Who Would've Been the Bachelorette If Becca Kufrin Said No?

Exclusive: Robert Mills, the senior VP of alternative series, specials and late-night programming at ABC, sounds off on the next season of The Bachelorette

By Tierney Bricker Mar 12, 2018 6:15 PMTags

And they all lived happily ever after...minus that whole proposing to the wrong person first and then filming the break-up chapter.

Can you believe it's been just one week since Arie Luyendyk Jr.'s season of The Bachelor came to dramatic end, with the Bachelor initially proposing to Becca Kufrin, only to realize he was actually in love with Lauren Burnham. Unedited footage of Arie and Becca's brutal break-up followed and it wasn't pretty. Fortunately for Bachelor Nation, Becca was officially named the next Bachelorette the following night, and even met five of her suitors minutes after the announcement. You know what they say: the best way to get over someone is by dating 30 someone elses.

After accepting Arie's proposal in November, Becca was engaged to the race car driver for almost two months before he blindsided her by ending their engagement to be with Lauren. So what would've happened if she wasn't ready to move on in time to be the next Bachelorette after heartbreak? 

That was the question E! News posed to Robert Mills, the senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late-night programming at ABC. 

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"That was the big question mark. We've had that happen," he said, revealing that Melissa Rycroft said "absolutely not" to becoming the franchise's next lead after Jason Mesnick broke up with her to be with his initial runner-up, Molly Malaney (with the couple recently celebrating their eighth wedding anniversary) in 2008. "If anything, you wouldn't want her to be in that position," he added.

But the search for the next Bachelorette really began even before Becca was a candidate as she was still with Arie at the time producers started their search. 

ABC/Paul Hebert

"There was a period where we had wrapped the show in November and immediately you start to think, OK, we've got until March to see who our Bachelorette is," Mills explained. "Part of it is you wait until the show starts airing and you see who's clicking and who people want to see. So we had been talking about it."

While Arie was a surprising throwback for Bachelor Nation, having been absent from any of the franchise's shows for over five years, Mills confirmed that the Bachelorette "definitely would've been somebody from this season," even if it wasn't Becca. 

The likely contenders? Bekah Martinez, Kendall Long, Tia Booth, Seinne Fleming and Caroline Lunny

"This was such a strong group of girls that honestly," he said. "I wish we could do five seasons of The Bachelorette. There's so many great girls from this season."

Fortunately, there's a solution for that very good problem to have. 

"That's why Bachelor in Paradise exists, so that you can see these people further their relationships," Mills said. "I think you just can't say enough about these girls. You saw them when they were all sitting on that couch with Becca, they're all fantastic."

Watch: Which "Bachelor" Ladies Might Do "Bachelor in Paradise"?

And many of the women from Arie's season are down for a trip to Mexico to find love this summer, with fan-favorite Tia telling E! News, "I feel like there's less pressure on Paradise, and there's more opportunity to actually find someone," she said, highlighting her BFF Raven Gates finding love with Adam Gottschalk during last season a prime example. "They're amazing together. You never know if they could've met before Paradise. It's a good platform to meet people, so I support it."

Bekah M., however, was a little more apprehensive, saying, "We'll just see what happens!"

The Bachelorette will premiere this May on ABC. 

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