Bachelor in Paradise is expected to return this summer after being bumped from the 2020 schedule amid pandemic-related production delays on The Bachelorette. Now that Matt James’ season of The Bachelor has returned the dating franchise to its typical schedule, a trip to paradise seems imminent, although it may look a little different this year.
STOP! Spoilers on Bachelor Nation below.
Here’s what we know:
‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Is Expected to Return in 2021
Bachelor in Paradise is the priority for ABC after not airing last year. “We are hell-bent on figuring out how we make Paradise work,” ABC Executive Robert Mills told Variety. “Unless something horrendous happens, I feel very confident that Paradise is coming back on this summer — how and where it’s going to be, it’s still too early to tell.”
As Reality Steve has reported, Katie Thurston is expected to be announced as the new Bachelorette during tonight’s After the Final Rose special, with her season starting to film this weekend. He also reported an unprecedented “curveball” with Michell Young named as a second Bachelorette for later in 2021. Filming on that season is expected to start in July, with Bachelor in Paradise filming beforehand.
The Filming Location is Unknown
It is too early to tell if Bachelor in Paradise will film in Mexico as travel restrictions and safety protocols are ever-changing.
“Everything is day-to-day,” Mills told Variety. “Right now, unfortunately, we’re at a place, especially in Los Angeles, where all the productions are getting shut down — you know, [Jimmy] Kimmel is back doing his show from home.”
However, there is now a COVID-19 vaccination which could potentially impact filming. “We could have a massive rollout of vaccinations and that would make it easier to travel and shoot places,” hypothesized Mills, saying they are also looking into different filming options. He added, “Obviously, we don’t want producers and cast members to be getting vaccinated early just for the show, but if people can get vaccinated, then maybe we’re back in Mexico.”
There are Five Seasons of the Franchise to Choose From
Before the next season of Bachelor in Paradise begins, there will have been two seasons of The Bachelor, two seasons of The Bachelorette and a season of The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart.
“The biggest problem we’re going to have is that we have probably about 150 potential people we can have in the cast between the four seasons that haven’t been able to be on Paradise, and then other people who have been on previous seasons,” he explained. “How do you make that into 15-18 cast members? It’s going to be really tough.”
Mills said it is too early to ask castmates yet while they still sort out the details.
“The silent producer on the show is the audience so we’ll see on Twitter who people say they want to see,” Mills said of the casting process, noting they also look to castmembers who didn’t get the screen time they deserved. He added, “Sometimes the pond is really dry — this season will be the opposite case. The pond is overstocked.”
Mills did not mention if anyone from Listen to Your Heart would appear on the show.
Wells Adams Is Expected to Return, But it Is Unclear if Chris Harrison Will
Wells Adams has become a mainstay behind the bar in Mexico. During a recent stop by Daily Pop, the franchise favorite told hosts Carissa Culiner, Justin Sylvester and Kym Whitley, “I hope to God it happens because it is the most fun show to do and I have the best seat in the house because I just get to watch the dumpster fire burn in front of me. But I think the plan is that they’re going to do it this year.”
While he didn’t explicitly say he will return, his willingness to quarantine for cameos on the most recent seasons of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette seem like a good indicator.
However, one familiar face may be missing: Chris Harrison. The longtime franchise host announced he was temporarily stepping down after facing backlash for admittedly “excusing historical racism” during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay. While he made it clear during a recent Good Morning America interview that he felt ready to return, ABC has announced he will not host the next season of The Bachelorette. While Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams will fill the role for the upcoming season, Harrison’s future with the franchise remains unknown.