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‘The Bachelorette’ Host Chris Harrison Reveals What’s in Store on the New Season

'The Bachelorette' host Chris Harrison with Emily Maynard
ABC

Just over a year ago, Emily Maynard won Brad Womack’s heart on ‘The Bachelor,’ but after the relationship “shockingly” imploded, Maynard was then cast as the latest ‘Bachelorette.’ (Seriously, only Jennifer Lopez has a worse romantic track record than the reality-show franchise.)

Though you may be thinking this all sounds like the same old story, host Chris Harrison promises this next installment will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen on the series, starting with its Monday-night premiere.

For starters, Maynard, 26, is a single mom. Her 6-year-old daughter Ricki’s father was the late NASCAR driver Ricky Hendrick, who tragically died in a plane crash in 2004 just before Maynard found out she was pregnant.

Her motherhood status is something Harrison said “definitely changed the tone from night one… There was always that underlying issue of, ‘Is this guy ready [to be a parent]?’ It’s not just hopefully finding love at the end. [She] hopefully finds a husband and a father figure to Ricki.”

With this new tone already set for the 25 suitors, there’s apparently no more of that “frat house humor and superficial drama” we’ve all seen countless times in the past with younger contestants.

In addition — and again, unlike previous seasons — the identity of the bachelorette was never a secret from her suitors. “Emily has already captured their attention and their imagination,” said the show’s host. “You don’t have that moment of going, ‘Who is this? Am I attracted to them?’ They’re already over that first hurdle and on to seeing if there’s something beyond initial attraction.”

On top of the all these changes, the first thing you’re likely to notice is that the season doesn’t begin in the L.A.-based ‘Bachelor’ mansion. Since Maynard didn’t want to disrupt her daughter’s schedule, the crew spent a month shooting in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C. while Maynard continued to live in her own home.

“They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Harrison said of the Southern locale. “People tried to sneak on set, invited us to their restaurants, thanked us for being there. I loved that hospitality. It was almost easier than shooting in L.A.”

Get ready to watch Emily separate the masculine wheat from the chaff when ‘The Bachelorette’ premieres tonight (Monday, May 14th) on ABC.

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