We're officially Chris Harrison-less on The Bachelorette. The host announced during the Dec. 1 episode that former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher would be taking over his hosting duties for the time being. That way Harrison could help move his son into college outside of the show's production bubble. It's the first time in 11 years that he'll be absent for the all-important rose ceremony.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Harrison missed one episode of Jillian Harris' Bachelorette season back in 2009, for unknown reasons. Since then, he's been present for every episode of The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise... until now.
Ordinarily Harrison probably could have helped his son and then come back in time for the rose ceremony, but the pandemic changed the plans. According to People magazine, Harrison had to do a two-week quarantine upon his return, so someone needed to step in as host for that time. That's where JoJo came in. "I think she thought I was punking her when I called and said, 'Hey, girl, I need ya.' She's like, 'What?'" Harrison told Refinery29 in early October. He added that the departure and subsequent quarantine were planned well in advance, though. "I definitely knew that my son was going to go to college. And we had prepared for that as a production team. I didn't wake up one morning and say, 'Oh! Crap! My son's going to college.'"
JoJo told Us Weekly that stepping in mid-season was a little tricky. "I jumped right into a mix of a whole bunch of things going on without really knowing anything that had gone on," she said, adding that it was "stressful" to take on such an iconic role. "I've gone in and helped for different episodes and different shows at The Bachelor but never to help Chris Harrison, which is a lot of pressure," JoJo said. "I was never going to go in there and try to be Chris … I just went in there and tried to make them proud and not ruin The Bachelorette."
Us Weekly reported that JoJo's hosting stint was temporary (Instagram shows that Harrison was at TCU on August 11 and back on set August 17), so we should be able see Harrison back on our screens in a couple of episodes to dramatically announce the existence of the final rose this evening.