1:30pm PT by Jackie Strause
'Bachelor in Paradise' Controversy to Be Addressed in Season 4 Premiere
After dangling a full preview of the season before Monday's Bachelorette audience, ABC has released the official cast photo for Bachelor in Paradise and has now confirmed that the show will address the controversy right off the bat.
"One of the most shocking and dramatic seasons in Bachelor Nation history begins with host Chris Harrison explaining that production had to be suspended," reads a Friday press release from ABC about the upcoming Aug. 14 premiere episode. The release implies that the footage leading up to the halt in production will be shown on the first night. "By episode’s end, will Paradise be closed for good, or will one of the best parts of summer be saved?" the release asks. As THR previously reported, producers had captured enough footage for one episode before the shutdown.
The second episode of the two-night premiere will feature the wedding of Bachelor in Paradise cast members Evan Bass and Carly Waddell, followed by a sitdown with the cast, orchestrated by Harrison, "for a thought-provoking conversation about the encounter that caused all of the controversy."
The season will then pickup from there, but the delay in production is poised to change the momentum of the relationships that have been formed during the dating series. Paradise filmed three days of courtship before it was temporarily suspended earlier this summer, meaning some relationships were formed early and potentially continued off camera while the show halted production for nearly two weeks.
"Publicly, everyone is going to want us to come out and say, 'We've changed everything!' and that it will be earth-shattering," Harrison told The Hollywood Reporter of the changes viewers will see when Paradise premieres. "We've really learned from our mistakes, but there really weren't any major mistakes made. When this plays out and you see it all happening, you'll understand what I'm saying."
The cast photo shows many of the original 16-member reality stars — including DeMario Jackson and Corinne Olympios, who were at the center of the controversy — as well as several new faces that had yet to be officially announced.
After an allegation of misconduct on set delayed filming on the upcoming fourth season of the Bachelor spinoff, Jackson and Olympios did not return to the Sayulita, Mexico, set for the remainder of filming. They will, however, appear on the cast reunion that is set to air at the end of the season.
Joining the previously announced stars in the cast photo above are a handful of men from Rachel Lindsay's current season of The Bachelorette, including Kenneth "Diggy" Moreland, Dean Unglert (who was confirmed by ABC after his controversial exit), Matt Munson, Jack Stone and Iggy Rodriguez.
Other interesting tidbits from Friday's release include a hint that two former runner-ups get together in Paradise and that "a beloved bartender from seasons past," assumed to be Jorge, tearfully tells the new arrivals news that "will change Paradise forever." (It has previously been reported that former Bachelorette and Paradise contestant Wells Adams takes over as bartender this season.)
The Bachelor in Paradise controversy was barely mentioned during Monday's annual Bachelorette: Men Tell All, which reunited Bachelorette Lindsay with her eliminated exes, including Jackson.
At the end of the special, Harrison promised that a full trailer for the highly anticipated season will arrive during the upcoming Bachelorette: After the Final Rose special, which airs live after Monday's finale.
Harrison also promised that the Paradise premiere will give viewers clarity about the encounter between Jackson and Olympios that led to the show being suspended. "Don't miss the dramatic Bachelor in Paradise premiere, where we'll talk about everything that happened — and I do mean everything," he said.
Watch a promo for Paradise, which kicks off Aug. 14 and Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC, below.
Aug. 4, 4:15 p.m.: This story has been updated with ABC's Friday announcement.