A different type of season. For the first time since the Bachelor franchise began in 2002, Chris Harrison will not host the upcoming season of The Bachelorette — and everyone can feel the shift on set.
“There were a lot of very last-minute changes,” a source exclusively told Us Weekly about the decision to have Harrison, 49, step aside and bring in former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe to cohost. “It’s a different vibe. … Chris was the glue that holds it together. He’s like the father figure to everybody. He’s someone everybody knows and respects and truly loves.”
A second insider noted that those working behind-the-scenes on the show aren’t as comfortable without Harrison at the helm. “Some crew have been with him since the beginning so it’s just a weird feeling not having him around after almost 20 years of working with him,” the source said. “People might not realize how involved he is with filming, but he plays a huge role on the show and behind scenes. He’s on set 24/7 and keeps everything together.”
In February, the longtime host came under fire after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell‘s racially-charged Instagram posts. He later apologized for his comments and announced his decision to step back from the franchise.
The second source added that while Harrison was “always on hand to help out” on set, Bristowe, 35, and Adams, 30, “do their own thing” when not filming.
“He was interacting and mingling with everybody because he knew a lot of people,” the insider added. “It’s different just having the women as cohosts since they don’t know everyone as well.”
The show also worked hard to increase BIPOC representation, a third source told Us, adding that they have “a very diverse crew.”
Following the new host announcement in March, Adams, 30, shared that she spoke to Harrison before the news was shared with the world. “He was so kind and congratulated me for being a part of the next season meant the absolute world,” she said via Instagram at the time.
During the Thursday, April 22, episode of the “Going to Bed With Garcelle” podcast, she commented on the fans “looking for change” within the franchise, teasing, “I really think that this is something that they’re going to be really excited about.”
Katie Thurston‘s season of The Bachelorette kicks off on ABC Monday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Diana Cooper