Chris Harrison confirms exit as 'Bachelor' franchise host: 'I'm excited to start a new chapter'

Chris Harrison is officially out of The Bachelor franchise — and he's breaking his silence about it.

Deadline reported early Tuesday that the reality show host reached an eight-figure deal to end his contract as host of the reality show and its spin-offs. Harrison, who has hosted the franchise since 2002, confirmed the end of his "truly incredible run" soon after. It follows Harrison temporarily stepping aside from the role in February after being accused of "excusing historical racism."

"I've had a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise and now I'm excited to start a new chapter," Harrison, 49, wrote on social media.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

He continued, "I'm so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we've made together. While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I've made will last a lifetime."

Warner Horizon, the production company behind the franchise, and ABC Entertainment confirmed Harrison's departure in a statement: "Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey."

THE BACHELOR -
Warner Horizon, the production company behind the franchise, and ABC Entertainment confirmed Harrison's departure in a statement: "Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey." (Kelsey McNeal via Getty Images)

In February, Harrison announced he'd be "stepping aside" from the franchise after apologizing for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was accused of racism. During Season 25 of The Bachelor, starring the first Black bachelor in the show's 21-year history, photos of Kirkconnell, a white contestant, at a 2018 fraternity party with an antebellum plantation theme were resurfaced. Additionally, a TikTok user alleged that Kirkconnell had once bullied her for dating a Black man.

Harrison became involved when he told Rachel Lindsay, the franchise's first Black bachelorette in 2017, during an Extra interview that he sympathized with Kirkconnell. He said, "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion. Because I have seen some stuff online — this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl's life apart and diving into, like, her parents, her parents' voting record. It's unbelievably alarming to watch this. I haven't heard Rachael speak on this yet. Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this? I saw a picture of her at a sorority party five years ago and that's it."

He initially apologized.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Days later, he issued a longer more formal apology and said he'd be temporarily stepping aside.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Emmanuel Acho — a best-selling author, former NFL player and TV host — stepped in as Harrison's"After the Final Rose" replacement for James's season.

Last week, it was revealed that David Spade and others would guest-hosting the next season of Bachelor in Paradise this summer.

According to Deadline, Harrison will walk away with a "mid-range eight-figure payoff and promise to keep his mouth shut." No permanent replacement has been announced.

Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette premiered Monday night. Former BachelorettesTayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe stepped in as the first female hosts of the series.

Read more from Yahoo Entertainment: