‘The Bachelorette’: 2 Leads in a Season Is More Common Than You Think

Usually, on The Bachelorette and other franchise shows, there is one lead who simultaneously dates several people. Of course, on Bachelor in Paradise and The Bachelor Winter Games, many prior contestants date amongst each other. But for ABC’s main dating shows, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, it sticks to one main person dating many. However — the network has switched up that format before. With Reality Steve’s latest prediction that there will be two leads this season on The Bachelorette, it begs the question — have there been two leads before?

[Spoiler alert: This article spoils the last episode of The Bachelor.]

Chris Harrison appears on Season 16 of 'The Bachelorette'
Chris Harrison | Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images

Reality Steve spoiled there will be two leads of ‘The Bachelorette’

Reality Steve dropped a major bombshell on March 10 when he announced that Katie Thurston and Michelle Young will both be leads of The Bachelorette. He shared on his website RealitySteve.com that Katie’s season will begin filming in the next few weeks. Then, after that, Bachelor in Paradise will film during its usual production slot.

The big twist, though, was that Reality Steve said that Michelle will film her own season of The Bachelorette in July and ABC will air it this fall. Her season will be completely independent of Katie’s. Reality Steve explained that she didn’t want to miss teaching her students during the school year, which explained the additional season of the show.

This will be the first time in The Bachelorette history that two distinct and separate seasons will appear back-to-back before a season of The Bachelor. But have there been two leads of The Bachelorette before?

The first time this happened was with Kaitlyn Bristowe as the lead

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The Bachelorette introduced the two-lead twist on the show in 2015. Both Kaitlyn Bristowe and Britt Byrne (née Nilsson) were fan-favorites on Chris Soules’ season of The Bachelor. ABC decided to give them both a shot at being the lead. But the twist, unfortunately, let the male contestants choose the lead after the first night of the show.

The men decided they preferred Bristowe as the person they wanted to date. Many people critiqued the way the show handled this. Byrne left the show, and temporarily dated contestant Brady Toops who left with her. She married Jeremy Byrne two years after the show.

Bristowe left The Bachelorette engaged to Shawn Booth. The pair were together for a few years, before breaking up in 2018. She’s now with Jason Tartick, who was a contestant on Becca Kufrin’s season of The Bachelorette.

There were two leads during Clare Crawley’s season too in 2020

The franchise kept to one lead of The Bachelorette for the next few years. But in 2020, when Clare Crawley decided to leave the show with Dale Moss, The Bachelorette needed another lead. Enter: Tayshia Adams, who finished third on Colton Underwood’s season of The Bachelor. Fans loved Adams on both The Bachelor and her appearance on Bachelor in Paradise, in which she dated John Paul Jones AKA “JPJ.”

Adams joined the show, continuing the season with the men Crawley dumped. ABC brought on a few additional men for Adams, too. She fell in love with Zac Clark, a New Yorker who provided her with a strong sense of stability. The two got engaged at the end of the show.

ABC has yet to introduce two standalone seasons of The Bachelorette with completely different casts of men. It certainly will be a fresh spin on the typical itinerary of bachelor shows throughout the calendar year.

For now, we’re excited to see how this two-lead, two-bachelorette thing pans out.