Following the backlash for Chris Harrison’s interview with Rachel Lindsay, ABC saw fit to make some changes concerning Bachelor Nation. Harrison stepped down as the almost 20-year-long host of the dating franchise, while former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe were brought in as his replacements for the next two back-to-back seasons of The Bachelorette. Allegedly, however, the set feels pretty different without Harrison’s familiar face around.
The situation has unfolded rather quickly, what with the Rachael Kirkconnell controversy and the subsequent interview and fallout happening within the span of only a few months, as The Bachelor continued airing in what felt like the background. Now as The Bachelorette has taken up filming for Season 17 and 18, for Katie Thurston and Michelle Young, respectively, the longtime crew are supposedly missing Chris Harrison’s presence. One source told US Weekly:
There were a lot of very last-minute changes. It’s a different vibe. Chris was the glue that holds it together. He’s like the father figure to everybody. He’s someone everybody knows and respects and truly loves.
Chris Harrison was heavily criticized for the way he discussed Rachael Kirkconnell’s controversial past actions with Rachel Lindsay. He was labelled “racially insensitive” and “dismissive,” among other things. Yet it’s understandable to an extent that The Bachelorette set feels different for production nowadays. Imagining Survivor without Jeff Probst, for example, sounds downright unfeasible.
Much like Jeff Probst on Survivor, many people don’t know that Chris Harrison also pulled double duty as both the host and executive producer on Bachelor Nation. So he actually did a lot more on the shows than the brief minutes that fans would see of him talking to contestants as host. Another source said:
Some crew have been with him since the beginning so it’s just a weird feeling not having him around after almost 20 years of working with him. People might not realize how involved he is with filming, but he plays a huge role on the show and behind scenes. He’s on set 24/7 and keeps everything together.
The controversy surrounding Chris Harrison has been swirling non-stop since his on-screen faux pas. He admitted that his words were a mistake and agreed to step down, albeit the statement seemed to allude to the move being more temporary than permanent. Harrison allegedly lawyered up after the continued backlash and Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s takeover of his hosting roles.
At the time, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe posted their own enthused reactions to the news of their hosting gigs on social media. But apparently, others on The Bachelorette set are still looking to the past and Chris Harrison for leadership. As the second source put it:
He was interacting and mingling with everybody because he knew a lot of people. It’s different just having the women as cohosts since they don’t know everyone as well.
The two replacement hosts for The Bachelorette might not be completely familiar with all of the production team behind the show, but fans know them well from their time as contestants. Tayshia Adams recently said on the Going to Bed with Garcelle podcast that “the world needs something fresh and new” and that the fans are going to be “really excited” with where they take Bachelor Nation.
Still, change is a hard thing. ABC gave fans slightly familiar faces in Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe to seemingly ease the blow of them not seeing Chris Harrison. We can only know how the two host perform when the upcoming seasons air in the summer and fall.