The Bachelorette will be back the very "first minute" it's possible, says Robert Mills, head of ABC's alternative programming.
Amid the sudden shutdown of Clare Crawley's season last month, the network executive said producers are scrambling to come up with a plan for how The Bachelorette will work in today's world.
In a new interview with the Chicks in the Office podcast, Mills confirmed that producers are hot to get some form of the rose-filled reality show on the air pronto.
"We talk about it every day," Mills said. "Obviously, it's super important. Look, I'll be honest: We will do it as soon as it's safe. We want to get it on the first minute we possibly can....We will figure out how to get some version that reflects the world we're in as quickly as possible."
Mills confirmed that there are multiple discussions currently taking place. Contestants will have to be tested for any health issues, and once a batch of healthy suitors is in place, the show's logistics will come into play.
There have been rumors that a one-location resort may be used for safety reasons for Clare's season of the show. The ABC boss did not confirm if the new Bachelorette season will include travel around the world and he said the format of the show could change "daily."
While Mills admitted a new season of Bachelor in Paradise could possibly come earlier than The Bachelorette — the summertime show is populated with castoffs from previous seasons of the ABC franchise, so casting calls aren't needed — he reiterated that the world needs new Bachelorette content.
"We definitely want to get Bachelorette in the can because we announced Clare, everyone's excited for it, there are all these plans for it, but that might take longer to logistically figure out," Mills said. "It will be tough, but we will definitely figure it out because we all need this—badly."
Mills also noted that ABC wants to keep the next cycle of The Bachelor on schedule for January 2021, which could affect the production schedule for Clare's Bachelorette season.While Clare is making headlines for being the oldest-ever Bachelorette star and for her casting as ABC's lead six years after she was the runner-up on Juan Pablo Galavais' season of The Bachelor, Mills admitted producers considered several other women for the coveted role, including girls from Peter Weber and Colton Underwood's seasons, as well as Bachelor in Paradise fan favorite Tia Booth.
As for her suitors, Clare was originally supposed to meet her 32 men – ranging in age from 23 to 42, with an average age of 29 – at The Bachelor mansion last month, on the same day that the show's production was put on hold. Clare later told Entertainment Tonight that the unexpected production delay meant new, older guys could be cast for her season.
Last week, Bachelorette host Chris Harrison promised that every precaution would be taken when the new season of The Bachelorette begins filming. Harrison even mused that Clare might have to walk around with a thermometer before going on her dream dates.