Does The Bachelor Really Need Their Original Host Anymore?
It’s no secret that The Bachelor has forever changed the landscape of reality television since its debut in 2002. The OG dating competition show now has millions of viewers every season, a nationwide cult following (Bachelor Nation), and several spin-offs like The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise.
And this current season is one of the most controversial seasons in history. We are winding down on the 25th season with our milestone lead Matt James, who is the first black Bachelor on the show. At the end of the day, the producers are trying to find people to cast that are going to make good TV and raise more conversations.
However, with a show franchise as massive as this one comes curious fans. Bachelor Nation will dive into the depths of the internet to learn more about the lives of every contestant. Right away, one of the most controversial contestants thus far is James’ frontrunner, Rachael Kirkconnell.
A viral TikTok came out during the season premiere claiming Rachael and her friends bullied the creator of the video in high school for being romantically interested in black guys. Unfortunately, that’s only one of several racist and indigenous allegations that have surfaced from Rachael’s past.
So with that, plus the overload of forced and abundantly produced drama, this season of the show is one of the most negatively received. And Chris Harrison “stepping away” from the show for an indefinite amount of time only adds to the mixed bag.
Harrison has temporarily stepped away from the show, and will not be hosting the “After the Final Rose” special. While many people see Chris Harrison as an irreplaceable host, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and the producers now have the opportunity to take the show in other directions.
He Didn’t Put Himself in a Good Light Before Stepping Away
One of the biggest and most controversial reasons behind Chris Harrison stepping away as the host is the recent backlash he has received in an interview with Rachel Lindsay, a former contestant.
Chris nearly killed his career by giving Kirkconnell a safe space to reflect but was very defensive towards Lindsay.
“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?”
More specifically, one of the allegations that surfaced about Kirkconnell was she had dressed up at a college party as Pocahontas and exemplified cultural appropriation. Harrison then went on to say that a lens was “not focused” on racism in 2018 as much as it is now in 2021. That right there shows the ignorance and privilege that sits at the core of this show and host.
He further went on to be gruff towards Linsday by saying:
“When is the time? And who is Rachael Lindsay? And who is Chris Harrison? And who is whatever woke police person out there, who are you? I think he should, I think she should, who the hell are you?”
In other words, Chris Harrison was able to give a white woman the space to reflect and (eventually) apologize to the masses for her inappropriate actions. Yet, when Lindsay was genuinely offended by her actions that were looming around the internet (for six weeks at that point), Harrison was quick to dismiss her feelings. Not a good look at all Chris.
This was initially the spark that led to Chris’s inevitable leave of absence. All in all, more people need to educate themselves every day on the gravity of these issues. But, when a host has been turning a blind eye to racist allegations in his own show for decades and not noticing them until 2021 is concerning.
The Black Lives Matter Movement has led to many public figures stepping in and out of the spotlight based on their reputation and past allegations. It’s clear from this interview Chris was someone who needs some distance to reflect, so maybe it’s not a bad thing he isn’t the host right now.
Some So Many People Could Take His Place
The Bachelor is on its twenty-fifth season, The Bachelorette has completed 16 seasons, and Bachelor in Paradise has completed six seasons. Hundreds of people have competed and dozens have returned for spin-offs or to be the next leads.
If anything, having old cast members make a comeback as a guest host could change the pace and mood of the show. ABC could take it further by making it interactive and having the fans vote on who they would like to see as a guest host.
Why not have the first Bachelor, Alex Michel, as a guest host? Or the first Bachelorette (coincidentally from Alex’s season) Trista Sutter? Or even have one of the couples that are still together now co-host an episode?
ABC had no issues finding a new host for “After the Final Rose” and finding one fast. They selected Emmanuel Acho to fill in and many people are thrilled. If this show was a person, it would currently be a freshman in college. Maybe now is the time for Harrison to pass the reigns onto someone else.
He Adds Little to Nothing to The Show’s Value
Finally, something I think is worth mentioning is does The Bachelor franchise really need a host?
Aside from The Tell All episodes, and After the Final Rose, many of the episodes don't really require a host. If you’ve ever seen a traditional episode of The Bachelor, Chris Harrison only pops in to tell the eliminated contestants to say their goodbyes at the end of each rose ceremony. Aside from that, he will periodically deliver date cards and talk to the lead about how their feeling.
However, with the right editing and formatting, the show really doesn't need someone to guide them when they have a team of producers behind the camera anyways. The lead and contestants already film interviews with the producers, why do they need Chris there too?
Not to mention Chris will also pop in to say “Ladies, it’s the final rose. Matt, when you’re ready…”. Obviously, this is just for suspense and dramatic effect, but as a viewer at home, I never thought it seemed vital.
Overall, The Bachelor franchise and ABC have more than enough resources to replace Chris Harrison or just completely ditch the idea of having a host. Chriss Harrison stepping aside could actually be the kick the show needs to grab peoples’ attention again.
If The Bachelor franchise plays their cards right, the show changing hosts or styles is a breath of fresh air. I'm intrigued to see how the producers take it from here, and even more optimistic to see how Harrison’s temporary absence could revolutionize the future of the show.