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Will Chris Harrison Return To The 'Bachelor' Franchise After Time Away?

- The Bachelor -
Will Chris Harrison Return To The 'Bachelor' Franchise After Time Away?

Chris Harrison was finally right, this is the most dramatic Bachelor season ever. The longtime Bachelor host announced that he would be temporarily stepping down on Saturday, Feb. 13, following a disastrous interview with Rachel Lindsay on racism in the franchise. In a statement, the host said that he would be "stepping aside for a period of time" to "evolve and be a better man." But after his time of reflection, will Harrison return to the Bachelor franchise? And if so, when?

Harrison has confirmed that he will not return for Matt James' After the Final Rose special, which was reportedly set to film sometime later this month, saying, "This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions." However, he did not make any commitments about the future beyond this season, and, most importantly, he did not mention a potential 2021 season of The Bachelorette, or the next season of Bachelor in Paradise. Given that neither The Bachelorette nor BiP have been confirmed due to COVID-19 complications and planning, it's possible that Harrison will ride out the rest of Matt's season — since he can't be replaced in episodes already filmed — skip the After the Final Rose, and be back in time for The Bachelorette. (Whenever that is.)

But would Bachelor Nation accept Harrison back with open arms after just one episode away? In his statement, the host wrote that he was "dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before." Surely, that should take longer than a few months? Then again, Harrison is already receiving a lot of support on Instagram, with some fans in the comments already decrying the move as "cancel culture" and an overreaction.

It should also be noted that Harrison isn't just the host of the Bachelor franchise, he's an executive producer. His statement did not specify whether or not he would be stepping aside from his role as a producer, suggesting that the door is wide open for his return down the line.

It's hard to imagine The Bachelor will remain without Chris Harrison for long. But if he is truly committed to the work it might be a while. In the meantime, hopefully the franchise can take this opportunity to elevate voices previously sidelined, and take the opportunity to have a fresh start.

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Image: ABC/Craig Sjodin

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