1:00pm PT by Jackie Strause
ABC Nixes 'Bachelor Summer Games' Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
The Bachelor Summer Games, ABC's planned counterprogramming to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is not going forward as the television industry continues to hit the pause button amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter.
The summer spinoff, boasting an international cast, would have aired throughout the Tokyo Games, which — in an unprecedented move — have since been postponed until July 2021. Development on the ABC and Warner Bros. series has been halted; it's unclear if the reality dating show could return next year.
Though the summer spinoff was never officially announced, the producers behind the ABC franchise had been planning a follow-up to 2018's Bachelor Winter Games, which aired as a four-episode spinoff across two weeks during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games.
The franchise recently wrapped The Bachelor and is now shifting focus to The Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart, which is set to premiere April 13. The Bachelorette, which was to bow in May, has also halted production amid the pandemic. Since the outbreak of the virus, Warner Bros. has halted or shut down production on many of its shows after initially evaluating production travel on a case-by-case basis. Before it paused The Bachelorette, the Clare Crawley-led cycle had been limited to domestic travel only.
Similar to Winter Games, Summer Games would have recruited a global cast from other countries where the Bachelor franchise airs. The Bachelor has aired in over 30 countries around the world, with The Bachelorette airing in over 13 global outposts.
Winter Games featured 26 eligible singles, with 12 stars hailing from the U.S. franchise and the other 14 participants coming from Switzerland, Japan, Australia, China, Canada, Sweden, Finland and the U.K. At the time, the producers' goal was to recruit one representative from every country where the Bachelor franchise airs, but the Trump administration's tightening of the visa application process prevented that from happening.
When speaking with THR about Peter Weber's recent Bachelor finale, ABC reality chief Rob Mills said the network was monitoring the evolving situation when it came to their summer programming, which also includes the franchise spinoff Bachelor in Paradise. That series, which will be heading into its seventh season, films in Mexico. ABC also recently began casting for a senior version of The Bachelor to feature contestants age 65 or older.
"It’s all being talked about because you have to see how this impacts everything. But it’s still too far to make decisions on anything. The summer stuff is a little farther out and in early days, really," Mills said on March 11. "Everyone is being vigilant. Right now, literally every hour you are getting the updates and watching and everyone will be nimble based on that."
The COVID-19 viral disease, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, has impacted film and TV productions across the globe. With the fate of scripted and unscripted TV in flux, writers rooms are moving remote and live shows are filming from home.