The Bachelor has found its new host.
Earlier this month, Chris Harrison announced he was “stepping aside” from the ABC franchise after he received backlash for defending the controversy surrounding contestant Rachael Kirkconnell during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Following the longtime host’s departure, many have wondered who would take his place, especially since Matt James‘ season of The Bachelor is currently airing. Well, Bachelor Nation fans no longer have to guess.
On Saturday, Feb. 27, Emmanuel Acho announced he will be hosting The Bachelor: After the Final Rose special—which is scheduled to air on Monday, March 15.
“IT’S OFFICIAL,” he began his Instagram caption. “I’ve accepted the Rose and am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year. It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. Share the news! I’ll see y’all then!”
The 30-year-old star then shared a few fun facts about himself, including bits about his NFL career, his college education and his work.
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“I’m the author of 2020 NYT best seller, ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.’ A book that answers all the racial questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. Go read it,” he noted, adding, “Lastly, I love being a bridge for reconciliation. Our world is disconnected & divided, my goal is to unify.”
After making his announcement, Emmanuel opened up about taking on the ABC franchise in the upcoming special.
“It’s both an honor and privilege to be hosting After the Final Rose,” Emmanuel said in a statement shared with E! News. “This is an incredibly pivotal episode on one of the most storied shows in television history.”
According to a press release shared with E! News, the author will sit down with Matt James to discuss his season of the dating series, along with the controversy surrounding the show. The former NFL star will also have a conversation with the final three women: Bri Springs, Michelle Young and Rachael.
Earlier this week, Rachel Lindsay said she’d love to see Emmanuel host The Bachelor and even noted that Rachael was “reading his book, so it kind of all makes perfect sense.”
Speaking on the Bachelor Party podcast on Feb. 23, The Bachelorette alum explained why she felt Chris’ replacement shouldn’t be part of the franchise’s bubble. Put simply, she said it should “be somebody people trust to have these conversations.”
“Emmanuel would be great,” she added. “He’s not biased in any way, he doesn’t watch the show, he doesn’t know the people involved. He should be there to be able to facilitate a conversation that we need to see happen.”
In recent weeks, the dating series has been embroiled in controversy. On Monday, Feb. 22, Matt addressed both Rachael and Chris’ scandals head-on.
“The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging of my life,” he began his Instagram post, “and while there are several episodes left of the season, it is important that I take the time to address the troubling information that has come to light since we wrapped filming, including the incredibly disappointing photos of Rachael Kirkconnell and the interview between Rachel Lindsay and Chris Harrison.”
“The reality is that I’m learning about these situations in real-time,” he pointed out, “and it has been devastating and heartbreaking, to put it bluntly.”
“Chris’ failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch,” Matt continued, “As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years.”
In the wake of the show’s controversy, Rachel has had to deactivate her Instagram account after receiving “hateful” comments. On Friday, Feb. 26, Rachel’s Higher Learning podcast co-host Van Lathan shared in more detail why she deleted her page.
“She did it because that’s how much hate she is getting from Bachelor fans, who are spamming her with all kinds of rude, hateful things to say,” Van said in a video posted on his Instagram. “Y’all gotta get a f–king life, seriously.”
“This harassment is going too far,” he captioned his post, “@chrisharrison Are you okay with people getting at Rachel to the point she can’t even exist on IG. Is anyone from the entire ‘Bachelor Nation’ going to stand up and condemn this harassment of a Black woman? Yo it’s just a f–king TV SHOW, y’all need to relax for real. I love you RACH. F–k these people.”
Bachelor Nation stars have expressed their support for The Bachelorette alum. Moreover, many former and current contestants have also banded together to call for change within the franchise.
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