Lil Jon, Tituss Burgess, Lance Bass Will Replace Chris Harrison on ‘Bachelor in Paradise’
Chris Harrison is being replaced by a slew of celebrities on “Bachelor in Paradise” this summer: Lil Jon, David Spade, Tituss Burgess, Lance Bass and more, Variety has learned.
The celebs will serve as rotating hosts through the summer season, which just went into production in Mexico this week.
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Deals have closed for Lil Jon, Spade, Burgess and Bass, Variety has confirmed with ABC.
Variety has also learned that “Bachelor” super-fan couple, Wells Adams and “Modern Family” star Sarah Hyland, will appear on “Bachelor in Paradise” this summer, though their deals have not closed and their roles are undisclosed, at this time. ABC declined to comment.
While the group of celebrities are temporary guest hosts just for the summer season (at this point, at least), ABC will soon be on the search for a more permanent host, following Tuesday’s news that Harrison is leaving the franchise permanently.
Harrison has been the sole host of “The Bachelor” franchise since day one, launching the monster hit dating franchise in 2002.
He came under fire for defending a contestant, Rachael Kirkconnell, with racially insensitive comments that blew up into a media firestorm that never settled down — the result was him stepping away with a settlement to stay quiet, but not without dramatic negotiations. Insiders told Variety that Harrison’s attorney, power lawyer Bryan Freedman, was “outraged” at the network and studio’s handling of the situation, believing his client was essentially a scapegoat for the franchise’s issues. (Freedman, when contacted by Variety, has declined to comment for all stories on the matter.)
Harrison made a friendly statement, upon his departure on Tuesday, writing, “I’ve had a truly incredible run as host of ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, and now I’m excited to start a new chapter. 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.”
Kirkconnell’s controversy started to snowball at the beginning of the year. The contestant — who is currently back in a relationship with the first-ever Black “Bachelor” star, Matt James — attended an antebellum-themed plantation fraternity party back in 2018 when she was in college. When photos resurfaced in early 2021, Harrison defended her during an interview with former “Bachelorette” Rachel Lindsay, diminishing the severity of the photos, arguing with Lindsay and saying, “Well, Rachel, is it a good look in 2018? Or, is it not a good look in 2021? Because there’s a big difference.”
After the widely-panned interview, Harrison announced he’d be stepping aside. He was replaced by Emmanuel Acho on “After the Final Rose,” with the substitute host receiving rave reviews. And now, Harrison has been replaced by former “Bachelorette” stars, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe, on the current season of “The Bachelorette,” which premiered Monday.
Following “Bachelor in Paradise” this summer, production will begin on yet another season of “The Bachelorette,” starring one of James’ contestants, Michelle Young. While no host has been announced for that season, which will air in fall 2021, Adams and Bristowe received a warm welcome on Twitter for their premiere episode Monday, and having two former “Bachelorettes” would make sense for a new female-fronted season.
As for “Bachelor in Paradise,” Season 7 marks the return of the fan-favorite guilty pleasure, which was skipped last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down production in 2020.
Despite previous reports over the past few days, Variety sources firmly stated that “Bachelor in Paradise” would be hosted by a rotating group of hosts.
Lil Jon, the Grammy-winning crunk rapper, appeared as a guest on Season 14 of “The Bachelorette” during a one-on-one date with Becca Kufrin. Spade is a “Bachelor” super-fan, who has become known for his live commentary of episodes. Burgess is an award-winning actor from “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt;” Lance Bass is a former boy bander from NSYNC, and will mark the first out LGBTQ person to be cast on “The Bachelor” franchise, in any capacity.
Adams is a former “Bachelor” contestant, who became a fan-favorite and eventually the bartender on “Bachelor in Paradise. Along with his beau, “Modern Family” actor Hyland, the duo is “Bachelor” super-fans.
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