STOP! Spoilers on season 17 of The Bachelorette below.
As Matt James’ time as Bachelor is winding down, one of his contestants is set to be announced as the franchise’s next lead.
It seems the day will be next Monday, as he reported today, “What I posted last is now ‘official.’ Katie Thurston was named the ‘Bachelorette’ at this past Friday’s ATFR taping. For real this time.”
After the Final Rose is set to air immediately after next week’s finale. To maintain the COVID-19 safety protocol, the special was pre-filmed with Emmanuel Acho as host after Chris Harrison temporarily stepped down.
It is unclear if Harrison will still be out as host when Thurston’s season begins filming. During a recent appearance on Good Morning America, the first since apologizing for “excusing historical racism” during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s longtime host revealed he still hopes to continue in his role.
James Said Thurston Is the ‘Type of Woman’ Who Should Be Bachelorette
Reality Steve announced Thurston would be Bachelorette in early February, but her casting was put into question amid the fallout of Harrison’s controversial Extra interview and changes with production.
At the time, James appeared on Watch What Happens Live! and discussed the possibility she would take over as the lead.
“When I saw Serena [Chew] and Katie’s exchange, that had nothing to do with my feelings for Katie at that time,” James told host Andy Cohen of his decision to eliminate Thurston during their one-on-one last week. Earlier in the episode Chew had confronted her over drama amongst the contestants.
He added that it “doesn’t say anything about her as a woman and how incredible she is because she was there for a reason and those are the type of women who should be in consideration for a Bachelorette role.”
Listing her attributes, the former football player said, “I mean, she’s bold, she’s courageous and she stands up for what she believes in.”
Thurston’s Season Is Expected to Film in New Mexico
Production was initially supposed to start on season 17 of The Bachelorette in late February. However, the filming location had to move from Fairmont Jasper Park in Canada because of “updated quarantine restrictions,” according to Reality Steve.
Instead, he reported the new season will be filmed at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa near Albuquerque starting later this month.
The resort is “nestled on 550 acres of Native American Santa Ana Pueblo between the Sandia Mountains and the Rio Grande River,” according to their website. It boasts “350 guestrooms and suites” and amenities such as resort property, ski courses, hot air ballooning, stables, a golf club, pools and a spa.
The last season of The Bachelorette was filmed at the La Quinta Resort & Club and this season of The Bachelor was filmed at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.