Chris Harrison has exited the Bachelor franchise after 19 years. The longtime host, who has been with the franchise since the 2002 premiere of The Bachelor, is permanently departing from the reality staple, following his racism controversy, ET can confirm.
ET has learned that negotiations over Harrison's exit have been underway for awhile, and concluded late Monday night.
Despite telling Good Morning America in March, "I plan to be back and I want to be back," in regard to the franchise, Harrison negotiated a mid-eight figure deal to exit it, according to Deadline, who was the first to report the news.
ET has reached out to Harrison, ABC and Warner Bros. for comment.
Harrison's controversy began when he defended eventual Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions, encouraging people to offer her "grace," and speaking out against the "woke police" during an interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Kirkconnell's past actions came to light in January, when a TikTok user accused the graphic designer of previously bullying her for dating Black men. Then, another user accused Kirkconnell of liking racist photos. Pics have also surfaced of Kirkconnell at an Old South plantation-themed party while in college. Kirkconnell has since apologized and asked people to stop defending her actions.
During his interview with Lindsay, Harrison questioned whether the Old South party and Kirkconnell's presence at it was only viewed as wrong now, because of the racial reckoning over the past year.
"I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago," Harrison said, before Lindsay shared that the photos were taken in 2018, just three years ago.
"Is it [not] a good look in 2018? Or is it not a good look in 2021?" he replied. "Because there’s a big difference."
After facing backlash for his comments made during the interview, Harrison apologized for "wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism." In February, amid ongoing criticism from fans and contestants, Harrison released a second statement, sharing that he would not be hosting the After the Final Rose special for Matt James' season of the show, which was airing at the time.
"My ignorance did damage to my friend, colleagues and strangers alike. I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke," Harrison wrote in part. "By excusing historical racism, I defended it. I invoked the term 'woke police,' which is unacceptable. I am ashamed over how uninformed I was. I was so wrong."
In his March GMA interview, Harrison categorized his comments as "a mistake."
"I made a mistake. I am an imperfect man. I made a mistake and I own that," he said. "I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to the progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise."
Shortly thereafter, ABC announced that former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams would step in to host Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette, which premiered Monday.
Earlier this month, a source told ET that Harrison likewise would not be hosting the next season of Bachelor in Paradise. The source said that, in Harrison's place, there will be multiple celebrity guest hosts, including David Spade. The source added that there is speculation that other comedians might guest host as well.
As for Michelle Young's season of The Bachelorette, ET has learned that there are no decisions yet on who will host. In the meantime, ET has learned, producers are still focused on casting celebrity guest hosts for Bachelor in Paradise, as it's set to begin filming later this month.
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