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Jesse Palmer Named ‘The Bachelor’ Host for Season 26

Former football player starred on the ABC dating show back in 2004

ABC has found its new host of “The Bachelor,” tapping former contestant Jesse Palmer to take over for Chris Harrison for the dating show’s 26th season.

Palmer, a former NFL football player and current ESPN analyst since 2007, starred in the fifth season of the show.

Harrison left the long-running dating franchise, which he hosted since its inception in 2002, following the fallout from his comments regarding racial issues in an interview about a “Bachelor” contestant.

Harrison temporarily stepped aside from Matt James’ season of “The Bachelor” in February when fans called into question the show’s handling of race and criticized Harrison for an interview in which he appeared to defend contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s past racist actions. Harrison later apologized for the interview, saying he is “dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”

Harrison said in his own statement, posted to Instagram: “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to ‘Bachelor’ Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

Former “Bachelorette” stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe stepped in to host both 2021 seasons of “The Bachelorette.”