The Bachelor has selected Jesse Palmer as its new host for The Bachelor's 26th season in 2022.

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Jesse, a former NFL football player who starred on The Bachelor back on Season 5 that aired in 2004, has signed on to host The Bachelor next season following longtime host Chris Harrison's permanent departure from the franchise over his early 2021 racism scandal.

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"For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own," Jesse said in a statement

"Falling in love is one of life's greatest gifts, and I am humbled by the opportunity to return to the show as host this season to offer the newest Bachelor advice gained from firsthand experience and I am grateful to play a small part in his journey."

The Bachelor star for Season 26 is reportedly going to be upcoming The Bachelorette 18 contestant Clayton Echard, and his cast of potential bachelorettes was already announced this past weekend.

The new season reportedly began filming at the show's traditional California mansion on Tuesday night, hours after Palmer was announced as host.

Although he'll be the new The Bachelor host, Jesse will continue his role as a sports analyst on ESPN -- a position he began in 2007 -- for the 2021-2022 college football season.

Jesse also previously served as a special contributor for Good Morning America and hosted ABC's summer series The Ultimate Surfer as well as The Proposal, which aired on the network in 2018, along with other ABC projects such as Disney Parks' holiday specials and the NFL draft.

Jesse joined ABC as a commentator after playing five seasons in the NFL.

It remains unclear, however, whether Jesse's The Bachelor hosting role will end after Season 26 or continue on through subsequent seasons of the franchise.

According to insiders, producers are planning on having Jesse be the host of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette for future seasons but nothing is set in stone, Variety reported.

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Currently, former The Bachelorette stars Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams are serving as co-hosts of The Bachelorette, which wrapped Season 17 starring Katie Thurston earlier this summer and will premiere Season 18 starring Michelle Young on Tuesday, October 19 at 8PM ET/PT on ABC.

Sources told Variety that the host for future editions of Bachelor in Paradise is still in flux. Celebrity guests hosts -- including rapper Lil Jon and comedian David Spade -- are taking turns hosting Bachelor in Paradise's currently-airing seventh season.

ABC and Chris publicly declared in June that Chris' voluntary leave of absence from The Bachelor franchise -- which began in February -- has become a permanent one and he will not return as host for any future seasons.

Chris wrote in a June 8 statement on Instagram how he's "excited to start a new chapter" and "so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories."

But multiple sources told E! News at the time Chris was "saddened" and "frustrated" about his The Bachelor departure, adding that the show had been his "whole life" and he really wanted to come back.

Deadline reported in early June that Chris, who hosted The Bachelor franchise since its 2002 premiere, reached a mid-range eight-figure settlement with ABC to exit The Bachelor franchise for good.

But Variety subsequently reported Chris only received $9 million as his supposed big payout.

Chris announced in February he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties with The Bachelor franchise "for a period of time" to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner after he made offensive remarks in an Extra interview with The Bachelorette's first Black leading lady, Rachel Lindsay.

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In the early-February Extra interview, Chris had defended The Bachelor Season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in the last several years and adopted a dismissive attitude towards photos of Rachael that resurfaced from an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.

Chris had called for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and also criticized the "woke police" and the "unbelievably alarming" response of anger and frustration to the young woman's actions.

Chris subsequently issued three apologies for his offense, two on Instagram and one verbal apology during a March appearance on Good Morning America.

On GMA at the time, Chris expressed his hope he'd be able to return to The Bachelor franchise, explaining, "This is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it. I plan to be back and I want to be back."

But Katie refused to star on The Bachelorette in March if Chris was going to participate, and several sources told E! News in April that "many" The Bachelor and The Bachelorette alums from seasons past were "apprehensive" about signing up for Bachelor in Paradise 7 or even declined their invitations in the wake of Chris' racism controversy.

One insider told the website at the time, "A lot of people are removing themselves from the franchise."

Paradise bachelor, Ivan Hall, for example, told E!'s Daily Pop in February, "If they have future shows and if they were to ask me to be on Bachelor in Paradise or something like that -- and I'm sure a lot of other contestants feel this way as well -- I wouldn't feel comfortable if Chris is there, to be quite frank."

Ivan added, "[I'm] not saying he can't make a recovery, can't learn from all of this, but, you know... it would just be too soon, really."

Chris' exit from the franchise appeared to split Bachelor Nation and fans everywhere down the middle.

While many people believed Chris leaving the show was the right thing to do, others -- including Sean Lowe and Michelle Money -- suggested cancel culture is not a good solution and they'd boycott the franchise if Chris is no longer a part of it.

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About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.