Entertainment

New host announced for The Bachelor following Chris Harrison's departure

The dating series is hugely popular in the US.

Former NFL star Jesse Palmer has been named as the new host of US TV show The Bachelor, it has been announced.

Palmer, 42, previously appeared as a contestant on the massively popular dating series in 2004.

He replaces Chris Harrison, whose departure was confirmed earlier this year after controversy surrounding his defence of a contestant accused of racism.

Palmer, a Canadian who played in the NFL for the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, said: “For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own.

“Falling in love is one of life’s greatest gifts and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from first-hand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey.”

Palmer’s other TV jobs include Good Morning America and reality series The Proposal.

The Bachelor is a US TV juggernaut for network ABC.

Since launching in 2002, it has attracted millions of fans and spawned numerous spin-offs – including an ill-fated British version which aired briefly on BBC Three and later Channel 5.

The franchise was rocked by a race controversy earlier this year when pictures emerged of contestant Rachael Kirkconnell attending a plantation-themed party in 2018.

Critics said the party – said to have celebrated the “Old South” – was racist.

Harrison, the popular long-time host of The Bachelor, initially defended Kirkconnell and later departed the franchise, which has long been criticised for a lack of diversity.

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