By James Hibberd
Updated July 02, 2012 at 05:52 PM EDT
Credit: Gary Neal/Startraks feed for EW

ABC is making changes to its Bachelorette finale format this summer.

For the first time in seven years, ABC’s The Bachelorette will go live for its annual After the Final Rose post-finale special. Plus, for the first time ever, the network is moving the finale to a different night of the week. ABC will air the Bachelorette finale Sunday, July 22, from 8 to 10 p.m., with a live AFR special at 10 p.m.

Doing AFR live will help prevent any spoilers about who Emily chooses — if she chooses anyone — from leaking out.

But why air the finale on Sunday?

Well, perhaps the network simply wants to effectively promote the return of Bachelor Pad, which gets underway on Monday the 23rd. (Check out the cast here). Or maaaaybe, the scheduling could have something to do with stomping counter-programming the 90-minute debut of CBS’ new summer dating show 3, which chronicles the lives of three very different single women who come together with the common goal of finding true love.

Hm, can you think of any reason why ABC might want to smack CBS this summer?

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