Chris Harrison, the original host of ABC's “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs, is leaving the long-running franchise.
His departure comes four months after he defended contestant Rachael Kirkconnell against criticism over 2018 photos showing her at a fraternity formal with an Old South plantation theme.
Harrison is “stepping aside as host of 'The Bachelor' franchise. We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement Tuesday.
The producer and the network had no further comment, including on a replacement for Harrison. His publicist didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Harrison faced backlash after he voiced support for Kirkconnell during an “Extra” interview last February with Rachel Lindsay, who had been on “The Bachelorette” and was the first Black star of the franchise that begin in 2002.
In a subsequent online statement, Harrison apologized for what he called a “mistake.” While he had only intended to ask for “grace” and compassion for Kirkconnell so she could address the issue, Harrison said, he realized he had caused harm by “speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism.”
He was on hiatus from the franchise before his permanent departure was confirmed.
3 acts honored
Three acts who kept music alive during the worldwide pandemic will be honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers this month.
The performing rights organization ASCAP announced Tuesday that Timbaland, Swizz Beatz and D-Nice will receive the ASCAP Voice of the Culture Award – a thank you for creating the uber-popular virtual events “Verzuz” and “Club Quarantine,” which became cultural and groundbreaking affairs celebrating music and community during the pandemic.
The hitmaking producers will be honored at the virtual 2021 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards, to take place June 22.
“Verzuz” has attracted millions of viewers online and has celebrated the life and legacy of a number of Black artists, including Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Isley Brothers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Babyface, Teddy Riley, Brandy, Monica, SWX and Xscape.
“Club Quarantine” featured D-Nice playing music live on Instagram while being stuck at home as gigs dried up. The hours-long set became a white-hot success, and as a result, D-Nice was named entertainer of the year at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards, besting Viola Davis, Regina King, Trevor Noah and Tyler Perry.
Garden to rock
New York City's Madison Square Garden is ready to rock 'n' roll again.
MSG Entertainment announced Tuesday that Foo Fighters will shake the famed arena with a concert on June 20 – the venue's first show in more than 460 days.
MSG says the concert for vaccinated audience members will be its first at 100% capacity since the pandemic. Tickets go on sale Friday.
“We've been waiting for this day for over a year,” Dave Grohl said in a statement. “And Madison Square Garden is going to feel that HARD.”
Honor for pioneer
Linda Martell, one of the pioneers for Black acts in country music and the first Black woman to perform solo at the Grand Ole Opry, will be honored at the 2021 CMT Music Awards.
The 86-year-old will receive the CMT Equal Play Award at tonight's show. Mickey Guyton, who this year became the first solo Black woman nominated for a country Grammy Award, will present the honor to Martell, while Black artists will congratulate the legend in a video package highlighting her career.
Martell released the album “Color Me Country” in 1970. The title track – a country cover of The Winstons' R&B hit – became her biggest hit-to-date on the Billboard country music charts, reaching No. 22.
But Martell experienced racism while performing onstage and was shunned by the music industry as a mainstream country performer. Her record label shelved her album and she was prohibited from finding a new deal.