Season 26 of The Bachelor is about to start filming (like, Tuesday, reportedly), and the new season is set to look a lot more like the pre-pandemic Bachelor franchise than we've seen in a while.
For one, ABC was spotted what appeared to be promo spots for the season in rumored Bachelor Clayton Echard's hometown of Eureka, Missouri:
(VIDEO): New Bachelor Clayton Echard, being introduced today to the fans in his hometown of Eureka, MO. pic.twitter.com/dUxoAz0mi6
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) September 16, 2021
Speaking of hometowns, Reality Steve previously confirmed that regular hometown dates are making a comeback in Michelle Young's upcoming Bachelorette season, so we can assume that (barring changes to safety and public health related to the pandemic) the same is likely true for Clayton's season.
While most of the big changes to the Bachelor and Bachelorette's tried and true formats recently can be attributed to the pandemic, there's also the matter of the franchise's vacant hosting gig to deal with (we have a whole explainer on Chris Harrison's exit from Bachelor Nation and the controversy that led up to it, in case you need a primer/refresher on what led to the host-shaped hole in the series).
On Friday afternoon, Reality Steve offered a bit of an update on Clayton's upcoming season, including the fact that it's set to start filming in the Bachelor mansion very soon and that his little birds tell him that ABC is looking for a permanent, solo host to take the helm. In news that might break some Bachelor Nation hearts, however, Reality Steve says he's hearing that the show's new permanent, solo host is *not* going to be fan favorite Wells Adams.
(BACHELOR FILMING UPDATE): Clayton’s season begins filming on Tuesday night at the mansion.
Also, I don’t know who the new host is yet but I’m hearing now that’s it’s NOT Wells. As reported last month, they are looking for a new, permanent, solo host.
— RealitySteve (@RealitySteve) September 24, 2021
Since the end of his own eligible bachelor status (he's happily engaged to actress Sarah Hyland), Wells has remained involved in the franchise as the official bartender on Bachelor in Paradise. Many fans have long seen that gig as something of an apprenticeship intended to groom Wells to take over as host if the job ever opened up, a theory that was bolstered this summer when Wells was promoted to "Master of Ceremonies" on BiP.
Earlier this month, Wells even confirmed that he would be open to taking on permanent hosting duties during an interview with an ABC News affiliate.
"Whatever they want me to do, I’m ready to do it! I’m not sure what the next step is, but whatever ABC and Bachelor Nation wants, I’ll go do it," Wells said when asked about his interest in the job. "If they want me to host the show, sure, I’ll go do that. If they want me to be the janitor next season, okay, I’ll go do that too. Whatever you guys want."
If Reality Steve's intel is accurate, well, it's basically just this GIF on a loop for the Wells Adams for Bachelor Host Committee:
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