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'Bachelor' taps Jesse Palmer to host 26th season

Palmer, a TV broadcaster and former NFL quarterback, was the “Bachelor” for Season 5.
Image: Jesse Palmer
Jesse Palmer, pictured at the Peach Bowl college football game in Atlanta on Dec. 28, 2019, has been named the next host of "The Bachelor."Aaron M. Sprecher / AP file

Jesse Palmer has accepted ABC's rose.

Palmer, the television broadcaster, former NFL quarterback and "Bachelor" Season 5 alum, has been tapped to host the show's 26th season, which will air next year.

"Welcome back, @jessepalmer!" the show said Tuesday night on Twitter and Instagram. "Jesse Palmer will be hosting the upcoming season of #TheBachelor."

Palmer will become the host after Chris Harrison, who hosted the popular franchise for nearly 20 years, exited after having defended a contestant's past racist behavior.

Harrison stepped aside in February amid controversy after he defended Rachael Kirkconnell, who was shown in photos attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity formal in 2018. Harrison made the comments defending Kirkconnell in an "Extra" interview with former "Bachelorette" Rachel Lindsay.

Harrison admitted later in an interview with ABC News' "Good Morning America" that he had "made a mistake."

After Harrison's exit, the franchise named "Bachelorette" alums Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe as interim hosts of the "The Bachelorette," which premieres Oct. 19.

"Bachelor In Paradise," which is airing now, has had a slew of celebrity guest hosts this season, including David Spade and Lil Jon.

Palmer found love during his season of the show in 2004. But a month after the finale, he and Jessica Bowlin — who received his final rose — ended their relationship.

Palmer is no stranger to hosting — he has been an analyst for ESPN since 2007, and in 2018, he was host of "The Proposal," which was created by "Bachelor" boss Mike Fleiss. He has also hosted for the Food Network.

Variety, citing "insiders," reported that the hope is for Palmer to continue with the franchise in the future. However, "nothing is set in stone," according to the publication.

Wilson Wong and Diana Dasrath contributed.