The host talks if Clare liked that tweet about Tayshia Adams becoming "The Bachelorette," and if she was sliding into the DMs of any of her season's guys before filming began.
There is perhaps more speculation about the upcoming season of "The Bachelorette" than at any time in the history of the show, with the biggest question being if Clare will be the only Bachelorette this season.
While Harrison obviously wasn't going to spoil the season's biggest mysteries, such as if Clare really left the show with her man after only two weeks of filming, he did tell ET that she wasn't "wasting time" on the show.
"She came into this unbelievably sincere and serious about finding love," he said. "It wasn't about all the pageantry. It was about coming in and finding somebody, and I really respect the fact that this woman knows exactly what she wants and she is not afraid to go get it."
So did she get it fast enough that a new Bachelorette had to be brought in? Media speculation began to run wild after Tayshia Adams was spotted on the set, but as Harrison quickly pointed out so were Becca Kufrin, JoJo Fletcher and Wells Adams.
"I don't think he's going to be the Bachelorette or Bachelor," Harrison joked. "We brought a lot of friends in to help us out this season."
He then said that Clare "is the Bachelorette." But he also said that Adams is "not not The Bachelorette." So that pretty much means she is, they're just going to milk it as long as they can so they can still pretend it's a huge shocker.
As for that stray like from Clare's social media account, where she liked a tweet on August 2 about Adams becoming The Bachelorette (only to unlock it the following morning), Harrison insists that it could not have been her.
"I can for sure 100 percent tell you that was not Clare; she did not have her phone," he said. "I know this because I was with her and I know the person that was with her, and she definitely did not have her phone ,because I know where her phone was. So, I know it wasn't her, for a fact."
In other words, a new mystery. Who had access to her account and wanted to like that particular post, possibly spoiling a huge surprise for the season? Is it all Chris Harrison and the other Bachelor producers doing the dirty work to ensure ratings are huge this season -- because it's probably working!
Production on Clare's season of "The Bachelorette" was shut down for four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, Harrison and the production team did a reshuffle of the cast (which had been initially determined even before Clare was, and subsequently were mostly significantly younger than her).
It also looks like they weren't the only ones taking a look at her cast. After all, the guys had already been announced at the time production had shut down. Speculation surrounding Clare's early departure has surrounded rumors that she reached out to the guy she ultimately chooses and had basically already decided on him before filming began.
"She definitely took a peek," Harrison acknowledged. At the same time, though, her doing so may have inspired real change on the show, which could have a positive lasting impact on some of the connections (and disconnects) on the show.
"She admitted to me that she started looking through and getting an idea of what these guys stood for who they were," Harrison said. "Not a terrible idea, and maybe that's something we incorporate into the future of this show."
Saying that this season "there are no rules," Harrison promised that fans will have this question answered. "You will definitely find out once the show starts. We definitely have those conversations, for sure."
Harrison has been playing fast and loose with the structure and rules of the show seemingly more and more over the past few seasons, including personally flying out to bring eliminated Madison Prewett back after things fell apart with Hannah Ann Sluss (because Peter is just the worst!)
Maybe a little prep time on the contestants would have helped Peter understand earlier that Madison was not going to be down with him hooking up with everyone else in windmills or wherever else he wanted to, which might have impacted their relationship throughout the season.
It also might have spared Hannah Brown really any and all encounters with Luke Parker, who proved to be a little more old-fashioned -- to put it very kindly -- in regards to traditional female roles than certainly she had any interest in.
It could inject a little more honesty into the show, but it could also fundamentally change those early weeks as the leads would just purge all the problematic men and women right away without even having to hear them out.
The all-new, all-different "Bachelorette(s?)" kicks off on Tuesday, October 13 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.