This really has been one of the most dramatic seasons of The Bachelor, thanks to the myriad outside events have kept the series in the news. And the series' latest twist is no different. As revealed on the After the Final Rose special, there will be two Bachelorette seasons in 2021, with the first being led by Matt's former suitor Katie Thurston and the second one helmed by fellow contestant and season 25 runner-up Michelle Young.
This is a marked improvement over the sexist nightmare that was the "Double Bachelorette" season led by Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Nilsson in 2015. In that instance, the men spent the premiere voting on which woman they wanted to keep dating, pitting Kaitlyn and Britt against one another. Luckily, the powers that be have found a new definition for the term "Double Bachelorette." So, how will this brave new world work?
Why are there two Bachelorette seasons this year?
This time, the reason for two seasons is simple — producers liked both Katie and Michelle to lead, but Michelle would have hard a time leaving her teaching job to tape March through May, as the Bachelor spin-off generally does. Instead, her season will film later this year, when she's on a break from school.
Who's hosting The Bachelorette in 2021?
ABC recently announced that Chris Harrison will not return for the upcoming Bachelorette season, which is the season with Katie Thurston. The move comes after Harrison faced backlash for attempting to defend a contestant's racist actions during an interview with Rachel Lindsay on Extra. Harrison later apologized and announced that he would indefinitely step down. Co-hosting in his place are former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams.
As for Michelle's season, the hosting slot remains up in the air. Harrison said on Good Morning America that he wants to return to the franchise, and ABC only specified that his hosting duties would be covered for the upcoming Bachelorette season, not for the bonus second season. It's possible that he could return for Michelle's Bachelorette season, although him coming back to host the third ever Bachelorette season with a Black woman as the lead would be unwise, given the reason for his exit.
When does Katie's Bachelorette season premiere?
Now that the franchise is back to its regular schedule, fans can likely expect Katie's season to begin airing in mid-to-late May like previous seasons have done. Acho categorized the Bachelorette premiere as "coming this summer," so that could mean we're looking at a slight delay — or that he's using the movie studio's definition of a summer release, which starts in May.
When does Michelle's Bachelorette season premiere?
A second Bachelorette can easily fill the Bachelor Nation gap between the end of Bachelor in Paradise in September and the beginning of The Bachelor in January. Though there is the issue of ABC's other Monday night programming to contend with, so it's possible that we could be back on a Tuesday night schedule when it's Michelle's turn.
When and where is The Bachelorette being filmed?
Matt's season and Tayshia Adams' season took place in separate locations and that seems to be the plan again. According to Bachelor spoiler blogger Reality Steve, production on Katie's season is reportedly set to take place in New Mexico at the Hyatt Tamaya outside of Albuquerque. Like with previous Bachelorette seasons, Reality Steve said that filming is due to begin in late March — which lines up with the schedule outlined by Acho on ATFR.
Michelle's season will likely begin filming after Bachelor in Paradise wraps up this summer — provided that Paradise films as scheduled — allowing her to be away from her teaching job while school is out. Reality Steve reported as much, saying that production is likely due to begin in July. By then, perhaps the pandemic will be under control enough for the series to return to the Los Angeles-based Bachelorette mansion and perhaps even do some domestic traveling dates — if not international ones.
Who's in The Bachelorette's cast?
Reality Steve has already been posting about some of Katie's alleged contestants, but the official list isn't out just yet. In recent years, the show has announced the cast well ahead of time, which sometimes seems like an attempt to have the public do extra background checks on these men and their social media habits before they're officially cast.