Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor franchise since it launched in 2002, won't be returning. He's been off the air since March after he defended Rachael Kirkconnell, a contestant who went to a plantation-themed party in 2018 and liked Confederate flag-related TikTok videos. Harrison, who blamed the "woke police" for criticism of Kirkconnell, said at the time that he was "stepping aside" from the Bachelor shows but wanted to return. On Tuesday, however, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment thanked him "for his many contributions over the past 20 years," USA Today reports. Harrison posted his gratitude "to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together" on Instagram. "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.
Harrison apologized for his comments and said at the time that "this franchise can be an important beacon of change," per Us Weekly, "and I am excited to be a part of that change." But the franchise went on without him; the new season of The Bachelorette launched Monday with past contestants Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams hosting. "They were pretty great," Lisa Respers France wrote for CNN. Next up is Bachelor in Paradise, which will be hosted by David Spade and other celebrities. Harrison not only was guide and confidant during a total of 50 franchise seasons, per USA Today, he officiated at several televised weddings. (Read more The Bachelor stories.)