It will be Emmanuel Acho, and not Chris Harrison, who puts the Bachelor cast in the hot seat during the show’s After the Final Rose special.
Acho, a former NFL linebacker and Fox Sports analyst, will officially replace Harrison as host of the traditional finale special, in which leading man Matt James and his chosen winner will return to discuss the season and their current relationship status, reports our sister site Deadline. The two-hour Season 25 finale is set to air Monday, March 15 at 8/7c, with the Final Rose special airing immediately after.
“It’s both an honor and privilege to be hosting After the Final Rose,” Acho said in a statement. “This is an incredibly pivotal episode on one of the most storied shows in television history.”
Harrison will be absent from the special after choosing to take a “period of time” away from the franchise, following his controversial defense of current Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. When photos surfaced of Kirkconnell attending an Antebellum party — a problematic gathering that celebrates the pre-Civil War South and reinforces racist imagery from that time — Harrison defended her in an Extra interview conducted by Rachel Lindsay, The Bachelorette‘s first-ever Black lead. Despite Lindsay’s attempts to explain why Kirkconnell’s actions were indefensible, Harrison decried “cancel culture” and suggested that Kirkconnell’s attendance at the party simply looks worse through a present-day lens.
The host later apologized for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism,” and three days later, he announced he would step aside from the franchise, including the upcoming Final Rose special. “The historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” Harrison wrote at the time. “I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”
Beyond sitting out this finale special, Harrison’s future with the franchise has yet to be determined.