While anything is possible in 2021, it’s unlikely that ABC won’t air the remainder of the current season, despite the controversy surrounding the show’s host, Chris Harrison, and one of James’ frontrunners, Rachael Kirkconnell.
However, there could be some changes made on the editing floor over the next few weeks that will limit Harrison’s air time. In addition, there is a chance that the Women Tell All special — that was set to air next week — won’t actually air at all. According to The Sun, it’s an idea that’s being thrown around, especially since there really isn’t a way to edit Harrison out of the pre-taped show.
“They already filmed the ‘Women Tell All’ which Chris will be front and center of. There’s no way to remove him from that, he’s nearly the whole show. Some producers suggested to not air the special but ABC isn’t going for that right now,” a source told the outlet.
If the Women Tell All special does not air, that suggests that James’ season will end earlier than anticipated. The overnight dates may be moved up to next week, cutting the season short by at least one week.
“Producers are currently working with editors to reduce the amount of screen time Chris has for the already-filmed episodes from the remainder of Matt’s season,” the source also told The Sun.
With the suggested editing of the remainder of the season, it’s entirely possible that the season could end even sooner.
Here’s what you need to know:
Chris Harrison ‘Stepping Aside’ Leaves ‘After the Final Rose’ in Limbo
Chris Harrison has been the host of the Bachelor franchise shows since the very beginning, taking on the role in 1993. Many fans of the show consider Harrison a staple, and hope that he is able to return to his hosting duties after his decision to take time away following some comments that many fans found insensitive to people of color.
However, there is still a call-to-action resting on the shoulders of producers; many fans and even members of Bachelor Nation feel that it’s time for a change.
“Let me speak direct — should the individual be removed from The Bachelor franchise? I think it’s time for that. Should that individual be removed completely? No, because I think that individual has such a beautiful platform, it’s such a beautiful privilege that we have to use it for good,” former Bachelorette contender Mike Johnson recently told Rachel Lindsay during an interview.
Without a host, it may be challenging for production to carry on — especially when it comes to the After the Final Rose special. The crew will need to work diligently to secure a replacement for Harrison. Moreover, the chosen person will need to undergo COVID-19 protocol to ensure a safe environment for those who attend.
So far, there has not been an announcement made on how things will proceed — or if they will. It’s possible that ATFR will be canceled, making it the second season in a row to not feature the special episode.
It’s Unclear if Chris Harrison Will Return to the Franchise After His Time Away
Chris Harrison’s future within the Bachelor franchise is unclear. There have been some rumors that the next season of The Bachelorette will be delayed or altogether canceled if producers decide to cast a new host. There has also been some speculation on who might be chosen to replace Harrison.
However, at the time of this writing, there has not been a statement released by ABC or the show’s creator, Mike Fleiss.
“…we don’t even know if there WILL be a ‘Bachelorette’ season. Maybe they delay it past BIP. There are so many questions right now, and unfortunately, I know you all want answers, but we just don’t have them all at this time,” Reality Steve wrote in his February 16 blog post.
“I don’t think anyone knows right now really what the hell is happening. We just don’t know. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if the season got pushed back a bit. It’s probably unlikely, but if it does film, the whole aspect of who’s hosting it becomes a big question. And I think ABC will have to answer to rather shortly. If ‘Bachelorette’ does film as scheduled, filming would start in about a month. That may seem like plenty of time, but that’s if everything was running smooth in the franchise. Which it isn’t. At all,” he added.
Harrison has not posted to Instagram since announcing his decision to step away from the franchise.
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