‘The Bachelorette’ Executive Reveals All the Details Behind Tayshia & Clare’s Dramatic Season
SPOILER ALERT: Don't read if you haven't seen The Bachelorette's season finale starring Tayshia Adams on December 22nd.
After the most dramatic season in "The Bachelor" history, "Bachelorette" Tayshia Adams reached her happy ending in one of the most conventional finals in recent years.
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From Arie Luyendyk Jr. to Peter Weber to Hannah Brown in the last few seasons of "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" couples broke up, changed their minds and switched to another candidate - all in the months between filming and Airtime.
But Adams - who replaced original star Clare Crawley mid-season - has found a seemingly true television love affair with one of her suitors, Zac Clark. His proposal in the finals marked the culmination of a season that survived an unprecedented casting shake, production stoppage, and shooting in a roped bladder due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"You are engaged and incredibly happy," said Rob Mills, senior vice president of alternative series, specials, and late-night programming for ABC Ent., Of Adams and Clark.
Clark, an addiction specialist, had one of the most vulnerable moments this season when he read up on his previous struggles with substance abuse and told Adams that he hit rock bottom on one of their dates. After spending some time in rehab, Clark has now lived his life to the fullest and has focused his career on helping others recover.
Typically, viewers can catch up with the new couple during “After the Final Rose,” which airs after the final. This year, hosts Chris Harrison should have sat down with two couples - Adams and Clark and Crawley and Dale Moss, the contestant she left the season for and who she got engaged to after just a few weeks. This year, however, that hour was suspended due to COVID-19 manufacturing complications.
"As wonderful as it is to have these happy couples, we didn't really need Chris to sit and immerse ourselves. We can all now follow them on Instagram. Everyone is fine," says Mills.
Mills also told Variety that "After the Final Rose" appeared to be an unnecessary burden on the production team, who had bent over backwards during the pandemic to safely produce their shows. (As the first major US show to resume projection earlier this year during the pandemic, the producers were quarantined by their families for three months to "Bachelorette" in 125 degrees heat at the nearby La Quinta Resort & Club of Palm Springs, Calif. He then went straight to a Pennsylvania resort to direct Matt James' season of "Bachelor," which was again removed from their homes.)
"They really needed a break," says Mills, praising all producers and crew members. "So, on December 22nd, to say," Let's go live for "After the Final Rose," it just didn't make sense. We don't really need one. "
Here Mills talks to Variety about all the details behind the scenes of the 16th season of "The Bachelorette" and gives James a preview of the new season of "The Bachelor".
Despite all the bumps in the Clake and Tayshia casting shakeup, do you feel like the season worked out?
I do. I think it is awesome. We look at each season and see what we've learned from the last and what we can do better in the next. One thing we talked to Peter [Weber] about last season was that the cast is too young. I think that Clare, who was a little bit older, and Tayshia, who was a bit older and had life experience, led to a really great, unforgettable season with really unforgettable dates and conversations. One thing I kept hearing is how amazing these guys were. And we had two really happy couples.
Little did you know when you cast Clare that you would eventually bring in Tayshia as a replacement. Do you think the season has been improved with the move?
You couldn't get two better leads with Clare and Tayshia. When both were announced at different times, we had such an enthusiastic response, which I think is due to the fact that they are among the most popular people in Bachelor's history. You saw both "[Bachelor In] Paradise" in a more casual setting so it feels like you know her. The level of investment we all had for Clare and Tayshia was so much higher than in their respective seasons of The Bachelor.
The season was a bit chaotic, but the finale was right in the middle, unlike some seasons recently which ended very messy. And now you have a good track record with not one but two lucky couples from Season 16.
You can't force it, but you need it because otherwise it will look like the show is just a train wreck. We pride ourselves on the marriages and babies that have emerged from it.
Both Clare and Tayshia got engaged and seem pretty happy in their relationships months after filming is complete. Do you think the pandemic has anything to do with it? Many studies show that in these isolating times, people are more likely to want to find their life partner.
Much of it was timing. It's safe to say that the pandemic changed everything. For Clare, she spent all the time thinking about these guys, and then she met Dale and she knew it right away. There was plenty of time to think through quarantine. And for the guys, you had to really want to be there - the very fact that we announced Matt James meant you weren't there to be "The Bachelor" or to get 15 stamps on your passport [with travel restrictions]. You were there to fall in love
Since you broached it, there have been a lot of tabloid rumors that Clare and Dale spoke to each other before filming began. Can you clear these rumors once and for all: Were Clare and Dale in communication before the season started?
She researched Dale like everyone else - and anyone who says they don't research people is a liar. One of the reasons this show works is because it's relatable, and that's exactly what people do in the real world. You look at people. Clare didn't do anything that no other human would have done. But apart from that, absolutely not.
Some people on Twitter said throughout the season that it was unfair for Tayshia to date people who were busy for Clare, like sloppy seconds. Do you think that is unfair?
Ultimately, you are looking for a person. If anyone has the right to say it's not fair it would be Tayshia, and I think she would say it's more than fair because she found her man. I think it was okay. If people think it was unfair that we kept Clare's boys, I'm sorry, but the only person I care about who thinks whether it's fair or not is Tayshia - and she's happy.
Would it have been unfair to the guys if Clare had stayed on the show all season? Because a lot of people on Twitter thought it was very unfair in those early episodes.
At the very beginning the boys began to see that Clare was so into Dale that it was really difficult for them. It always felt like Clare focused on Dale very early on, and to Clare's credit, the fact that she said she wanted to end it because it was Dale or nothing was really great because she had the easy movements can go through, but she didn't. t. It allowed the boys not to get too far with Clare.
This was the first major US series to go into production during the coronavirus shutdown. What would you have done differently this season if you could have done something different?
The season was wonderful. There was really nothing we could have done differently. Health and safety was priority # 1. In September we could have been tempted because things seemed to be getting better, but everyone on the production line was strict enough to ensure that not one person could test positive.
What did you learn from that quarantine season that you brought with you on Matt's season of "The Bachelor"?
Production found a way to expand, and we've learned to make it even bigger for Matt's season. At [the resort where The Bachelor was filmed], you could do bigger dates like skydiving and car racing - things that feel bigger. This was a smaller footprint [where "The Bachelorette" was filming] but I wouldn't have made a larger footprint because that would have bitten off more than we could chew with the pandemic.
This season's conversations looked at more serious topics like addiction, mental health, and race. Do you think the fact that the cast was limited to one room allowed them to focus more on learning from one another? In other words, was this season more like real life than a TV show?
By focusing on the human aspect of the data, more conversations resulted in better storylines. I think sometimes you can hide behind the glamor of a big date or a trip.
Was that creatively a silver lining in the pandemic restrictions that will carry you forward into future seasons?
I think there were more emotions that we are transferred even if we can get out of the bubbles.
The subject of conversations during the dates was more impactful than any other time of year - from Ben, who revealed he made two suicide attempts, to Zac, who revealed he was in rehab for addiction. How did such topics come about?
When you have people with these stories it always comes out, but I think it was a combination of many things. One of the things that really helped is the fact that you have people who were a little older. You did talk to Ben about mental health and he had a full career in the army. These aren't people who just graduated from college. These people have real life experiences. I also think it was a result of this whole year - 2020 made everyone think about things they hadn't thought about before the pandemic. And there was no jet lag or travel exhaustion for the cast, so there was time to really think and reflect.
It also seems to be a sign of the times - people are much more open about their sanity these days because it's less stigmatized. But that's an interesting point in terms of casting and aging compared to previous seasons.
You might not have a big story to tell, but at 33 you have more to say than at 23, and I think that made a lot of difference.
One of the most important moments of the season is when Tayshia and Ivan were talking about Black Lives Matters during their date. Do you think the footage would have been shot in one season years ago? I'm not signaling a "The Bachelor" franchise, but it seems like we didn't see this type of entertainment on any reality dating show five to 10 years ago.
It feels like you've never seen this on TV before. However, I have a hard time finding a conversation that we could not have had [in the past]. It wasn't like we had those conversations and never aired them, so I don't know we were ever one to shy away from it. This is more interesting than someone talking about something that doesn't feel momentous. It's only exciting from a TV perspective. It's good television.
The conversation felt very organic and very timely. How did this discussion come about?
I think it's the world we live in. And certainly not to pat us on the back in any way, but it was great that the cast was so much more diverse. That sure helps. If you have a conversation about Black Lives Matter, it will be between Ivan and Tayshia. It would have been hard for her to have that date and not talk about it - it's what is going on in the world. We shot this in late July or early August so it was very fresh.
Matt James is the first black star of "The Bachelor," and he's also brand new to Bachelor Nation as he has never appeared in any other season of the franchise. What can you tell me about him
He's really great. It's great to have a man we've never seen before. He is very sincere. He is very thoughtful. At the beginning he admits that he has never been in love. And the girls in his season are just fantastic.
In the Tayshia season, hometown dates were inside the cordoned-off bubble on the spot. Is hometown data done the same pandemic-proof way during Matt's season?
We really loved how the hometowns went this season. It was very interesting. It's wonderful to see where people grew up and where they lived, but these hometowns were great and there was just no reason to change that. Safety is so important here.
This season it seems like it took a little longer to get to know the guys and see a real connection with Tayshia, but as a viewer, I felt like Zac and Tayshia were really connected with the wrong taxi during his hometown date in New York City . It was really cute and it felt like a nice switch to the hometown formats.
It was so much fun. Although I've never seen anyone hail a taxi like this.
Yeah, it was like making fun of a 1950s black and white movie in New York.
I agree. [Laughs]
And if we get specific here, nobody in New York can ever get a bagel with blueberries. Maybe that's an LA thing.
Yes, it looked like a frozen yogurt shop. [Laughs]
Right, no bagel store in New York would ever have toppings like this. That being said, I thought Zac's hometown date was real when you saw them bond and he could be the winner.
Zac lives everything fully. When he found out that his parents were coming, he started crying. Zac says his last name a lot - I think he's really proud of himself and his family. He's come really far and gone through a lot of trouble. So it was nice to see that Zac was just having a little fun that day. There you saw this couple and saw that they should be with each other. They could see that in their marriage they will have so much fun together.
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