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Chris Harrison won’t be returning to front ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise,” Page Six has learned. And the producers are taking something of a radical new approach the show’s hosting duties.
Back in February, veteran host Harrison announced that — after becoming embroiled in a race row because he defended a former “Bachelor” contestant who had gone to an “Old South” plantation-themed party — he would be “stepping aside” for an unspecified “period of time.”
Harrison sat out a season of the “Bachelorette” but it was unclear if he’d return for its tropical spin-off.
Now we’re told that he’ll be replaced by a revolving cast of guests hosts — including somewhat surprising stand-in, “Saturday Night Live” legend David Spade.
Given that Harrison was replaced on the “Bachelorette” by former contestants Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, the smart money would have been on another alum taking the reins for the “Bachelor in Paradise.”
But sources tell Page Six that Spade was picked because he’s a “Bachelor” superfan who’s built a cult following among fellow fans because of the hilarious commentary about the show that he doles out on his Instagram account.
Spade has also recently spoken about his love of the franchise on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Meanwhile, an insider says the comic’s a fit because, “the producers want to put some fun in the show. They think it’s become too serious.”
Harrison’s downfall began after photos surfaced in February of recent “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending an antebellum-themed fraternity formal in 2018.
When asked about the shots on “Extra,” Harrison defended her saying, “We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion.”
“Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing — where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents’ voting record,” he added, “It’s unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven’t heard Rachael speak on this yet. And until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this?”
He also said the “woke police” had come for Kirkconnell.
He later wrote on Instagram, “While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf.” He added, “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry.”
It remains unclear if Harrison will return to host “Bachelor.”
He had hosted the “Bachelor,” “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” since they debuted it debuted in 2002, 2003 and 2014 respectively.
Reps didn’t get back to us.
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