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How Chris Harrison’s Absence Impacted the Dynamic on Set of Katie Thurston’s Bachelorette Season

Often the "mediator" on set, host Chris Harrison was "missed" during Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette, sources told E! News: "It was a lot of female energy in one bubble."

By Lindsay Weinberg Apr 29, 2021 1:05 AMTags
Watch: Chris Harrison Replaced on "Bachelorette" By Tayshia Adams & Kaitlyn Bristowe

For the first time in The Bachelorette's 18-year history, Chris Harrison won't be hosting the show when it airs this summer.

He stepped down in February after defending controversial contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, and ABC asked former Bachelorettes Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams to take the reins

Although Chris won't appear onscreen during Katie Thurston's upcoming search for true love, his presence—or lack thereof—continued to impact the cast of the 17th season of The Bachelorette, which has wrapped filming.

A source close to production exclusively tells E! News that Chris' presence was "missed" because "the guys always go to him for advice and view him as a wise older guy and the ladies go to him as a father figure." During Katie's season, her contestants couldn't get the same advice from Tayshia and Kaitlyn, the insider says.

Chris was also missed in the sense that he is "the mediator and voice of reason on set," according to a source close to Bachelor Nation.

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Bachelor Nation Reacts to Chris Harrison Controversy

The second source explains, "The guys didn't feel like they could necessarily could vent [or] have therapy sessions with Tayshia or Kaitlyn. It's easy with Chris because he knows the drill and the process."

Ultimately, filming had "a different vibe" this season, says the second source, who attributes the change to the newfound gender dynamics between the female hosts and the male contestants. 

ABC/John Fleenor; ABC/Craig Sjodin

"It was a lot of female energy in one bubble and hard for Katie to have the full spotlight," the second source shares, noting that Kaitlyn and Tayshia "have extremely outgoing personalities." 

A separate production source feels that Chris wasn't necessarily missed, but admits "the dynamic was different" this time around, as all eyes were meant to be on Katie, a 30-year-old marketing manager who first appeared on Matt James' season.

"It was a little hard to put all the focus on Katie when Kaitlyn and Tayshia were there," the third insider reveals to E! News. "It wasn't necessarily competitive but it was a really different vibe."

Due to Kaitlyn and Tayshia's big personalities, they sometimes drew attention away from Katie, according to the third source, who adds of the new hosts, "They're very attractive and fun and familiar to the franchise, so it kind of distracted from Katie being the only desirable woman there." 

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Katie was, in fact, the only single lady of the three. Kaitlyn has been dating Jason Tartick for two years, and Tayshia got engaged to Zac Clark during her finale in December 2020.

Now that this season has finished filming, the question remains of who will host Bachelor in Paradise this year, with season seven dropping this summer along with The Bachelorette. ABC has already moved on to pre-production for the tropical spinoff, according to the third source.

"Chris is not expected at Paradise," continues the third production source. "It's not been mentioned at this point but everyone knows he wants to return." 

The second source confirms there are no talks of Chris coming back for Paradise.

The Bachelorette premieres June 7 with Paradise premiering on Aug. 16. 

E! News has reached out to ABC and Chris' rep for comment.

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