Like everything else on television – and everything else not on television, really – The Bachelorette has been greatly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
A new season of the beloved ABC series was scheduled to debut on May 18, but there’s no chance of that happening at this point.
Not when production has been brought to a halt due to the aforementioned pandemic.
According to a new Variety report, however, producers are considering a number of options for bringing the show back earlier than expected.
For starters, the network could rent out a private resort for several weeks, during which newly-announced star Clare Crawley and her potential husbands could play out their dating competition in similar fashion to normal…
… just without the usual traveling to exotic locations and likely with less hugging.
And definitely no hand-shaking.
Could The Bachelorette actually air a season with basically no physical contact?
Would any suitors drop out if there was no chance to get into a Fantasy Suite with the gorgeous lead?
There’s already been talk of ABC replacing a bunch of previously-selected contestants because Crawley is 39 years old and the men chosen for her this spring are simply far too young.
Crawley, of course, was considered a surprise choice to anchor the upcoming season — whenever it airs.
She finished second years ago on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor and also appeared on multiple editions of Bachelor in Paradise.
The Bachelorette was about to head into production right when Covid-19 hit Hollywood and beyond.
And although the cast of contestants has been announced, sources told Variety filming on the new season had not begun yet, and that changes could still be made.
No matter what Chris Harrison and company decide, though, there’s almost no chance Season 16 gets underway until the fall.
"First and foremost, when we get back, we have to safely figure out how can we produce The Bachelorette," Harrison recently told Glamour, adding:
"When can we start shooting? It’s not like there’s going to be a day, say May 1, if the governor and president decides that we can all [resume work], and then boom, we have a television show.
"That’s not how it works. That just means we can go to work and start producing a television show."
Overall, Bachelor Nation will need to make do without their favorite scripted shows for awhile.
Added Harrison in this same interview:
“Months are going to go by before we can get something on the air, so we’re trying to look at two things: One, how can we immediately service everybody and create content?
"And two, how quickly can we go back to The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, The Bachelor and fit it all in?
"Unless it’s safe and unless we can do it right, there’s no chance we’re doing it at all.”