Chris Harrison permanently leaves ‘The Bachelor’ franchise

Chris Harrison, the longtime host of “The Bachelor” franchise, has officially parted ways with the reality television shows after 19 years and a controversial 2021 season.

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The shows’ producer and distributor Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed in a joint statement Tuesday that Harrison, 49, who has hosted “Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” is leaving for good, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Harrison’s exit was first reported by Deadline.

“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” the statement read. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

Harrison’s exit comes several months after a highly criticized 13-minute interview on Feb. 9 about racism with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra.

>> ‘The Bachelor’ host Chris Harrison ‘stepping aside’ after controversial interview

In the interview, Harrison defended Rachel Kirkconnell, the frontrunner of “The Bachelor” season featuring Matt James, the show’s first Black bachelor -- when a racially offensive incident from her past re-emerged, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A photo had surfaced of Kirkconnell attending an “Old South” antebellum-themed sorority party in 2018, where she and other attendees dressed in period attire, the Times reported.

After Harrison called Kirkconnell’s critics the “woke police,” widespread criticism caused him to issue an apology, NPR reported.

“What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism and for that I am so deeply sorry,” he said in one of two apologies posted on Instagram.

After a second apology, Harrison announced in mid-February that he was “stepping aside” temporarily from his role as host, The New York Times reported.

In March, ABC Entertainment and Warner Horizon announced that Harrison would not host the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette.”

Harrison’s permanent departure follows Monday night’s premiere, the first time he has not hosted “The Bachelor” since 2002, the Times reported.

>> Chris Harrison will not return as ‘The Bachelorette’ host next season

Harrison’s permanent departure follows Monday night’s premiere, the first time he has not hosted “The Bachelor” since 2002, the newspaper reported.

“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” Mr. Harrison wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “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.”