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Kaitlyn Bristowe paid a visit to Chris Harrison’s recently launched podcast to set a few things straight about her taking over his role on The Bachelor franchise following his high-profile exit.
Her two-episode visit to The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever … With Chris Harrison was prompted by the pair wanting to set the record straight about how their relationship changed when she took on co-hosting the franchise with Tayshia Adams following Harrison’s departure in 2021. During the conversation, Bristowe and Harrison agreed that she and Adams were “set up to fail.”
After stepping aside during the controversial 25th season of The Bachelor, Harrison — who hosted The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and other spinoffs within the franchise since 2002 — exited his role upon reaching a confidential settlement. Adams and Bristowe then were tapped to lead both 2021 seasons of The Bachelorette.
The former Bachelorettes were labeled as “mentors” by the ABC and Warner Horizon franchise, in a careful distinction at the time from Harrison’s veteran shoes as host. Speaking to Harrison, Bristowe noted that her role was titled mentor instead of host because, “they didn’t want to pay me what they paid you to host.”
Bristowe spoke about having “imposter syndrome” once she realized that she and Adams were indeed hired to fill Harrison’s hosting shoes: “When I went into it — blind — I got there and started reading off a prompter and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, so we are definitely hosting.’ That’s when I knew it was actually happening.” She said she and Adams weren’t prepped on how to host the franchise: “There was no training involved. It was kind of like, ‘Just go out there and be yourselves!'”
She also questioned why having two of them was necessary, which prompted Harrison to share his feelings around their roles. “The only thing that really upset me when I heard that you and Tayshia were hosting was that it was you and Tayshia, and that they named two of you. Because you were doomed to fail. You were set up to fail. That was never going to succeed.”
He continued, “There’s not room for two people; there’s not room for two mentors. There’s not room for two emotions in that mental space that you’re taking over. So, that was just never going to work.”
Bristowe agreed that it “took away the level of professionalism” to have two of them hosting. “It kind of made us feel silly and goofy with each other where we didn’t take it as serious as one person would have and, like you said, there really isn’t enough room for two people to be in that position.” She added, “I don’t know why I was shocked when they were like, ‘We’re not having you back for next season. You probably saw this coming.’ And I was like, ‘What! I did not!'”
At the end of the second season, Bristowe got her chance to host solo when Adams got COVID and had to sit out the live After the Final Rose final special. Bristowe was then even more surprised she didn’t continue on, after feeling like she proved herself. “We definitely were not set up to succeed,” she said.
Harrison told Bristowe he wishes they had called him during the negotiations. “Clearly I did not do a good job [negotiating],” said Bristowe of how it turned out.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to ABC and Warner Horizon for comment.
The gig essentially served as a tryout, as the franchise considered who could officially replace Harrison. Franchise alum Wells Adams took the lead role amid a rotating roster of guest hosts for that summer season of Bachelor in Paradise. Ultimately, Jesse Palmer was named as the new franchise host; he has hosted both the 26th and 27th subsequent seasons of The Bachelor, as well as the 2022 season of The Bachelorette.
During their podcast conversation, the pair also talked out how all of this all impacted their friendship, as they stopped speaking once Bristowe was being considered for the role.
“I was going through something extraordinary and it had really nothing to do with you or Tayshia [hosting the show], and at that time, I needed people in my life … that could be unconditionally loving and caring,” Harrison said. “You weren’t equipped to do that because of where you were in all this.”
Bristowe told Harrison she understands why they needed to take a step back from being in touch amid the swirling firestorm around Harrison’s exit and the race conversation around the franchise as a whole. “When I didn’t get text messages back, I was like, this is what it has to be. The relationship obviously has to change. I wanted to continue to reach out and check in and talk, but then I felt like, he’s not ready to talk to me,” she said.
After staying publicly quiet on the matter since his exit was officially announced, Harrison broke his silence on splitting from the high-profile franchise when he launched his podcast on Jan. 9.
“The playbook had been thrown out the window,” he says of responding to the snowballing backlash after his Extra interview with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay nearly two years ago, where he failed to denounce racist allegations surrounding a contestant. “The toughest thing for me was where to turn, what to do,” he said.
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