Waiting for his love story. Matt James is still eager to compete for Clare Crawley’s heart on season 16 of The Bachelorette, despite the delay in production caused by the coronavirus.
“I’ve been very patient up to this point, and there is a young woman who’s in Sacramento right now that I’m looking forward to meeting once all this stuff settles down,” the real estate agent, 28, told Us Weekly exclusively on Tuesday, April 21. “So I’m hoping that I can be patient a little bit longer and ride this thing out and everyone’s safe and then we can get back to our daily lives and moving forward.”
ABC revealed James — who is best friends with season 15 runner-up Tyler Cameron — as a member of the cast on March 11. Two days later, Us confirmed that production was halted due to health concerns stemming from the pandemic.
Questions arose about whether the same suitors would participate once filming began after Crawley, 39, asked fans to continue applying. “I feel like since we have a break in the show right now, I don’t think it’s too late to submit people,” she said in a live Instagram Q&A on March 17. “So, submit them, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?”
James, for his part, deflected when the topic of potential recasting came up. Instead, he shifted focus to NEOU’s 12-hour Fit-A-Thon, which will take place on Instagram Live on Thursday, April 23. The ABC Food Tours cofounder will join the event at 2:30 p.m. ET to work out and raise money for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. All proceeds will be donated to Operation Food Fight.
“The biggest thing I’m focused on at the moment is really just making sure that everyone’s healthy right now and that I’m mentally and physically ready to go on Thursday so that we can continue to provide these nurses and doctors with everything that they need to make sure that we handle this virus and that everyone’s safe and we can get back to normal life as soon as possible,” he explained.
Us reported earlier this month that ABC and Warner Bros. production are still hoping to make Crawley’s season happen when it is safe to resume, with aims for a fall premiere. “They’re scoping out multiple different resorts to see if it’s possible to film the entire season in one location,” a source revealed. “Though a resort has not been decided on, if one is found, the show has discussed filming the season without the usual travel.”
With reporting by Kayley Stumpe
Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance and support, consult the CDC, WHO and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.
Listen on Spotify to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants.