Longtime Bachelor host Chris Harrison has exited the Bachelor Nation franchise for good, Life & Style confirmed on Tuesday, June 8. The news comes amid the ABC personality’s on-screen hiatus after he made controversial comments about Matt James’ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racism scandal earlier this year. 

“Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment told Life & Style in a statement. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

ABC/John Fleenor

The Dallas native, 49, reflected on the “incredible run” he’s had as host over the years in a message via Instagram. “I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together,” he wrote. “While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

Deadline reported Chris received a “mid-range, eight-figure payoff” and a “promise to keep his mouth shut” — most likely meaning he signed a nondisclosure agreement — to leave the franchise for good.

Chris has already sat out for season 17 of The Bachelorette with leading lady Katie Thurston, and former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe stepped in to take over hosting. The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host is also not appearing on Bachelor in Paradise season 7. Life & Style learned it will instead be fronted by a slew of celebrity guest hosts, including comedian David Spade.

The news comes four months after Chris was interviewed on Extra by former season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay about the controversy surrounding Rachael, 24, on February 9. 

The season 25 contestant was accused by a TikTok user of mistreating her during high school for “liking Black guys.” Other videos on the social media app began circulating alleging the Georgia native “liked” offensive social media posts, including one that featured the Confederate flag. Then, photos surfaced of Rachael attending an “Old South” antebellum-themed fraternity party in 2018. The graphic designer has since released an apology. 

During his interview about the situation, Chris asked fans to have “a little grace, a little understanding” and “compassion” for the reality contestant and used the term “woke police” to describe those trying to hold Rachael accountable. 

The following day, the reality TV host took to Instagram to apologize for his comments during the interview. “I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday, I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed,” he wrote at the time. “While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf.”

“What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that, I am so deeply sorry,” his post continued. “I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has a first-hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable.”

Chris announced he was temporarily stepping back from his hosting duties on February 13 in an effort to get “educated on a more profound and productive level.”

“My ignorance did damage to my friends, my colleagues and strangers alike,” he wrote in a separate Instagram statement. “I have no one to blame but myself for what I said and the way I spoke. I set standards for myself and I have not met them. I feel that with every fiber of my being. Now, just as I taught my children to stand up, and to own their actions, I will do the same.”

Chris made his hiatus seem temporary when he appeared on Good Morning America on March 4. “I plan to be back, and I want to be back,” he said at the time while assuring viewers he is “committed to progress … for the franchise.”

It’s a new chapter in Bachelor Nation.