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Emmanuel Acho Replaces Chris Harrison as Host of ‘Bachelor’ Finale’s ‘After the Final Rose’ With Matt James

Emmanuel Acho is stepping in for Chris Harrison as the new host of the After the Final Rose special for Matt James’ season 25 of The Bachelor.

Related: Bachelor Nation Reacts to Chris Harrison Interview

The former NFL linebacker and Fox Sports analyst hosts the weekly web series Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man.

Emmanuel Acho Replaces Chris Harrison for Bachelor’s ‘After the Final Rose’
Emmanuel Acho Chris Pavlica

Acho, 30, will anchor the special airing on Monday, March 15, immediately after the season finale of The Bachelor. He will sit down with James as well as the final three women, Rachael Kirkconnell, Michelle Young and Bri Springs, to talk about his season and the controversy over Kirkconnell’s past racist actions that saw Harrison, 49, temporarily step down as Bachelor host after he defended her.

In an Instagram post confirming the news on Saturday, February 27, Acho wrote, “I’ve accepted the Rose and am honored to be hosting the @bachelorabc After the Final Rose this year. It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. Share the news! I’ll see y’all then!”

Related: 5 Things to Know About Bachelor's 'After the Final Rose' Host Emmanuel Acho

“I’m the author of 2020 NYT best seller, ‘Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.’ A book that answers all the racial questions you’ve been too afraid to ask. Go read it,” he added. “I also graduated from the University of Texas with a masters degree, I played for 4 years in the NFL, and I currently host a sports show, @sfyonfs1. Lastly, I love being a bridge for reconciliation. Our world is disconnected & divided, my goal is to unify.”

Replaces Chris Harrison as Host of ‘Bachelor’ Finale’s ‘After the Final Rose’ With Matt James
Chris Harrison ABC/Craig Sjodin

Harrison revealed on February 13 that he was taking a temporary leave from The Bachelor after his controversial remarks. “This historic season of The Bachelor should not be marred or overshadowed by my mistakes or diminished by my actions,” he wrote in a lengthy Instagram statement at the time. “To that end, I have consulted with Warner Bros. and ABC and will be stepping aside for a period of time and will not join for the After the Final Rose special. I am dedicated to getting educated on a more profound and productive level than ever before.”

Related: Biggest Bachelor Nation Scandals of All Time

The longtime franchise host once again apologized for his defense of the graphic designer, 24, and vowed to work on himself. “From here I can only try to evolve and be a better man, and I humble myself before all of you,” he noted. “I hope I will again live up to the expectations you all rightfully have for me and the expectations I have for myself.”

Harrison made headlines on February 9 when he addressed allegations of racism against Kirkconnell during an Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay. “First and foremost, I don’t know [exactly what’s going on]. I haven’t talked to Rachael about it, we all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion,” he told the season 13 Bachelorette, 35. “I have seen some stuff online. Again, this judge, jury, executioner thing where people are just tearing this girl’s life apart. … Until I actually hear this woman have a chance to speak, who am I to say any of this.”

Related: Stars Fired From Reality Shows Through the Years

Bachelor Nation alums subsequently called out Harrison, which led him to walk back his comments on February 10. “What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry,” he wrote via Instagram. “I also apologize to my friend Rachel Lindsay for not listening to her better on a topic she has first hand understanding of, and humbly thank the members of Bachelor Nation who have reached out to me to hold me accountable. I promise to do better.”

Kirkconnell, meanwhile, broke her silence on the claims against her on February 11. “I’m here to say I was wrong,” she admitted via Instagram. “At one point, I didn’t recognize how offensive and racist my actions were, but that doesn’t excuse them. My age or when it happened does not excuse anything. They are not acceptable or okay in any sense. I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist.”

Us editors discuss Colton Underwood’s coming out in this Here for the Right Reasons podcast highlight!

For his part, James, 29, showed support for Lindsay amid the controversy. “I am beyond grateful to have Rachel as a mentor during this season,” he noted via his Instagram Story on February 12. “Your advocacy of BIPOC people in the franchise is invaluable, I stand with you and the rest of the women advocating for change and accountability.”

The Bachelor airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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