Former Bachelor Jesse Palmer is coming back to help dole out roses, but not everyone is happy about the casting decision. The ABC series made the official announcement late Tuesday, confirming that the Season 5 frontman will host the show’s 26th season when it returns sometime next year.
Palmer, a former NFL star with experience hosting series like The Ultimate Surfer, takes over from Chris Harrison, who exited the franchise earlier this year. So far Palmer is only on board for one year, as the show hasn’t been renewed beyond that, but Variety reports the plan is for him to eventually come on as host for both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
For now, when The Bachelorette returns in October, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will still co-host, as was previously announced. As for the next Bachelor contestant? Variety also reports that Clayton Echard is the next frontman, although neither ABC nor Warner Bros., who produces the show, has confirmed that casting. Production kicks off this week.
Some fans were thrilled by the choice for the new host, given Palmer’s history with the franchise and his previous television experience. However many other viewers were pretty disappointed that the series, which has faced understandable criticism over its systemic racism, would opt for another white, male host.
Then there’s the contingent of fans who were really holding out for Wells Adams to be the new host. They also shared their disappointment online following the Palmer decision.
When Palmer starred as the leading man back in 2004, the then 25-year-old Canadian made franchise history as the first non-American star and the youngest suitor at the time. He eventually wound up with contestant Jessica Bowlin, but they split up shortly after the finale. Now the personality is engaged to model Emely Fardo, whom he’s been seeing since 2017.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Palmer said in a statement. “Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”
In addition to hosting The Ultimate Surfer, Palmer has experience as a commentator on ESPN and as a special contributor on Good Morning America and ABC News. He previously hosted The Proposal in 2018, and he has hosted the NFL Draft and ABC Disney Parks’ holiday specials. In Canada, he also serves as an analyst on TSN.
The Bachelor is expected to return early next year.
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