Chris Harrison has officially left the “Bachelor” franchise after 19 years.
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. “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.”
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey,” Warner Horizon, which produces the franchise, and ABC, said in a joint statement.
Harrison’s exit was first reported Tuesday morning by our sister site Deadline. Harrison, who has hosted “The Bachelor” and all of its spin-offs, including “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” since the mothership premiered in 2002, negotiated an exit package with Warner Horizon to the tune of eight figures, the site reports.
The host has been on a leave of absence from the franchise since his controversial interview in February with former “Bachelorette” star Rachel Lindsay — the first Black Bachelorette — on “Extra,” during which he defended “Bachelor” contestant and eventual Season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell, who had been under fire after photos surfaced of her attending an Antebellum party in 2018. Harrison blasted the “woke police” for “tearing this girl’s life apart” and talked over Lindsay, who tried to explain why Kirckonnell’s attendance and the party in general were racially offensive and insensitive.
Harrison later apologized for “excusing historical racism” and announced on Instagram that he would step back from the franchise to get “educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.” During a March interview on “Good Morning America,” Harrison apologized again and stated that he planned to return to the franchise.
“I plan to be back and I want to be back,” he said. “And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”
ABC has tapped several people to fill in for Harrison in the interim. Emmanuel Acho hosted “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose” in March, and former “Bachelorette” stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are currently hosting Season 17 of “The Bachelorette,” which premiered on Monday. A rotating roster of guest hosts, including David Spade, will be used for the upcoming installment of “Bachelor in Paradise” in August.