Hours after the premiere of the 17th season of The Bachelorette, ABC officially confirmed host Chris Harrison is leaving the franchise after a 19-year run as the presenter.
The news comes after Harrison announced in February he would be “stepping aside” from the show following controversial remarks he made when being interviewed by Rachel Lindsay, the former star of the 2017 edition of “The Bachelorette.”
“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
During the interview, Harrison defended Rachael Kirkconnell, a “Bachelor” contestant who appeared in photos at a plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
Harrison addressed the news and confirmed it on Instagram with a post, thanking the fans and ABC for allowing him to host the show as long as he did.
“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 on Instagram. “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.”
The Bachelorette is currently airing on ABC in the US.