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Ex-'Bachelor' bachelorette Melissa Rycroft to co-host 'Bachelor Pad'

By Christopher Rocchio, 06/08/2010 

Melissa Rycroft is returning to The Bachelor, but this time it's as a host.

ABC has tapped the rejected The Bachelor bachelorette to co-host its Bachelor Pad spinoff, the network announced Tuesday.

"I'm excited," Rycroft, who will co-host the series with Chris Harrison, told People.

"It's fun. It's a brand new experience for me. I've never been on that side but I'm anxious. I'm excited and ready to start."

Bachelor Pad will feature 19 former contestants from The Bachelor's 13 seasons and The Bachelorette's five seasons living together in a Big Brother-style house and competing in a series of challenges -- some of which are inspired by incidents from previous seasons of the reality dating series.

Each two-hour episode will conclude with evictions from the house and only one participant will take home the show's $250,000 cash prize.

Bachelor Pad, which People reported has already started filming, will premiere Monday, August 9 at 8PM ET/PT.

Rycroft originally appeared as one of the bachelorette's vying for Jason Mesnick's heart on The Bachelor's thirteenth season, which filmed in late 2008.

She got engaged to Mesnick during the taping of The Bachelor's Final Rose Ceremony  -- but he later dumped her on-air in favor of runner-up Molly Malaney during a taping of the season's After the Final Rose special.

While Rycroft decided to pass on the chance to serve as the star of The Bachelorette's fifth season -- causing the role to go to second runner-up Jillian Harris instead -- she accepted an offer to join Dancing with the Stars' eighth season as a last-minute replacement for injured Access Hollywood co-anchor Nancy O'Dell.

Rycroft subsequently finished third behind Gilles Marini and eventual champ Shawn Johnson.

Since then, Rycroft -- who wed Ty Strickland in December -- has worked as a correspondent for ABC's Good Morning America, contributed to the network's 2010 Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest broadcast, and also served as a special Entertainment Tonight correspondent.

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