Over the past twenty years, Chris Harrison has become just as essential to the Bachelor franchise as roses and Neil Lane engagement rings. Thankfully, Harrison is not leaving The Bachelor anytime soon, even though there's been some chatter online that the beloved host might be retiring. Rumors about Harrison's departure first began swirling after Page Six reported on Tuesday, Dec. 29, that he and girlfriend Lauren Zima decided to move from Los Angeles, California, to Austin, Texas.
However, a source close to production told TMZ that Harrison's big move has nothing to do with The Bachelor. Harrison, a Texas native, decided to relocate "partly because of a recent partnership deal he struck with a local brewery," according to the source, who added that he plans to "commute" to L.A. during filming. The host's eldest son, Joshua, is also a freshman at Texas Christian University, which could have also played a role in his decision to move.
Regardless, the news caused longtime fans of the reality series to worry that Harrison might be preparing to sign off after two decades on the show. And while some loyal viewers weren't necessarily opposed to Harrison passing the torch to Bachelor in Paradise bartender Wells Adams, the majority of Bachelor Nation was more upset by the rumors than all of the show's heartbroken contestants combined.
During Tayshia's season of The Bachelorette, Harrison took his first break from hosting the show since 2009 to drop his son off at college. (Due to the pandemic, that meant Harrison would have to leave the show's bubble and then quarantine again upon his return.) He was replaced by former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher, who explained that there is a great deal of pressure that comes along with the prospect of stepping into the role of host.
"I was obviously super excited that they would even think of me to do that or trust me to do that, but definitely nervous," Fletcher told Us Weekly in October. "I mean, Chris makes it look incredibly easy because he's really good at his job, you know? I feel like I did my best." The former lead also made sure she remained true to herself instead of trying to be too much like Chris. "I'm never going to be Chris Harrison," she added.
Despite his reliable presence, Harrison told Insider that he is "very careful" about deciding when and in what capacity he should appear on the show. "As a producer and host, I understand that my presence means something. I kind of talk about myself as an entity. When I'm in a situation, I need to be there for a reason," he said. Harrison also added that he sees himself as more than just a host. "I'm there as a confidante," he continued. "I'm there as a friend."