Meet the not-so-new kid on the block! Jesse Palmer was announced as the host of The Bachelor season 26, and longtime viewers might remember the athlete.
Palmer, 42, was the Bachelor in 2004, and his arrival marked new territory for the show. He was the first ever professional athlete to look for love on the ABC reality show, and he was the first non-American Bachelor.
Though he and winner Jessica Bowlin weren’t a match made in heaven, Palmer has a famous rose ceremony moment in Bachelor history due to his bad memory. The Canadian, who was 24 at the time, gave a rose to Katie Gehart before he stepped away to speak to then-host Chris Harrison. He revealed that he mixed up names and actually meant to give the rose to Karen Lindsay. While he fixed the blunder, he asked Gehart to stay as well rather than sending her home.
Harrison officially exited The Bachelor in June after his controversial defense of Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racial insensitivity. He received an eight-figure payout amid his departure.
As his replacement, Palmer will get the chance to help Clayton Echard — the suitor from Michelle Young‘s upcoming Bachelorette season who Us Weekly confirmed is the new Bachelor earlier this month — through tough spots similar to the ones he faced more than 15 years ago. The football player expressed his excitement to fill the role when he was announced as host on Tuesday, September 28.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Palmer said in a statement to Us. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”
The TV personality credits The Bachelor with his post-NFL career, but he truly hadn’t realized just how many opportunities the search for love would give him.
“The show put me in front of a completely different audience and demographic,” he told Resident in their March 2020 cover story. “I was 24 years old at the time and thought it was this cool life experience. I did it in the off-season in Los Angeles. I was very naïve to the doors that it would open down the road.”
The former Bachelor explained that he “really had no idea what I was stepping into but it ended up being a great experience and it would benefit me later on in life. All I can say is that it was wild and crazy! This really led to new opportunities, including with the Food Network and then Good Morning America, which introduced me to a totally new demographic all over again. My television career has really been evolving due to my being able to do a variety of different things.”
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Learn more about Palmer ahead of his hosting gig below: