A shake-up no one saw coming! Chris Harrison hosted The Bachelor — and its limitless spinoffs — from the time the franchise made its debut on ABC in March 2002. However, things changed in June 2021 when he permanently exited his role, leaving the future of the gig up in the air.
Harrison was a mainstay for fans for nearly two decades. He occasionally had a cohost by his side for spinoffs such as The Bachelor Winter Games and Bachelor Pad, but he mostly handled the duties by himself.
The TV personality found himself embroiled in controversy in February 2021, though, after he defended season 25 Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell amid allegations of past racism. “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” he told season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on Extra at the time. “Who is Rachel Lindsay and who is Chris Harrison and who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you [to tell her to speak out]? I’ve heard this a lot of, ‘I think she should,’ ‘I think he should.’ Who the hell are you? Who are you that you demand that?”
Harrison subsequently apologized for his remarks after he drew backlash from fans and past contestants. He announced via Instagram later that month that he would be “stepping aside for a period of time.” Emmanuel Acho replaced him for season 25’s After the Final Rose special. (Matt James’ journey had already concluded filming prior to the scandal, with the exception of the reunion.)
The reality star revealed in March 2021 that he hoped to return to the franchise after doing some work on himself. “I plan to be back and I want to be back,” he said on Good Morning America. “And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others. And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done. And I am excited to be a part of that change.”
In Harrison’s absence, season 11 Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe and season 16 lead Tayshia Adams hosted Katie Thurston’s season 17 of The Bachelorette. Shortly after the show’s premiere in June 2021, Us Weekly confirmed that the Texas native had permanently exited the franchise.
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he noted via Instagram at the time. “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.”
After Harrison’s departure, the franchise did not slow down, so the network had to get creative with its hosting choices amid the search for a new permanent figure to helm the shows.
Scroll through the gallery below to see every person who has hosted The Bachelor and its many spinoffs through the years.