Months after longtime Bachelor Nation host Chris Harrison necessarily took a step away from The Bachelor during Matt James' season, it appears as if the severing has been completed, with Harrison now officially exiting the reality TV franchise in full. While it appears there are more details to be fully ironed out before the ink has dried on Harrison's departure agreement, early details indicate that ABC is spending a lot of money to push the host out of the door with as little noise made as possible.
While the majority of hardcore Bachelor and Bachelorette viewers probably didn't expect for Chris Harrison to make a full-fledged return to the hosting position at any point in the near future, considering the racially charged manner in which he lined up his own ousting, the lack of updates on the matter had many wondering when, if ever, an official resolution would come. Now, Deadline is reporting a deal was worked out between Harrison's legal team (fronted by Bryan Freeman) and WBTV's Warner Horizons, with the host reportedly landing a "mid-range eight-figure payoff" to walk away from the franchise without spilling anymore bad blood, metaphorically speaking.
Clearly, getting paid more than $10 million to leave a job that one's own controversial comments influenced is a win for Chris Harrison, though the reason for the high-dollar payday is allegedly to keep Harrison from pulling more of The Bachelor franchise's skeletons out of the closet. It appears the former host's lawyers were threatening to go forward with a major lawsuit against ABC and others that would have reportedly exposed further dirty secrets. It was only after days of financial negotiations that both parties came to an agreement, according to those close to the matter.
The timing of this news is certainly not coincidental, with ABC having premiered Season 17 of The Bachelorette on Monday night, with franchise vets Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe taking over full-time as the hosts in Chris Harrison's wake. It was announced in the aftermath of Harrison's initial forced vacation that ABC announced Adams and Bristowe would be taking over for the latest season of The Bachelorette, and now we know he won't be making his return when The Bachelor gets its next season together, nor when Bachelor in Paradise returns, whenever that may actually be.
Interestingly enough, comedian and veteran TV host David Spade has been tapped as one of several guest hosts who will fill the Chris Harrison-sized void when the all-stars spinoff returns for a new season. It'll probably take a few weeks to see how well audiences are adapting to having two new hosts without Harrison around, and for the weekly audience numbers to level out. So that's probably when the rumors will surface about what might come next in the franchise's future.
Chris Harrison has apologized on multiple occasions for the comments that got him in trouble in the first place, which included his defense of Rachael Kirkconnell after her racially insensitive "Antebellum Party" photos surfaced. Still, not everyone believes such apologies hold water, so here's hoping his official departure will help close this unfortunate chapter in Bachelor Nation's history book, and that it only leads to more understanding and change behind the scenes.
The Bachelorette airs Monday nights on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET, and is just one of many awesome TV shows hitting primetime during the 2021 Summer TV season.