his role as the show's official bartender, so having him step into Harrison's shoes would make the most sense and offer the smoothest transition for the series. Plus, he truly loves Bachelor in Paradise: In an interview with E! News in February, he opened up about the future of the "dumpster fire" that is BiP, saying, "I hope to God it happens, because it is the most fun show to do."
Becca Kufrin, who recently split from ex-fiancé Garrett Yrigoyen, said absolutely not to attending BiP as a contestant, but did say she'd love to be a co-host. "I would do Paradise if I could be Wells [Adams] or a sidekick to Wells...Wells is awesome at what he does, right? But he’s not a single woman who can really comment on the guys running down the beach or the women in their cute bikinis."
She added, "I could be the girl they could come to for advice that they probably don’t need or want, but it could be a fun time,” she said. "I heard that the shrimp tacos there are amazing."