Chris Harrison has handed out his final rose.
According to Deadline, the embattled Bachelor, Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise host will NOT return to emcee any of these programs ever again.
Not after meeting with ABC executives and reportedly agreeing to some kind of contractual buyout.
To be clear, neither Harrison nor any higher-up at the network has confirmed this report.
But it comes from a very reputable source and it also comes with a specific tidbit:
Harrison will be paid an eight-figure sum to walk away permanently from his hosting duties.
Rumors of Harrison parting ways for good from the franchise had started to circulate a few days ago in earnest after insiders said he would not return in 2021 to lead either Bachelor in Paradise or Michelle Young’s upcoming season of The Bachelorette.
Just last night, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe debuted as co-hosts of Katie Thurston’s Bachelorette premiere.
The Harrison news comes after he came under fire in February for his defense of controversial season 25 contestant (and eventual champiion) Rachael Kirkconnell, who made headlines at the time for her racially insensitive history of social media posts.
After the world learned that Kirkconnell attended a plantation-themed party in 2018, for example, Harrison said on Extra:
“We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion."
He added, while speaking to Rachel Lindsay:
"Who is Rachel Lindsay and who is Chris Harrison and who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you [to tell her to speak out]? I’ve heard this a lot of, ‘I think she should,’ ‘I think he should.’
"Who the hell are you?
"Who are you that you demand that?”
After receiving criticism for relating more to Kirkconnell than trying to understand those who were affected by Rachael’s actions, Harrison issued an apology.
“I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that,” Chris said on March 4.
“I believe that mistake doesn’t reflect who I am or what I stand for. I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise.
"And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it.”
While talking to Good Morning America, Harrison added:
“I plan to be back and I want to be back. And I think this franchise can be an important beacon of change. I know that change is felt, not just by me, but by many others.
"And we are excited and willing to do the work to show that progress. This interview is not the finish line. There is much more work to be done.
"And I am excited to be a part of that change."
Alas, it now sounds strongly as if he won’t get the chance to do so.
Harrison had hosted every Bachelor and every Bachelorette season since 2002… until Thurston’s debut on June 7.
Per Deadline, Harrison reached his confidential settlement with franchise producers and distributor Warner Horizon after his lawyer threatened to go public with the show’s alleged dirty laundry …
… unless his client was given a hefty golden parachute.
When Chris Harrison first announced he was temporarily taking a break from The Bachelor, he wrote on Instagram:
"This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions…
"To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special."
What…I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.
"I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has firsthand understanding of."
We expect to hear vague, broad and platitude-filled statements from both Harrison and ABC reps at some point today.
Until then, you tell us, celebrity gossip lovers and followers:
Will you continue to watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette?
Or are you now done for good?
UPDATE: Harrison has now released a statement.
“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he shared via Instagram.
“I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together.
"While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime."