'The Bachelor' Host Chris Harrison Plots Texas Move Amid Exit Speculation

Chris Harrison has served as the host of The Bachelor franchise for nearly 20 years, and some fans began speculating that he may be leaving the show amid reports that Harrison is moving from Los Angeles to Texas. Page Six was the first to share the news, reporting that Harrison is planning to build a home in the Barton Creek area of Austin, where he's allegedly planning to move with girlfriend Lauren Zima.

The 49-year-old has been hosting The Bachelor since its premiere in 2002 and has also hosted spinoffs The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad, The Bachelor Winter Games and The Bachelor Presents: Listen to Your Heart. A number of fans got worried when they heard about Harrison's rumored departure, though it seems they can rest easy for now.

According to TMZ, the move doesn't mean Harrison is leaving the long-running franchise. Production sources claimed that he is simply relocating, a decision made partly due to a new partnership deal with a local brewery and the fact that he is originally from Texas. When it comes to filming The Bachelor franchise, he plans to make the commute.

Harrison just wrapped his latest round of hosting duties, helming the latest season of The Bachelorette, which was filmed in quarantine and first starred Clare Crawley followed by Tayshia Adams. Former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher briefly filled in for Harrison during the season when he left to drop his son Joshua off at college in Texas and had to quarantine for two weeks before he could return to the show's "bubble."

On Monday, Jan. 4, the newest season of The Bachelor will premiere, starring the show's first Black lead, Matt James. James has not previously appeared on another show in the franchise, a rare move for the show during the past several years.

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"I think circumstances will dictate anything we do. I think we found the right note to hit and it made sense we would do it. I think there's a lot of things to be said for having that built-in story and rolling into the next season," Harrison told Entertainment Tonight. "We would have loved to have done that with Matt, but obviously with the pandemic we had to reverse the two because The Bachelorette was so late."

"It's really running into almost the premiere of Matt, so we didn't have that luxury [of casting a Bachelor from Bachelorette]," he continued. "But you know, never say never on this show."