With Chris Harrison stepping aside for Matt James‘ “After the Final Rose” ceremony, it’s up in the air who will fill his shoes — but we’ve learned it might be someone outside the franchise.
Sources directly familiar with the production tell TMZ … ABC appears to be seeking someone who’s not part of ‘Bachelor’ nation to replace Harrison for the swiftly-approaching shoot. That means no former bachelors, bachelorettes or their suitors … no matter how popular they are.
Essentially, our sources say producers now seem to have their sights set on someone without ties to the series — but who’s still part of ABC’s talent pool. That said, they did make a run at one alum.
We’re told Rachel Lindsay — the first Black ‘Bachelorette’ — was asked to take up the mantle, but she declined. She’s publicly suggested they consider FS1 sports analyst Emmanuel Acho — who’s not only Black, but also outspoken on issues of race. Let’s face it, that’s going to be a major topic when cameras roll for ‘ATFR.’
Despite Rachel’s endorsement, Emmanuel’s rep tells us no one’s reached out to them yet.
Fans have also been clamoring for Tayshia Adams — the second-ever Black ‘Bachelorette’ — to step up in Harrison’s place. She’s been vocal about the show’s racism controversy lately, but producers have not tapped her
It’s unclear if ABC’s specifically looking for a POC for this gig — but all signs seem to point to that being highly considered. It’s gonna be a sensitive episode … not just because of the Harrison fallout, but a potential faceoff between Matt and Rachael Kirkconnell, who’s rumored to be the winner.
Matt has already touched on the range of emotions he’s feeling now — and only time will tell how it plays out in front of a live audience. Stay tuned …