Jesse Palmer

Jesse Palmer Is the New Host of ‘The Bachelor' for Season 26

The news comes more than three months after longtime host Chris Harrison's exit from "The Bachelor" franchise

Jesse Palmer
Byron Cohen via Getty Images

Jesse Palmer, will you accept this rose and be the new host of "The Bachelor?"

Indeed he will. The 42-year-old former football pro is officially taking over the emcee duties for season 26 of the ABC dating franchise, the network announced Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Palmer is certainly familiar with the franchise. He starred on the fifth season of "The Bachelor" in 2004. He gave his finale rose to Jessica Bowlin, but they broke up shortly after the show aired. He is now engaged to model Emely Fardo.

Palmer said in a statement, "For more than 20 years, 'The Bachelor' has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own. 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."

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Palmer has also hosted several series — including "The Proposal," "Holiday Baking Championship" and "The Ultimate Surfer" — and is a football analyst for ESPN.

This may really be the most dramatic season of “The Bachelor” ever. After naming its first Black Bachelor, Matt James, the iconic dating show was confronted with racist photos taken by one of the leading contestants. In the aftermath, host Chris Harrison announced he is stepping back from the franchise and Emmanuel Acho will step up to host the show’s post-finale live special. LX Host Ashley Holt and The Root's Maiysha Kai explain the drama and why it matters.

The news comes more than three months after longtime host Chris Harrison's exit from "The Bachelor" franchise. In February, he announced he was "stepping aside for a period of time."

The move came days after Harrison's "Extra" interview with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay in which he defended Rachael Kirkconnell, a former contestant from Matt James' season of "The Bachelor" who received backlash after photos of her attending an antebellum plantation-themed fraternity ball in 2018 resurfaced online.

Harrison came under fire and apologized for "speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism." Kirkconnell also said she's "sorry to the communities and individuals" that her "actions harmed and offended."

In June, Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment confirmed Harrison would not be returning to "The Bachelor" franchise.

Former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe hosted both Katie Thurston's and Michelle Young's season of "The Bachelorette," and there was a series of celebrity guests on "Bachelor in Paradise." Now, ABC is getting ready for season 26 of "The Bachelor," which will reportedly star Clayton Echard and premiere in 2022.

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