Chris Harrison is permanently stepping down as longtime host of the Bachelor franchise, the show said Tuesday.
Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment announced Harrison's departure in a statement following a Deadline report that he was leaving after taking an eight-figure payout and agreeing to keep silent on the franchise's "dirty laundry."
"We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey," the statement said, without addressing the details of his exit deal.
A spokesperson declined to comment further.
His departure marks the end of nearly two decades as host and comes just a day after the premiere of the new Bachelorette season, which is cohosted by two former women leads.
Harrison also posted on Instagram on Tuesday, saying, "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."
Harrison announced in February that he was temporarily leaving the franchise amid a racial controversy involving a contestant on Season 25 of The Bachelor, which starred the franchise's first-ever Black male lead, Matt James.
Past racist photos and social media posts from Rachael Kirkconnell, the eventual winner, resurfaced when the show aired, sparking an uproar among fans and other contestants. One of the photos showed Kirkconnell at an antebellum plantation–themed party in 2018.
In an interview, Harrison lamented the criticism directed at Kirkconnell and said that though he was "not defending Rachael," it was "a type of party that a lot of people went to."
His comments led to a huge backlash from Bachelor Nation, and Harrison later apologized for his remarks and said he would be "stepping aside for a period of time."
In an interview with Good Morning America in March, however, he said he intended to return to the franchise.
"I plan to be back and I want to be back," he said.