There was a time when it was going to be Caila Quinn, and not JoJo Fletcher, as the next Bachelorette. The reputable Us Weekly even wrote an article proclaiming Quinn as the next woman giving out roses, only to update the article when Chris Harrison announced during the After the Final Rose special of Ben Higgins’ season that it was Fletcher who would take the job.
Now, in an interview with TV Guide, Harrison says Fletcher was always the right choice. Although Quinn may have solved some of The Bachelorette‘s diversity problems — she is biracial — Harrison says the audience rallied around JoJo after she received a rough ride on The Bachelor. Higgins told both Fletcher and his winner, Lauren Bushnell, that he loved them — after promising JoJo he would never blindside her.
“All I can tell you is it was such a no-brainer to have JoJo as our Bachelorette. Caila’s wonderful, by the way. Love her to death. Maybe she would have been a great Bachelorette, but to me, the way Bachelor Nation, our fans, responded to JoJo last season, it really was just a no-brainer. There was no other choice but to go with JoJo.”
Harrison also said that network executives were continuing to have the conversation about diversity, not just on his show but overall.
Quinn seemed to hint she had The Bachelorette on her mind Monday night when Fletcher’s season premiered. She posted a shot on Instagram of a woman, perhaps Quinn herself, holding a bouquet of roses.
But if there were any hard feelings between Caila and JoJo, Quinn was hard-pressed to show them. She took to Twitter to support her fellow former Bachelor contestant.
She even posted a short clip of her own Bachelorette viewing party, where she was taking in the premiere night action from home with friends.
— Caila Quinn (@CailaQuinn) May 24, 2016
In a separate Us Weekly report from March, 2016, it was revealed Quinn did receive an offer to be the next Bachelorette, but eventually producers found Fletcher’s story of hurt to be more compelling.
Chris Harrison revealed on his blog for Yahoo that JoJo went straight from the After the Final Rose special taping to the Bachelorette mansion, restarting a similar experience to the journey she’d just been on with Higgins. She’d had time to recover between series tapings, however, and came back with a renewed attitude. Harrison emphasized again that Fletcher was the right choice of lead for The Bachelorette.
“I think we can all agree that after the heartbreaking finale for JoJo last season, no one deserved another shot at love more than her. And I think after watching our season premiere you feel like we made the right choice. JoJo is energetic, smart, emotionally available, and as ready for love as anyone could ever be.”
Harrison also took the time to emphasize that women have found love on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. He pointed to the three women who sat down with JoJo before she met her roster of suitors. Kaitlyn Bristowe is enjoying love with her season’s winner, Shawn Booth; Desiree Hartsock is married and expecting a baby; and Ali Fedotowsky is pregnant. Fedotowsky is no longer coupled with her Bachelorette winner, but according to Harrison, she “says her happiness today is directly attributed to what she learned as the Bachelorette.”
The longtime Bachelor and Bachelorette host also revealed that the man who broke Fletcher’s heart, Ben Higgins, has moved to Denver with his season’s winner, Lauren Bushnell.
The Bachelorette airs Monday nights on ABC.
[Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]