“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” ABC and Bachelor producers Warner Horizon confirmed in a joint statement on Tuesday. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
The confirmation comes just hours after our sister site Deadline broke the news of Harrison’s likely exit. Harrison has reportedly reached a settlement with Warner Horizon and will receive a payout in the realm of eight figures upon exiting the franchise, but neither ABC, Warner Bros. Television nor Harrison’s representation commented on the specifics of his departure.
UPDATE: Harrison has since addressed his exit in an Instagram post, writing, “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”
The host first found himself in hot water back in February, when he defended The Bachelor Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was spotted in photos from a 2018 Antebellum party. In an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay — The Bachelorette‘s first-ever Black lead — Harrison denounced the “cancel culture” that he felt had targeted Kirkconnell and suggested that her attendance at the party simply looks worse through a 2021 lens, despite Lindsay’s attempts to explain why Kirkconnell’s actions were problematic and reinforced racist stereotypes from the pre-Civil War era.
Harrison later apologized for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism,” and three days later, he announced he would step aside from the franchise for a “period of time” in order to get “educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.” During that hiatus, which has now become permanent, former NFL player Emmanuel Acho replaced Harrison as host of The Bachelor‘s After the Final Rose finale special in March.
In a Good Morning America interview that same month, Harrison told Michael Strahan that his comments on race “[don’t] reflect who I am or what I stand for,” adding that “I plan to be back, and I want to be back” hosting the Bachelor franchise long-term.
Since then, franchise alums Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe have replaced Harrison as hosts of The Bachelorette‘s current 17th season (which premiered on Monday), while a rotating lineup of celebrity guests — reportedly including comedian David Spade — will take the reins for Bachelor in Paradise‘s new episodes in August.
Harrison had been the Bachelor-verse’s master of ceremonies since 2002, when The Bachelor made its debut. He’s hosted every Bachelor season since, as well as spinoffs like The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Pad.