In an alternate universe, Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause is living happily with the man she met on The Bachelorette Season 4. In a new appearance on Nick Viall’s podcast, The Viall Files, ABC exec Robert Mills revealed that more than 10 years ago, Stause was considered as a potential Bachelorette, but network heavyweights (as well as Ellen DeGeneres) pushed for DeAnna Pappas instead. What could have been!
This week, Mills, ABC’s Senior Vice President of Alternative Series, Specials, and Late Night Programming, sat down with former Bachelor Nick Viall to discuss the current season of The Bachelorette and the franchise’s history. Mills told Viall that well over a decade ago, he had lunch with Stause, then an actress on daytime soap opera All My Children, to discuss her transition to the network’s primetime hour. “I actually had lunch with Chrishell — this was about 10 or 11 years ago — to talk about being the Bachelorette,” he recalled, noting that a casting director recommended the young actress for the role. “We had this incredible lunch, I think it was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and she was awesome. And I was convinced. I’m like, ‘This is the Bachelorette.'”
Mills explained that in the late 2000s, The Bachelorette and The Bachelor didn’t alternate, as they do now; instead, “Bachelorette was sort of done just, like, every so often when they decided to do it,” which led to “four Bachelors for every one Bachelorette.”
Because of the sporadic nature of the female-led spinoff, other ABC executives felt that the Season 4 Bachelorette should be DeAnna Pappas, one of the two women Bachelor Brad Womack sent home in his history-making Season 11 finale (Womack declined to pick a winner, which caused quite a stir at the time). The momentum for Pappas’ casting only increased when Ellen DeGeneres lobbied for her to step into the Bachelorette’s evening gown.
“I remember Ellen DeGeneres actually calling the president of ABC at the time saying, ‘This woman needs to be the Bachelorette.’ This was before we even said we were going to do a Bachelorette,” said Mills. “And, at that point, it’s like, ‘Well how do we not do that?'”
Ultimately, DeGeneres sealed Stause’s fate, and Pappas was chosen for The Bachelorette Season 4, which debuted in May 2008. Pappas went on to find love with Jesse Csincsak, but the two broke up a few months before their wedding.
Obviously Chrishell Stause would have been great as The Bachelorette, but if she had been chosen, we would have never seen her on Selling Sunset — and that means no Christine Quinn. Just kidding, that girl would have found a way to be on TV come hell or high water.
Where to stream The Bachelorette