“The Bachelorette” is heading back into production, Variety has learned exclusively.
While no exact start date set, the ABC reality dating show will be revving up imminently — with heavy-duty safety precautions placed on the production, due to concerns surrounding coronavirus.
“The Bachelorette” will mark the first major show to head back into production in the United States, following the industry-wide shutdown due to the pandemic.
Warner Horizon Unscripted confirms to Variety that the studio is preparing to begin production on “The Bachelorette” soon, and that the cast will begin traveling to an isolated location for the duration of production for health and safety reasons.
The entire season will be shot in a quarantined location with all cast and crew members living on-site. Everyone will be tested before they enter the location, and regular testing and temperature checks are expected. The protocols being put in place are said to be very strict and conservative.
“The cast will start traveling very soon because there has to be a quarantine period,” a person familiar with production explains.
The studio declined to offer any other details, including the location and start date. A source says the season will shoot in a private area in Southern California, but not in Los Angeles county.
An exact premiere date has not been set by ABC, but the network previously revealed that “Bachelorette” would air on Tuesdays this fall at 8 p.m.
Sources close to the show say that negotiations with unions to re-start production are still ongoing, along with other productions looking to get back to business after the COVID-19 shut-down. Unions are approving individual productions restarting on a one-by-one basis, and discussions are moving quickly enough that the team behind “Bachelorette” wanted to be ready for when they are given the greenlight.
Since “Bachelorette” has the ability to quarantine the entire cast and crew in an isolated location — unlike many scripted series that shoot on soundstage on studio lots — producers believe that risk is limited. The safety precautions put in place will be more vigorous than most other productions, just given the nature of the show.
“We obviously can’t shoot a dating show with people in close quarters where people aren’t cleared and we know everything is safe,” an insider says. “It will be a super safe paradise for everyone to shoot the show.”
No visitors will be allowed and no members of the press will be invited to set, effectively creating a bubble around “The Bachelorette” production.
“Health and safety of our crew and cast is the number one concern,” an insider explains, adding that there is always an on-set medic on “The Bachelor” franchise, even before the pandemic. “There is always robust care for our team, and that will be the case as they isolate and shoot the show. Production is going above-and-beyond the recommendations.”
Production on the show was halted in mid-March, right as shooting was set to begin. No major scenes were shot, other than a few moments with leading lady Clare Crawley. The production shut-down allowed time for re-casting, so some of Crawley’s originally-announced contestants have been removed, and new suits have been added. (Matt James, who was initially cast as a contestant for Crawley’s season, was selected as ABC’s first-ever Black “Bachelor,” and his season is expected to air in Jan. 2021.)