‘The Bachelorette’: Why the Show May Need to Shoot Every Season Quarantined

This season of The Bachelorette is set to be different than any other for multiple reasons. Now, we know that Clare Crawley found love early on in the process and stopped filming. But even before she quit and production brought in Tayshia Adams, this go-round was already notable due to its filming location. This entire season had to be shot with the cast and crew in quarantine due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Chris Harrison and Clare Crawley
Chris Harrison and Clare Crawley | John Fleenor via Getty Images

What precautions did ‘The Bachelorette’ take?

When the pandemic first began causing shutdowns around the country, filming was pushed back. Eventually, production found a way to film safely. Instead of traveling around like they normally do, filming for the entire season took place at the La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs. Everyone had to be quarantined and tested before interacting with the other cast members. Even host Chris Harrison was subject to these rules. When he left the set to drop his son off at college, he was not allowed to go right back into filming. While he made sure he was COVID negative, former Bachelorette Jojo Fletcher stood in as host.

Why the quarantined season worked

The nature of The Bachelorette presents a number of obstacles for the lead in finding love. The show has become such a staple in pop culture that some people go on it just for the fame and the chance to travel for free. But with this quarantined version, at least the travel aspect could no longer be a draw.

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“It’s different in the best way possible, Chris,” Crawley told Chris Harrison on the Sep. 7 episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons — Ever! “I want somebody who is not excited about traveling to the wonderful locations, which is great and awesome to be able to go do those things, which I’ve done before. But this is more of what I’m looking for — just one-one-one connection or multiple connections. And just having the time to get to know each other way better and not having to focus on anything greater than that. It’s the most important thing.” 

Filming in quarantine actually made Crawley feel more assured about the process.

“It’s actually weirdly given me a sense of calmness,” she said. “I know … it’s crazy times in the world right now, but as I’m sitting here, there’s excitement, there’s possibility for the future, there’s so many positive things in my mind and in my heart right now. I’m not anxious at all about this time. I’m excited about this time, because I know… I have prepared so much for this moment. Meeting the man of my dreams, I could not be more ready for this.” 

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Why the show may continue quarantined seasons

Even before the pandemic, The Bachelor franchise was notorious for secluding the cast and taking them away from anything outside of the Bachelor world. In past seasons, contestants haven’t even been able to read books or listen to music. Keeping the contestants quarantined for future seasons would easily fit into The Bachelor’s model.

A major complaint that fans have had about the show is how little time the leads actually spend with the contestants. If they are all quarantined on the same resort, the chances that the lead will get to know their contestants better definitely increases. And of course, shooting in one location makes the show less appealing for people who would only apply to get some travel shots for their Instagrams. Going this route would also save production travel costs and minimize the chances of paparazzi obtaining photos during filming.