For the first time in “The Bachelor” franchise history, Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host — but only for a handful of episodes, as Harrison is heading into quarantine as a safety precaution, after briefly leaving the set of the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette.”
Former “Bachelorette” star JoJo Fletcher, who starred on Season 12 of the ABC dating show in 2016, will fill in for Harrison during the days of shooting when he is under quarantine, Variety has confirmed with sources close to production.
ABC and Warner Bros. TV were not immediately available for comment, though the network and studio typically do not comment on casting rumors related to “The Bachelor” franchise when shows are in production.
Harrison left the set to drop his son off at college. Earlier this week, he posted on Instagram that he had dropped off his son at Texas Christian University.
Due to the strict safety precautions on the set of “The Bachelorette” during the coronavirus pandemic, even Harrison would not be able to return to the cast and crew without completing a multi-day quarantine.
The current season of “The Bachelorette” is filming in Palm Springs, Calif. with the entire cast and crew at a rented-out resort, essentially in a bubble, to keep production safe. “The Bachelorette” was the first major show in the U.S. to head back into production, after the industry-wide COVID-19 shutdown, and was only able to do so because of fully quarantining the entire team on the production. All cast and crew members have been living on-site at the resort, and each individual was tested before they entered the venue with regular testing and temperature checks occurring.
Sources say that Harrison will return to host the final episodes of the season, but that Fletcher will fill in for a few episodes in the middle of the season. The host switch-up was first reported by Us Weekly.
Fletcher — who is currently engaged to Jordan Rodgers, the man she met on her season of “Bachelorette” — has pivoted to hosting, following her time on the ABC dating show. The couple hosts their own home renovation show, CNBC’s “Cash Pad,” and Fletcher has done guest correspondence work on entertainment news shows including “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra” and “Access Hollywood.” Ever since she starred as “The Bachelorette,” she has remained in “The Bachelor” family, appearing on many shows within the ABC franchise.
This season of “The Bachelorette” has seen more behind-the-scenes drama than any reality TV producer could ever dream of creating.
It’s not just the hosts that will be seeing double; there will also be two leading ladies, as the original star, Clare Crawley, left mid-season when she found love with one of the suitors early on, and is expected to be replaced by Tayshia Adams, who is said to be currently filming her journey for the back-half of the season. While ABC and Warner Bros. TV have not commented on the unprecedented switch-a-roo, insiders told Variety that Crawley’s departure and Adams’ arrival will all play out on-screen this fall when the season airs.
With two “Bachelorettes” and two hosts, the season is making history in more ways than one — and that’s not even considering filming during a global pandemic.