The Bachelor franchise has been hit hard by the COVID-19 production shutdown.
The Bachelorette was days away from starting production with a Clare Crawley-fronted season and The Bachelor: Summer Games was cancelled, in part due to the postponement of the Olympics.
Despite this, ABC is resolute that Crawley will eventually get her shot at love when production can resume and the network is also mulling a potential quarantine-themed spin-off.
ABC alternative boss Rob Mills told Deadline that internally it has thrown around the title, Bachelor In Quarantine.
“The best thing about The Bachelor is its willingness to evolve as a format so if we need to shoot a cycle that reflects these times, that’s what we’re going to look at doing,” he said.
Music spin-off The Bachelor: Listen To Your Heart is currently on air, having been filmed before the virus. Next up would have been The Bachelorette in mid-May, followed by Bachelor In Paradise in early August.
However, if ABC did move with a quarantine-themed season, it would unlikely be as simple as retooling Bachelor in Paradise. There have been discussions as to whether the summer series could be shot in its secluded location in Mexico. However, host Chris Harrison played this down last week, calling that a bit “premature”. “Getting 20 cast members is one thing, getting 100 to 180 crew members and putting a director in a truck next to the producers, where you’ve got 30 people in a trailer next to each other is another thing. There’s a lot of logistics that go into it,” he told The Bill Simmons Podcast. However, he added, “We are on it, we’re chomping on the bit to produce content.”
The Bachelorette was the first of the shows in the franchise to be interrupted by the coronavirus. Days away from filming, the network had revealed that Crawley would be its leading lady at the start of March.
However, Mills told Deadline that the 38-year-old hair stylist from Sacramento, CA, who appeared in season 18 of The Bachelor when she stood up to controversial Bachelor Juan Pablo during the season finale, will still get to start her quest to find true love, even if the network and producers don’t know when that will be
“She’s always been resilient,” said Mills. “We’re going to do her a season and it’s going to be fantastic. If she finds a person, then this all means it was all meant to be. We’ll be nimble.”
Elsewhere, last week, Harrison, who has hosted the show and its spin-offs since 2002, said that he and creator Mike Fleiss had discussed the possibility of doing some specials or retrospectives while production had shutdown.