The Bachelor franchise has undergone something of a renaissance over these last several years, as the intermingling of tabloid culture, social media, influencer clout, and podcasting has managed to keep the dating series a part of the cultural conversation even when it’s not airing.
As such, ABC has sought to expand the brand with a slew of spin-offs, several of which were set to launch within the next year. But while the music-themed Listen To Your Heart managed to finish filming ahead of quarantine, others weren’t so lucky. The Bachelor: Summer Games—a spin-off of 2018's Winter Games—was axed after the Olympics were postponed, Bachelor In Paradise is a no-go, and lord knows what’s happening with that dating show for seniors ABC teased back in February. The Bachelorette, meanwhile, was put on indefinite hold just days before it was set to begin filming with franchise alum Clare Crawley.
Faced with few options, the show’s producers are tossing their surplus of fake roses in the wind, shrugging, and strolling, Charlie Brown-like, into the editing bay. There, Deadline reports, they’re Frankensteining together a 10-episode retrospective awkwardly titled, The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable–Ever!. The gaps in ABC’s schedule, as cavernous as the voids in the contestants’ hearts, will be filled not with the stabbing tongues and damp cheeks we’ve come to love, but rather “the rose ceremonies, proposals, meltdowns, breakups and unexpected new arrivals” of seasons past. Host Chris Harrison will also spearhead “virtual catch-ups” with former cast members, the likes of whom will be no doubt be glad to gab about their new careers shilling detox teas and baby detergents on Instagram.
“The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable – Ever! is a love letter to our fans who have been with us through some of the most heartwarming, heartbreaking and unexpected moments throughout Bachelor history,” Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment, said in a statement. “We can’t wait for Bachelor Nation to fall in love all over again as we take this wild journey down memory lane.”
(Please, please, please play that clip of Brad Womack introducing “THE BAND TRAIN” they used to play on The Soup but somehow doesn’t exist online anymore.)
Variety also has an update about the future of Crawley’s season, writing that ABC is “tentatively aiming to head into production sometime this summer.” The plan is for it all to be filmed in one large location, with all contestants and crew members tested prior to entering the private venue. For the duration of shooting, they’ll be quarantined onsite. The things we do for love!
“We’ve looked at everything — are travel restrictions going to ease up? And it just doesn’t look like anything is changing anytime soon, and what we would rather do is start getting the season underway, sooner rather than later,” says ABC reality chief Rob Mills. “As of right now, the plan is to get a great location that has a ton of space where everybody could safely be together and we can still have great dates that still feel big and romantic, and we would shoot the entire season there.”
The Bachelor: The Most Unforgettable – Ever! kicks off on Monday, June 8 with a (squints) three-hour premiere.