Chris Harrison on Clare Crawley and Tayshia Adams ‘Bachelorette’ Rumors, Recasting & More (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Much has been said about what exactly went down in the Bachelorette bubble -- and Chris Harrison has offered some clarity ahead of Tuesday's highly-anticipated season premiere. In a recent interview with ET's Lauren Zima, the Bachelor franchise host broke down all the rumors circulating about the upcoming "pressure cooker" of a season.
ET learned on Aug. 3 that Clare Crawley's time as the Bachelorette had come to an end roughly two weeks into filming, after she fell for one of her men. Tayshia Adams was brought in as a new lead. Though ABC and Warner Bros. haven't commented on the switch, Harrison's answer might just be enough to hold you over until the season premiere next month.
Find out what Harrison had to say about Crawley, Adams, that mysterious activity on Crawley's Twitter account, recasting the season and more.
On Clare Finding Love:
Harrison confirmed that Crawley isn't "wasting time" this season. A source told ET in August that Crawley ended her journey early on good terms with producers, but fans would have to wait to see how everything played out until the show debuted in October.
"She came into this unbelievably sincere and serious about finding love, finding a man, and it really wasn't about the pomp and circumstance for her. It wasn't about all the pageantry. It was about coming in and finding somebody, and I really respect the fact that this woman knows exactly what she wants and she is not afraid to go get it," Harrison said.
On Whether Clare Contacted Any Men Before Filming:
A big question among fans is how Crawley fell for a man so soon after filming began -- unless, of course, she was talking to any of them before "night one." Before heading to La Quinta Resort & Club to start filming in July, Crawley had admitted to looking up some of her guys on social media. In a normal season, she would have surrendered her phone before the cast was announced, but since production was shut down for four months amid the coronavirus pandemic, Crawley and her original cast were all sent home, with their phones returned to them.
"She definitely took a peek," Harrison said. "But we also had the opportunity to continue to cast her show. So coming in to night one, she really didn't know who was going to be there."
Whether Crawley DMed any of those men wasn't a consideration for Harrison. "She admitted to me that she started looking through and getting an idea of what these guys stood for who they were -- not a terrible idea, and maybe that's something we incorporate into the future of this show,'" Harrison offered. The host also noted that this season especially "there are no rules."
Producers like the element of surprise, but getting to know someone ahead of time might be beneficial to the leads -- and fans will find out exactly how much Crawley knew her men when the show premieres.
"Did Clare have contact? You will definitely find out once the show starts. We definitely have those conversations, for sure," Harrison said.
On That Mysterious Social Media Activity on Clare's Account:
Fans' interest was piqued after Crawley appeared to return to social media on Aug. 2, and with her account liking a tweet about fan-favorite Adams becoming the Bachelorette. Crawley's account unliked the tweet shortly after 8 a.m. PT the next morning.
"I can for sure 100% tell you that was not Clare, she did not have her phone," Harrison said. "I know this because I was with her and I know the person that was with her, and she definitely did not have her phone ,because I know where her phone was. So, I know it wasn't her, for a fact."
On Tayshia Adams Stepping In:
The activity on Crawley's social media coincided with silence on Adams' accounts. The Bachelor in Paradise alum has also since been spotted on set... so at this point, it's pretty clear she's also the Bachelorette, right? Not so fast, Harrison teased.
"We saw a lot of people on set. Becca [Kufrin] and JoJo [Fletcher] and Wells [Adams] was on set. I don't think the's going to be the Bachelorette or Bachelor," he said. "We brought a lot of friends in to help us out this season."
"Clare is the Bachelorette," Harrison insisted. But he also noted Adams is "not not the Bachelorette."
"I in all seriousness, Tayshia is a very good friend of mine. I absolutely love and adore this woman, and I would love for her to have that opportunity to be the Bachelorette, should that ever arise. She would be a great candidate," he added. "She always was. She was on the top of our list from the start."
On The Other Visitors This Season:
As Harrison mentioned, several Bachelor alums were spotted on set this season, including Fletcher, who stepped in to host briefly. Harrison left set for a few days for a pre-planned trip to Texas, to drop off his son, Joshua, at college.
"I did step away. And I will just say a very good friend that I reached out to was nice enough to come in and help out just a little bit," Harrison confirmed. "You'll see for how long once the show starts, but clearly it's something that I had a hand in and was aware of the entire time."
On the New Cast:
The new faces fans will see this season were also new to production -- at least some of them. The show recasted some of Crawley's men after production had shut down, accounting for both scheduling conflicts and compatibility.
"We went back to the chalk board and back to the drawing board and decided, 'Hey, let's really make an effort to find some guys that are more in line with where Clare is in her life,'" Harrison said. "It wasn't that we didn't respect Clare from the beginning, people have to understand how this works and the timing of all this. We can only do so much and still keep on our production calendar."
The 31 guys they ended up with are "phenomenal," he added. Plus "multiple bad boys."
"This is a phenomenal, great, diverse group of guys -- and I don't mean just racially diverse. I just mean from all across the country, all different ages, some older than Clare, some younger than Clare," Harrison shared.
"I don't know if I've ever been so impressed with a group of men," he added. "I think you're going to have some real superstars come out of this season. And Clare, honestly, is a lucky woman. She had an embarrassment of riches as far as this group of guys go."
Harrison also dished on some of Crawley's men; her full cast was revealed Sept. 29.
"Yosef is definitely someone who wears his heart on his sleeve," Harrison said of which men to watch. "He's not afraid to express how he's feelings, and it could be to anybody, including Clare. So, Yosef is definitely somebody as far as drama goes -- you definitely want to keep an eye on. ... Blake Moines who's 29, he's from Canada, and is someone who's gonna be in the thick of things and stir things up."
A contestant named Bennett gives off Kalon vibes, Harrison said, referring to the contestant on Emily Maynard's season who showed up in a helicopter. "Bennett's a character, but also a character you have to be careful not to judge a book by its cover because there's also some debt there," he said.
"Then Dale is someone a former football player -- I'll admit it, stunningly handsome," the host added. "He's tall, handsome, the eyes ... someone who immediately captures Clare's attention."
"Damar is another guy. He's a spin cycle instructor, and maybe the best hype guy you'll ever meet," Harrison shared.
On Building a 'Bubble' to Film the Show:
As Harrison explains, The Bachelorette was one of the first large-scale reality shows to return to production amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was a Herculean task by an amazing team and god bless them all. I don't think there's another team in television that could have pulled this off," he praised. "I can't give enough credit to the team and the crew that made this happen, but with that said, once we were in the bubble, it was a very interesting and different way to shoot the show."
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, there was no traveling this season. All dates were filmed at La Quinta, with producers coming up with "some amazingly creative ideas of how to reimagine the same space over and over."
"What we really learned was at the end of the day, it is about the stories. It's about the romance. It's about Clare going on this journey these guys coming in... they were kind of entering the unknown," Harrison said, describing the season as a "pressure cooker."
"It made things very intense," Harrison noted.
Fans have already seen a tease of that intensity, as a recent promo showed Harrison telling Crawley that she just "blew up" the season. See more in the video below.
The Bachelorette premieres Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.