Bachelor Nation has a brand-new host. Fans have been speculating about who will replace Chris Harrison since Feb. 13, when he announced he would be stepping back from the franchise "for a period of time." Now it's official: Emmanuel Acho is Chris Harrison's Bachelor replacement for this season's After the Final Rose special.
Harrison's announcement came days after his Feb. 9 Extra interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay. The longtime host faced backlash from many fans for the appearance, in which he defended Bachelor contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after claims of racism were made against her (which she later apologized for in a Feb. 11 Instagram statement). In defending her, Harrison dismissed Lindsay's thoughts about racism, instead blaming the "woke police."
While the host initially apologized on Feb. 10 for "wrongly speaking in a manner that promotes racism" during the Extra interview, he eventually posted another statement on Feb. 13 announcing what seems to be a temporary break from his Bachelor Nation hosting duties.
Although plenty of viewers suggested Bachelor alums to replace Harrison, ABC officially announced Acho as their pick to replace him for Season 25's After the Final Rose special on Saturday, Feb. 27.
It's sure to be a memorable episode, since he'll sit down with the final three women (including Kirkconnell), and catch up with current Bachelor Matt James after he posted a Feb. 22 Instagram statement calling for structural change in the franchise.
Acho took to social media to announce his new gig on Saturday, Feb. 27, sharing a pic of him dressed in a suit and holding a single red rose.
"IT'S OFFICIAL: I've accepted the Rose & am honored to be hosting the @BachelorABC After the Final Rose this year," he wrote. "It's been a pivotal season & this episode will be one of the most storied shows in its history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. See y'all then!."
Unsurprisingly, the former NFL player has plenty of strong hosting experience in his own career. He currently works for Fox Sports and cohosts the show Speak For Yourself. Acho is also no stranger to having in-depth conversations about race and racism: He's the author of the 2020 book Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, and hosts a weekly YouTube series of the same name.
While James' Bachelor season has been a rollercoaster, it seems like Acho's first experiences with the franchise are off to a positive start. "The support of me hosting After the Final Rose has been overwhelmingly supportive," he said on Twitter on Feb. 27. "Bachelor Nation, thanks for receiving me with open arms, I promise to handle it well."
The After the Final Rose special is set to air after the Bachelor finale on Monday, March 15, at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.