This season of The Bachelor has been one of the most memorable yet – and that’s saying something after 25 seasons. The show broke ground by casting its first-ever Black Bachelor, Matt James. Also notable was that, unlike many past Bachelors, James was not previously a contestant on The Bachelorette (although he was poised to be one of the men vying for Clare Crawley’s heart). The women on the show provided their fair share of drama, including mean girls Anna and “Queen” Victoria, and Serena, who bowed out of the running after the hometown date. Even more stunning was the revelation that frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell had a history of racially insensitive social media activity, for which she’s now apologizing and soul-searching.
Then the show took another twist when Chris Harrison defended Rachael’s past actions and caught serious heat for it. He announced he would be leaving the show for the remainder of the season, leaving The Bachelor without an anchor just as the finale drew near. People reports that after two weeks, ABC announced that the hosting spot for After the Final Rose – the special in which the Bachelor, his final choice, and the finalists all sit down for a heart-to-heart – would be filled by Emmanuel Acho. The name is familiar to sports fans: Acho is a former NFL linebacker who played with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
Emmanuel Acho was recommended by a former Bachelorette
The casting decision may have been inspired by past Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay, who recommended Acho in an interview with People. In addition to his current job as an analyst for Fox Sports, he also hosts a podcast called Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, and wrote a bestselling book of the same name. “[He] has pretty much been the person who said, ‘I can have these uncomfortable conversations, and people trust it,'” she said. “Who better to lead it? [He’s] someone who’s not involved with the franchise, no ties, no bias — I think it’d be great.”
Acho helped announce the news through his Instagram account, saying in part, “It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming.” He also spoke of himself as being “a bridge to reconciliation,” which strongly hints that a large part of After the Final Rose will be devoted to discussing racism both on The Bachelor and in the wider world.
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