Jesse Palmer was "The Bachelor" in 2004. Now he will be the host, replacing Chris Harrison, the network announced Tuesday.
Palmer, who is already embedded with the Disney broadcast family as a studio analyst for ESPN college football and has been involved in other projects for the company, takes over as the lead of the reality show which is entering its 26th season.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Palmer said in a statement obtained by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”
Chris Harrison, the original host of “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs, left the long-running franchise in June.
His departure came four months after he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell against criticism over 2018 photos showing her at a fraternity formal with an Old South plantation theme.
Harrison faced backlash after he voiced support for Kirkconnell during an “Extra” interview last February with Rachel Lindsay, who had been on “The Bachelorette” and was the first Black star of the franchise that begin in 2002.
In a subsequent online statement, Harrison apologized for what he called a “mistake.” While he had only intended to ask for “grace” and compassion for Kirkconnell so she could address the issue, Harrison said, he realized he had caused harm by “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
He was on hiatus from the franchise before his permanent departure was confirmed. The last season of “The Bachelorette” was hosted by former cast members Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe.