Everything We Know About Clare Crawley's 'Bachelorette' Season 16

Zoe Jewell
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ABC/Paul Hebert

Clare Crawley was announced as the next Bachelorette star for Season 16 following the conclusion of Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor back in March, just mere days before the coronavirus pandemic halted productions across the world.

The 39-year-old’s search for everlasting love was put on the back burner, as it was deemed unsafe to film, and ABC executives decided to air The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever in its place. And, though restaurants and businesses across the country have slowly started to open back up, fans are still waiting to hear when Clare’s season will begin filming.

Though we have no start date or timetable, host Chris Harrison did reveal during the premiere episode of The Bachelor: GOAT on Monday, June 8 that Clare’s season is still happening, despite speculation to the contrary. 

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“Under normal circumstances right now, we would all be watching Clare on her journey to find love as the Bachelorette, but as we all know these are not normal times. I’m not even at the mansion,” Chris shared. 

“But as they say, the show must go on, right? So here we go. We do promise, we will bring you Clare’s incredible season as soon as we can, but I want you to know what we have planned is pretty special.”

Then, on Wednesday, June 17, ABC announced its fall schedule and Bachelorette was included in the lineup — though no official premiere date was revealed. But how would they even be able to film the series in time, given the current social distancing guidelines? ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told The Hollywood Reporter, “The thinking right now is to quarantine the cast and crew in one specific location with no travel, and to use testing and some social distancing. They have a thoughtful plan they presented to the studio and the government that’s in the process of being vetted and approved.”

 

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This is great news, considering fans had been previously speculating online that Clare’s season was going to be axed for good. The real question now is when Clare’s season will start filming and when exactly it will be able to air. In past years, The Bachelorette has finished airing in early August, making way for both Bachelor in Paradise and Dancing With the Stars (which typically begins airing in September). 

ABC exec Rob Mills spoke with Ryan Seacrest after the fall schedule was released and revealed some tentative filming plans. “Here’s what we're going to do: For Clare’s season, which is going to come first, that’s going to shoot in about a month,” Mills shared. He also shared that filming will all take place in one location — and not the Bachelor Mansion! Instead, they're scouting resorts where the whole season will take place, à la Bachelor in Paradise.

 

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Now, as for airing the season once it's wrapped, we do know ABC plans to air both The Bachelorette and Dancing With the Stars at the same time, with DWTS taking the Monday slot and Bachelorette on Tuesday nights. It’s also possible Bachelorette will air in a condensed format so it can premiere later in fall and finish in time for The Bachelor with Matt James to still premiere in January.

One thing we know for sure, however, is that producers are recasting Clare’s season completely. The initial cast was announced back in March and faced serious backlash from fans who criticized the lack of age diversity among the men. In fact, only one contestant was older than Clare, as most of the men were in their late ‘20s or early ‘30s. 

 

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Producers are also most likely looking to really diversify the cast, especially as former Bachelor Nation stars are sharing a petition to increase diversity among cast members.

Are you surprised we are still going to get Clare’s season? Let us know what you think in the comments below!