It's official: Chris Harrison leaves 'Bachelor' franchise behind, roses and all. After a racially centered debate flared earlier this year, the host's status remained in limbo, and fans questioned how his future on the franchise would play out. Now, Deadline has revealed that he'll be exiting the various reality TV series after a 19-year tenure. In a franchise where breakups and fallouts abound, this one seemed imminent given his absence from the start of various new seasons.
Season 17 of The Bachelorette officially kicked off on June 7, but instead of the mainstay host guiding viewers and contestants on the romantic journey, season 11 Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and season 16 starlet Tayshia Adams took over. Even our leading lady, Katie Thurston, felt the void from the show's most iconic face.
"As the lead, I've never gone through it with Chris," she told USA Today. "And so I can't really speak to how it's different, because when I was on that season, I didn't really interact with him too much."
Meanwhile, Bachelor in Paradise, which is scheduled for an August premiere, is expected to have David Spade and a slew of other guest hosts step up to the plate.
Despite the split, it seems Chris Harrison will be walking away with a hefty compensation. Deadline reports that he'll receive an eight-figure payoff.
Chris Harrison leaves 'Bachelor' franchise—it's official
The former host took to Instagram to confirm the news, which was met with messages of praise in the comments section.
"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. "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.”
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Chris Harrison leaves 'Bachelor' franchise—what happened?
Earlier in 2021, Chris defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who gained media attention after photos emerged of her in attendance at an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal.
In an interview with Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay for Extra, Chris said, "This judge-jury-executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart—and diving into her parents and her parents' voting record—it's unbelievably alarming to watch this. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?"
You can watch the interaction below. Viewers and longtime fans of the series have had mixed reactions to his remarks: some feel as though Chris should have condemned the contestant's photos and attendance at the formal whereas others believe he was dignified by choosing not to comment when the contestant didn't have a chance to speak for herself. Additionally, the franchise itself has been criticized in the past for its lack of diversity.
Regardless of hosts, the journey to love will still go on, and it appears it's going to be just a tumultuous even without the longtime host. Katie's Bachelorette season teases a few ups and downs—even a departure—and BiP will undoubtedly have romantic chaos of its own.
Danielle is a writer for My Imperfect Life, where she particularly enjoys covering lifestyle and entertainment news. She was previously the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. When she's not working, you can find her reading a good book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Follow her @dvwrites.
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