The host, who has been with the Bachelor franchise since it premiered in 2002, thanked fans in a message on social media.
Chris Harrison
Credit: Paul Hebert/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

A few hours after news broke that Chris Harrison will not be returning to ABC's Bachelor franchise, the longtime host thanked fans in a message on social media.

"I've had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I'm excited to start a new chapter," Harrison wrote. "I'm so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we've made together."

Harrison first came under fire in February, after an interview he gave to former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay on EXTRA. Lindsay pressed the host about photos that surfaced of Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell at a "plantation-themed" sorority party in 2018. While Harrison said he wasn't defending Kirkconnell's actions, he also condemned the "judge, jury, executioner" attitude of critics attacking her online: "This poor girl Rachael, who has just been thrown to the lions, I don't know how you are equipped when you have never done this before, to be woke enough, to be eloquent enough, to be ready to handle this. And my guess is, this woman needs a little time." (Kirkconnell apologized for her "racist and offensive actions.")

ABC and Warner Horizon, which produces the Bachelor franchise, haven't announced a permanent replacement for Harrison, who has been with the show since it first premiered in 2002. The current season of The Bachelorette, which premiered Monday, is being hosted by former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn BristoweBachelor in Paradise, which returns for season 7 on August 17, will be hosted by a rotating roster of celebrities, including David Spade.

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