Why Did Clare Have to Leave? 'The Bachelorette' Bosses Speak Out

The Bachelorette Season 16 Episode 4 Clare Crawley Dale
ABC/Craig Sjodin

By now, chances are you know all about the rumored twist about to happen in The Bachelorette Season 16: Clare Crawley, after falling for Dale, is out, and Tayshia Adams is replacing her.

ABC has been very careful not to confirm any such switch while still teasing and promising the most dramatic season yet in the franchise and Clare "blowing up" the series in its promos. But now the preview for the next episode, airing on a special night, Thursday, November 5, due to the presidential election, all but outright says Clare's leaving and Tayshia's stepping in without using those exact words.

After the first three episodes of Season 16 and Clare even calling Dale her fiancé in the latest, those working on The Bachelorette, the head of ABC's Alternative Series, Specials & Late-Night Programming, Robert Mills, and host Chris Harrison, are speaking more openly than they have so far. While on Bachelor Nick Viall's "Viall Files" podcast, Mills admitted a "big worry" was "it was just going to be Dale from Episode 1 to Episode 10." (It does look like that would've been the case just after the first three episodes.)

But the moment they knew it was time to bring in someone new — as the most recent promo indicates is happening in Episode 4 — was "when she didn't give out that rose" after the roast group date," Mills said. (Clare said she didn't feel she could give out a group date rose, after the guys roasted Dale and she subsequently focused on him while talking to the others.)

The decision to leave, however, was Clare's, Harrison told ET. "I really put it in her court," he said of what will be shown in the episode (the conversation teased in multiple promos about her "blowing up" The Bachelorette). "It is completely up to her." And that comes after he and the producers witnessed how hard she fell for Dale from the start — and continued to fall, which, the host admitted, was unexpected.

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"I kinda thought, 'This'll be good because we won't be going in this direction in just another week or two, and this'll be interesting that she was falling so hard for this guy and felt so strong, yet here we are on this other path,'" he explained. "That tends to be what happens."

Now all that's left to do is see how it all plays out in the November 5 episode.

The Bachelorette, Thursday, November 5, 8/7c, ABC