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Chris Harrison Is Leaving 'The Bachelor'... Without A Rose

- The Bachelor -
Chris Harrison Is Leaving 'The Bachelor'... Without A Rose

Turns out the surgical skin salesman who lives in a messy RV wasn't the only one leaving The Bachelorette behind last night, as a new report says Chris Harrison is leaving The Bachelor franchise for good. Deadline reported Tuesday morning that Harrison and Warner Brothers Television, which produces the show, have finally reached a deal negotiating his exit, and studio Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed the news just a few hours later. "Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful to his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey."

Harrison also released a statement on his Bachelor exit via Instagram, writing that he's "excited to start a new chapter." He added, "While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I've made will last a lifetime."

Harrison, who is also an executive producer of the franchise, will reportedly receive an "eight-figure payoff" in exchange for taking behind-the-scenes Bach secrets to his grave. (It's unclear if his exit as host also means the end of his lucrative executive producer role.) A pretty sweet deal considering the implosion of his final season of The Bachelor, which deteriorated after he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's 2018 attendance at an "Old South party" in a revealing interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. In the interview, he decried the "woke police" and suggested that the antebellum-themed party wasn't considered racist in 2018 (spoiler: it was). He also dismissed Rachel's experience as the first Black lead of the franchise, despite the current season having the franchise's first Black Bachelor, and the entire thing ended with mass calls for the Bachelor host's removal coming from fans and franchise alums.

Soon after the interview, Harrison officially stepped away from the season, though he hosted through the pre-taped finale and Women Tell All special. "This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions," he said in his Feb. 13 statement announcing his (then) temporary leave from the franchise. He was swiftly replaced for the After The Final Rose special, and Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe were subsequently announced as his replacement hosts for Katie's Bachelorette season.

For a long time, it seemed like Harrison would eventually return to the franchise to host Bachelor in Paradise or Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette (which, for the record, would have been a horrible, no good, very bad idea). But then his attempted image rehab interview with Good Morning America flopped in March. And a couple months later, it was announced that David Spade would come in a guest host BiP, along with a string of other celebrity fans. And, just like that, Harrison's future with The Bachelor was set.

So, what does this mean for the franchise going forward? Well, as we saw with Katie's Bachelorette premiere, there's no shortage of charismatic alums ready and willing to return as hosts. And, having a revolving door of hosts could potentially help move The Bachelor forward, specifically when it comes to diversity. (Though, to be clear, having a person of color as host does not make up for a lack of diverse contestants.) Fans have been begging The Bachelor franchise to evolve, and getting hosts from many different backgrounds and experiences to help guide leads could be a great way to, at the very least, introduce a new perspective into the Bachelor machine.

At the end of the day, it was time for Harrison to go. And, if Kaitlyn and Tayshia's fun Bachelorette debut showed us anything, it's that the former Bachelor host won't be missed — not even a little. It's time for a new era of The Bachelor, and Harrison isn't invited.

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Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin

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