Could producers for The Bachelor actually change the lead for the show if there's enough fan backlash? The answer isn't no necessarily, but it's not an easy yes either. A casting change has been done before on The Bachelorette after all.
But why is this question even being asked? Bachelor Nation fans aren't exactly thrilled that Clayton Echard is the next Bachelor (even though the current Season 18 Bachelorette Michelle Young said Clayton was a "sweetheart"). However, changing Bachelors now doesn't seem quite feasible. Here's why.
Could the Bachelor be changed? Clayton’s season already has a release date.
Although ABC has yet to officially announce Clayton as the next Bachelor, the network has set an official release date for The Bachelor Season 26. The newest season will premiere on Jan. 3, 2022.
Reality Steve, who was the first to (unofficially) confirm that Clayton was the next Bachelor lead, has also been posting plenty of filming updates for Clayton’s season. As usual, Bachelor Nation’s resident spoiler sleuth has the deets on all aspects of Clayton's season, including where Clayton's hometown dates are being filmed.
If they’ve already filmed hometowns for 'The Bachelor' Season 26, there is no way they’re switching the lead.
When The Bachelorette pulled their first casting change, it was smack dab at the start of Clare Crawley’s season. Clare had fallen hard for Dale Moss and simply couldn't put her heart into the rest of the contestants on her season. The producers then brought in Tayshia Adams as Clare's replacement in a midseason switch that had everyone talking.
That casting change was feasible because it happened early on in Clare's season. If Clayton's season has already pretty much wrapped up filming, according to Reality Steve's reports, it wouldn't make any sense to switch the lead. Even though fans might not be happy with the prospect of Clayton being the Bachelor, it's not looking like Season 26 of The Bachelor will pull another Clare-Tayshia switch at this point.
Fans should give Clayton a chance.
Was Clayton the most exciting contestant on Michelle's season of The Bachelorette? Not exactly, but he did seem to be a genuinely nice guy (he also won over Michelle's students!). We get why Bachelor Nation fans were hoping for other fan-favorite contestants to be the next Bachelor. However, it's looking like fans can either give Clayton's season a chance or just wait it out for The Bachelor Season 27.
While we do think we need to give Clayton a chance, we also believe that The Bachelor and The Bachelorette shouldn't slack off on diversifying their leads. So far, there's only been one Black Bachelor lead (Matt James) and three Black Bachelorettes (Tayshia, Rachel Lindsay, and Michelle). Both Clare and Tayshia are also Latina, and Juan Pablo Galavis was the first Latino Bachelor. Peter Weber was the second.
But we've had 25 Bachelors before Clayton, and there have been 19 Bachelorettes. With 44 Bachelorettes and Bachelors, one would expect that there would be significantly more diversity, but even among contestants, diversity is scarce. And we still have yet to have an Asian Bachelor or Bachelorette at all. The show should reflect real life and give more contestants a chance to take the romantic reins as the show's lead.
Are you excited to see Clayton as the next Bachelor? If not, you can always catch Michelle's season of The Bachelorette, which airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.