Author and former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho is set to replace Chris Harrison as host of The Bachelor: After the Final Rose, following the announcement of Harrison’s temporary hiatus from the franchise. The live one-hour special, set to air March 15, will follow the pre-taped season finale and feature interviews with Bachelor Matt James, as well as the three remaining contestants, Bri Springs, Michelle Young, and Rachael Kirkconnell. “It’s both an honor and privilege to be hosting After the Final Rose. This is an incredibly pivotal episode on one of the most storied shows in television history,” Acho shared in a statement. ABC added that Acho “will sit down with Bachelor Matt James to discuss his season, his final decision and where he is now, as well as cover the current events about the franchise.”
Harrison announced he would be stepping back from the show earlier this month following his defense of Kirkconnell during an interview with Rachel Lindsay, the franchise’s first Black Bachelorette, on Extra. In that interview, Harrison called for “a little grace” for Kirkconnell after photos emerged of her attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Kirkconnell has since apologized for the photos, writing on Instagram, “I will never grow unless I recognize what I have done is wrong. I don’t think one apology means that I deserve your forgiveness, but rather I hope I can earn your forgiveness through my future actions.” Speaking of future actions, Kirkconnell recently posted an Instagram Story featuring Acho’s book, Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, alongside a matcha latte and a manicure, a gesture that Lindsay called “vapid.” Lindsay later had to disable her Instagram account following harassment from Bachelor fans.