Despite his assertion on Good Morning America last week that “I plan to be back and I want to be back,” ABC confirmed Friday that franchise host Chris Harrison will definitively not be returning to Bachelor Nation for the upcoming sixteenth season of The Bachelorette, which is reportedly set to start production next week. Instead, former Bachelorette stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will fill in, co-hosting as a duo.
“Chris Harrison will not be hosting the next season of The Bachelorette. We support Chris in the work that he is committed to doing,” ABC Entertainment and Warner Horizon said in a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter Friday evening. “In his absence, former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will support the new Bachelorette through next season. As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks. These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world.”
In February, Harrison stepped aside from the current season of The Bachelor following an Extra interview with Bachelorette alumna Rachel Lindsay, in which the host and executive producer defended current Bachelor contestant Rachel Kirkconnell against the “woke police” over, as Kirkconnell put it in her own apology, “offensive and racist” social-media posts, including photos of Kirkconnell at an Antebellum South–themed party. Harrison subsequently apologized for “wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.” The move came after 36 of this season’s 37 Bachelor contestants issued a joint statement condemning “any defense of racism.”