ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” is getting a slew of new celebrity hosts now that the franchise’s longtime host Chris Harrison announced his exit following his defense of a former contestant’s past racism.
The franchise confirmed Wednesday that it would be adding guest hosts Lil Jon, Tituss Burgess, David Spade and Lance Bass. “Bachelor in Paradise” features former contestants from the network’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” shows.
Formerly rejected contestants are isolated together in a tropical destination and given a chance to enter into new romances. The series debuted in 2014 as an expansion to the franchise following the success of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”
News of the star-studded squad of hosts comes only a day after ABC announced Harrison would be leaving as the face of the franchise after nearly 20 years. Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a statement Tuesday that they were “thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.”
Harrison released a brief statement to his social media thanking fans for his “incredible run” as host.
"I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together," Harrison said. "While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime."
He first stepped aside as host in February after he defended former "Bachelor" contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was shown in photos attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Harrison was faced with widespread backlash after defending Kirkconnell during an "Extra" interview with former "Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay.
In his interview with Lindsay, Harrison expressed sympathy for Kirkconnell and implied that the criticism directed against her was unfair because the photos were from the past.
When Lindsay said it was not a good look that Kirkconnell attended a party celebrating the antebellum South — a time period when slavery was present — Harrison said: “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
"It's not a good look ever," Lindsay, who is Black, said in response. "If I went to that party, what would I represent at that party?"
Harrison subsequently apologized for his remarks on ABC News' "Good Morning America,” saying he was an “imperfect man” and was “committed to progress.” He also said that he was seeking guidance from a "race educator and strategist," who is teaching him how to learn from this experience and move forward. He added that his departure was "not the finish line."
"There is much more work to be done," he said.
ABC’s “The Bachelorette” premiered for its 17th season on Monday, with former Bachelorettes' Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe joining as guest co-hosts.