Chris Harrison Speaks Out on ‘Bachelor’ Exit: ‘I’m Excited to Start a New Chapter’

ABC/Craig Sjodin

UPDATE (2 pm ET:):

Chris Harrison is speaking out on his exit from The Bachelor franchise after nearly two decades at the helm.

The now-former host of Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise (not to mention one-off Bachelor Winter Games and past series Bachelor Pad) posted a message to fans on social media Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I’m excited to start a new chapter,” he begins his caption.

“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.”

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A post shared by Chris Harrison (@chrisbharrison)

In the comments of the post, Bachelor Nation and a number of alums showed their support, including Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici, JoJo Fletcher, Emily Maynard, Arie Luyendyk Jr., and J.P. Rosenbaum.

Harrison’s statement comes after his departure was confirmed in a joint statement by Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment, which reads, “Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”

Original story (10:23 am ET):

After 19 years, Chris Harrison has exited The Bachelor franchise following the controversy around racially insensitive comments the host made earlier this year.

According to Deadline, Harrison, who has hosted The Bachelor and its various spinoffs since 2002, will receive an eight-figure payoff to leave the show with an agreement not to discuss the situation publicly. Official confirmation from ABC is expected to be released later today.

The news comes after it was revealed last week that David Spade and other celebrity guests would be filling in for Harrison on the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise. Earlier in the year, it was announced that Bachelorette favorites Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe would replace the long-serving host for the 17th season of The Bachelorette, which premiered on Monday night.

Chris Harrison to Be Replaced by Guest Hosts on 'Bachelor in Paradise'See Also

Chris Harrison to Be Replaced by Guest Hosts on 'Bachelor in Paradise'

David Spade is among those taking over hosting duties.

Harrison’s relationship with the franchise has been up in the air since earlier this year when he received backlash for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell after photos came to light showing her attending an antebellum plantation-themed party in her college days. The host later apologized and announced that he would be stepping aside from the Bachelor franchise for an undetermined amount of time.

Deadline states that Harrison’s reps have been involved in intense negotiations with Warner Bros. Television Studios and ABC over the past few days, with a settlement finally been reached on Monday night. The publication also claims that Harrison’s lawyer threatened to expose The Bachelor‘s alleged dirty laundry unless his client was provided an agreeable financial payout.

There has been no official word as of yet from ABC or Warner Bros. Television Studios regarding Harrison’s exit or the future of the Bachelor franchise.