ABC will have 2 Bachelorettes for 2021
Surprise, Bachelor Nation! Former Bachelor contestants Katie Thurston and Michelle Young will each get their own Bachelorette seasons this year.
Oh boy, it has been a "journey," rose lovers. In a (dare we say) dramatic turn of events, ABC announced Monday that Bachelor contestant Katie Thurston — a 29-year-old bank manager from Renton, Wash. — will star on season 17 of The Bachelorette this spring. Now here comes the surprise: Bachelor contestant (and this season's runner-up) Michelle Young will star on season 18 of The Bachelorette — which will premiere in the fall.
For the first time in the show's 17-year history, ABC will air two seasons of The Bachelorette in one year. Host Emmanuel Acho broke the news after the Bachelor finale, during the After the Final Rose special. "When they first told me, I thought we were going to be Bachelorette at the same time," Young told Acho with a laugh. "I was a little nervous, but once I found out it was two different seasons, I was here for it." Thurston added, "I'm ready to find love, and not just the temporary kind... I've seen it work before, why can't it work for me?"
On Friday, ABC and Warner Horizon announced that Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of The Bachelorette; instead, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will guide Thurston on her "journey" to find "love." It's unclear whether Harrison will be back at work as host for Young's Bachelorette season, or for Bachelor in Paradise this summer.
Word first began to leak that Thurston was a frontrunner back in February, when professional spoiler hound Reality Steve reported that she would be the next Bachelorette. Soon after, though, controversy erupted over racism in the franchise when Harrison gave an interview to EXTRA correspondent (and former Bachelorette) Rachel Lindsay on Feb. 9. Harrison later apologized for his comments during the interview and announced he was "stepping aside" from the franchise temporarily. Two weeks later, Reality Steve reported that Thurston was no longer in the running to be the Bachelorette... only to reverse himself again on March 3rd.
Meanwhile, Michelle Young, a 27-year-old teacher from Edina, Minnesota, made it all the way to the final two on this season of The Bachelor, but Matt James ultimately gave his final rose to Rachael Kirkconnell.
Production on Thurston's season of The Bachelorette will reportedly begin later this month in New Mexico.
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