How the pandemic changed how they film The Bachelorette

When COVID-19 emerged in early 2020, the virus drastically changed our day-to-day lives, including the world of pop culture. From our entertainment (with sports games and other major events being canceled) to the way celebs stay in the spotlight, things shifted within a matter of weeks. Hollywood stars began increasingly giving their fans glimpses of their home lives (which wasn’t too hard, considering everyone was quarantined at home for a stretch of months), and some even caused controversies with their take on the virus, among other things. 

So amid all these changes, it comes as no surprise that the pandemic also impacted production of some of our favorite shows. For example, in Dancing With the Stars, the live audience has been replaced with lights and LED screens, according to Variety. CBS’ Love Island USA improvised and filmed the entire season in a quarantine bubble at the Las Vegas hotel, scrapping plans to travel to Fiji. Overall, despite the various challenges posed by COVID-19 and social distancing, production teams are finding creative workarounds.

And that’s no different for one of our other favorites, The Bachelorette, which premiered on Oct. 13, 2020 with Clare Crawley as the lead. 

Testing allowed the 'Bachelorette' cast to continue 'kissing and hugging'

According to Variety, although the show was paused in March 2020, The Bachelorette continued filming in a single spot instead of filming in the show’s various hallmark romantic destinations. And the deal wasn’t too bad either. After Warner Brothers and The Walt Disney Company signed off on a new location, the show rented out a beautiful resort near Palm Springs reserved completely for the cast and crew of The Bachelorette, who stayed there during the filming process.

Not only was the cast and crew restricted to the resort (which, let’s be real, we’d all rather be quarantined at a resort than our living room couches), but they also had to get regular nasal swab testing and wash their hands. The crew, at least, stayed socially distanced. But the cast was a whole different ball game. “Everyone was tested so they could do everything they’d do on a normal season, like kissing and hugging and everything else,” ABC’s top unscripted executive Rob Mills joked, saying that part is “not socially distanced in any way, shape or form.”

The shoot took approximately three months, which Mills admitted was “tough.” But the altered filming process clearly worked, because the show is expected to take the same precautions for the upcoming filming of Matt James’ season of The Bachelor, which will be aired in 2021. Based on The Bachelorette‘s season premiere, we can tell it’s going to be another wild ride of a season

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