The end of an era.
Bachelor Nation announced today on June 8 that longtime host Chris Harrison will not be returning to the franchise. "Chris 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 wrote in a press statement.
The news comes the day after Bachelorette Katie Thurston's season premiere, and almost four months after Harrison's apology for defending Bachelor Matt James' season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell following the resurfacing of racially-insensitive actions during an interview with Rachel Lindsay.
Today, fellow Bachelor alum Kelley Flanagan joined E! News' Daily Pop to give her thoughts on Chris' exit. "You know what, they always mix things up," Kelley told E! exclusively. "It's unfortunate to see Chris go. I know a lot of people are really big fans of him. He's definitely a staple, he's been the host for years."
"I think they did a great job taking over. So whatever happens, happens," Kelley reasoned. "I think some people will be shocked, some people will be sad, some people will be happy. It depends what's going on with Chris. I personally don't know what's going on with that."
Daily Pop co-host Kym Whitley also called Chris' departure a "fresh change" for the ABC dating series franchise.
Kelley, an attorney who previously dated Bachelor Peter Weber, added that Bachelorette Katie is most likely getting great advice from Tayshia and Kaitlyn. "She probably feels comfortable that they've been in the same position she has," Kelley added. "It's more of that girl gang energy going on."
As for Kelley's thoughts on sex toy-wielding Katie's Bachelorette reign so far?
"I think Katie just owned it and I applaud her for doing so," Kelley said of the first night NSFW innuendos. "If she's going to come out with a vibrator, these guys can come out with whatever they please sex-related."
Watch the full interview above for Kelley's take on whether or not all the Bachelor Nation onscreen drama is legit, and how producers really help contestants make those big first night impressions!