Keeping it in the Bachelor Nation family! Season five Bachelor Jesse Palmer has been tapped to replace Chris Harrison as host of ABC’s The Bachelor franchise. He begins his new gig with the upcoming season 26 of one man’s quest to find love.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” the former NFL player said in a September 28 statement to the Hollywood Reporter.
He added, “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”
Reps for ABC and Jesse, 42, did not immediately respond to Life & Style‘s requests for comment.
The reality hunk played backup quarterback for the New York Giants from 2001 to 2004. After being cut, he found new life as the first pro-athlete Bachelor. He gave his final rose to contestant Jessica Bowlin, but the pair split several months after the finale aired.
Jesse parlayed his reality TV exposure and athletic background into sports broadcasting. He is a longtime ESPN analyst, mainly covering college football. He hosted ABC’s short-lived game show The Proposal in 2018 and hosted the first three seasons of the syndicated entertainment news show DailyMailTV.
Chris had hosted both The Bachelor and Bachelorette — as well as spinoffs including Bachelor in Paradise — since the shows’ inceptions. He took a hiatus following controversial comments about Matt James’ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racism scandal earlier this year.
The 50-year-old left Bachelor Nation for good in June 2021. “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.”
Chris discussed his “incredible run” in an Instagram post confirming his departure. “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.”