I suppose that we should never be surprised anymore when a Bachelor contestant has a change of heart. But this one does come as a bit of a shock, given that, since she broke it off with twice-Bachelor Brad Womack after season 15, single mom Emily Maynard said over and over that she’d never want to star on The Bachelorette. 

Now, according to spoiler king Reality Steve, that’s exactly what she’ll be doing come March, when The Bachelorette season 8 begins filming.

Why Emily’s change of heart? Steve speculates it probably has something to do with another early spoiler he got his hands on: In order to accommodate Emily’s family life (a.k.a. lure her in), ABC has reportedly offered to move the bulk of filming to Emily’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The last time The Bachelor(ette) moved to the star’s hometown was in season 7, when the show cast actor Charlie O’Connell and moved to New York City. For that season, the show “stripped down” its usual format and did away with the first-night evening gowns, limo entrances and even the traditional rose ceremony. 

We’ll have to wait and see whether ABC will change Emily’s Bachelorette season to better suit Charlotte, or whether they’re simply moving the show to another location, limo entrances and all.

It’s not hard to see why ABC would want to cast Emily over one of the contestants from Ben Flajnik’s current Bachelor season. (Though, as we’re only two episodes in, it remains to be seen whether any of Ben’s ladies will grab the public’s attention the way Emily did.) She’s a sweet, unbelievably beautiful Southern belle with a tragic backstory (her fiance, a NASCAR driver, was killed mere days before she learned she was pregnant) that was oft repeated, and exploited, during her time on The Bachelor. She remained the fan favorite throughout the season, right up until Brad Womack put a ring on it.

After her engagement to Bachelor Brad Womack quickly disintegrated, speculation that Emily would return as the next Bachelorette began and never really went away. (The rumor made major resurgence a few weeks ago, and I admit that I didn’t believe it. But after months and months of “rumors” that read more like unfounded hopes based on uncited sources, can you blame me?) 

So — and this is assuming that the information Reality Steve has is true — as soon as ABC decides to make the official announcement (probably sometime near or after the end of Ben’s season) that Emily is their newest Bachelorette, they’ll probably already have enough buzz to propel the season to record ratings, even before we learn what fresh scandals await us in the episodes.

But that brings us back to the question we started with: Why did Emily change her mind? After The Bachelor, she openly said that she hated being hounded by the paparazzi and wanted to protect her daughter from the media. She’s also said she wants to be a good example for her daughter — which is just one of the reasons I said back in July that she may be a great lady, but she’s not a great option for Bachelorette. The show pretends to be about love and roses, but everyone know’s it’s about fighting and sex. I have to assume that, to get Emily signed on, ABC pitched a much more family-friendly version of the show. And what’s The Bachelorette without the multiple makeouts, the hot tub rubs and the overnight stays in the fantasy suite? What will we have to make fun of?

Just some things to ponder until America’s Sweetheart officially makes her way back to our TV screens. That is, if you believe this rumor in the first place. What say you, Bachelor Nation? 

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.