Out with the old, and in with the new! Chris Harrison will not be returning to The Bachelor franchise, and an OK! source spills that the show is on the hunt for a permanent replacement host.
“Several top agents have been contacted in L.A. to discuss their clients joining the show full time and replacing Chris,” an insider tells OK!, adding that "there is no one celebrity that the producers are focusing in on." Producers are hoping for the same success that Dancing With The Stars had when they replaced Tom Bergeron with Tyra Banks, according to the source.
And while the producers are open to any and all possible replacement hosts, the source says they are looking to diversify the franchise. "They are casting the net wide and seeing what the response it," the insider continues. "Nothing is off the table although after being so white for so long, adding some diversity to the show is something the producers are very interested in."
While the franchise has been eyeing a new host following the racist scandal that plagued Bachelor Nation earlier this year, the OK! source says that was not the only reason producers wanted the 49-year-old out, adding that the franchise was ready to give the embattled host the boot prior to the drama.
“The truth is the show needed a refresh. Chris’ controversial remarks defending a contestant's past racist behavior didn’t help," adds a top TV source, referring to Matt James' winning contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell. "But the real reason he is out is that the ratings are down. The same thing happened with Dancing With The Stars. The entire franchise needs a shakeup.”
Insiders add that former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, who both replaced Harrison on Katie Thurston's upcoming season of The Bachelorette, want the full-time job — but producers are not 100% sold.
“Tayshia and Kaitlyn are both front runners, but there is a sense that they can do better. Tyra brought an enormous amount of attention to Dancing With The Stars. They want the same thing from the new Bachelor host too," the insider candidly dishes.
News of the franchise's quest for the next big host comes after Harrison defended Kirkconnell following the racially charged photos of her that resurfaced on social media while season 25 was airing. At the time, Harrison said Bachelor Nation should offer the 24-year-old a "little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," while speaking to Rachel Lindsay — the first Black lead in Bachelor history.
After his defensive attitude during the interview sparked widespread criticism, leaving many appalled and infuriated, Harrison said he would temporarily step away from the franchise to "try to evolve and be a better man."
And while he hoped that confronting the scandal on Good Morning America would put him back in Bachelor Nation's good graces, OK! exclusively reported in February that fans and former contestants wanted Harrison off the show for good.