AUSTIN, TX – MARCH 13: NFL player Emmanuel Acho attends ‘Problem Solvers: Compensating College … [+]
Former NFL player Emmanuel Acho was announced as Chris Harrison’s replacement for The Bachelor’s After the Final Rose. Two weeks after Harrison announced that he would be stepping aside from the reality show franchise amid a racism controversy, the Fox Sports commentator was tapped to host the post-finale special.
“IT’S OFFICIAL: I’ve accepted the Rose and am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. Share the news! I’ll see y’all then!” he added.
The former ESPN football analyst joined Fox Sports in 2020 and cohosts the afternoon show Speak for Yourself. He has gained acclaim for his popular video series Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man where he encourages frank discourse about race in a safe space. Guests have included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Chelsea Handler, and Matthew McConaughey. He is the author of the New York Times NYT -1.5% bestselling novel of the same name. Acho was also a guest on the Apple AAPL +0.2% TV+ series The Oprah Conversation where he joined Oprah Winfrey to discuss race in America.
In early February, former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay interviewed Harrison for Extra. The conversation turned to current contestant Rachael Kirkconnell and the 24-year-old’s resurfaced social media posts that showed her attending an Antebellum South-themed party and wearing Native American attire as a costume. Harrison swiftly drew backlash for seemingly defending racist behavior.
Kirkconnell is a contestant on Season 25 of The Bachelor which features the first Black male lead in Matt James. He recently broke his silence on the ongoing controversy.
“Chris’ failure to receive and understand the emotional labor that my friend Rachel Lindsay was taking on by graciously and patiently explaining the racist history of the Antebellum South, a painful history that every American should understand intimately, was troubling and painful to watch,” James said in a statement.
“As Black people and allies immediately knew and understood, it was a clear reflection of a much larger issue that The Bachelor franchise has fallen short on addressing adequately for years,” he said.
In an interview with People Magazine last week, Lindsay suggested that Acho would be her pick to replace Harrison on ATFR.
“He’s very outspoken about racial injustice, for social justice, and has pretty much been the person who said, ‘I can have these uncomfortable conversations, and people trust it.’ Who better to lead it?” she said. “[He’s] someone who’s not involved with the franchise, no ties, no bias — I think it’d be great.”
Last week the long-running dating show topped Nielsen’s Live Plus Same Day adults 18-49 demographic but declined in total viewership. The usually popular hometown dates episode pulled in 5.23 million viewers which was a 5.07% drop from the previous week. This put The Bachelor in fifth place for overall viewership. It was also down 16.67% in the key demo — 1.2 versus last week’s 1.44.
I am a pop culture, sports, and business writer born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. My work has appeared in Business Insider, Sports Illustrated,