Chris Harrison was temporarily replaced as the host of The Bachelorette due to the strict quarantine rules put in place to protect the contestants and the crew amid the coronavirus pandemic. Former Bachelorette star JoJo Fletcher began filling in for Harrison during the December 1 episode, as ABC revealed in a news release ahead of time.
Here’s what you need to know:
Harrison Left the Closed Set to Take His Son to College in August
Fans of the dating reality show know that The Bachelorette had to delay the current season due to COVID-19. After production shut down in March, show executives had to come up with a new plan in order to safely resume filming.
The game plan producers came up with was to have all of the cast and crew quarantine and get tested before production picked back up in July, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Everyone involved with the show would live at La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs throughout filming in order to create a bubble and keep the virus out. All of the dates would take place at the secluded resort and no visitors would be allowed on set.
These rules extended to everyone, including Harrison. But the longtime host broke quarantine to take his son, Joshua, to college. People reported in December 2019 that Harrison’s son had signed on to play lacrosse at Texas Christian University.
Harrison posted a photo with his son in his dorm room on Instagram on August 11. Harrison wrote, “Just like that he’s gone. Thought dropping the big man off at college @texaschristianuniversity today was going to crush me but all I could feel is pride and excitement. Especially now, so grateful that they have this opportunity. Now go take on the world and have the time of your life my boy.”
Harrison Was ‘Not Happy’ About Being Forced to Quarantine When He Returned to California: Report
Harrison’s decision to accompany Joshua to Texas and get him settled in at school meant Harrison had to quarantine all over again before he was allowed to resume his hosting responsibilities on the Bachelorette set.
Harrison joked about it on Instagram. On August 17, he posted a photo of himself being denied entrance to La Quinta. He was carrying his luggage and wearing a mask and was holding one arm up to signify disbelief. A security guard motioned for Harrison to halt and pointed to a sign that read “stop.” Harrison wrote in the caption, “The most dramatic season ever!”
But despite the humorous post, Harrison was none too happy with the situation. US Weekly reported that Harrison was upset over being told he would have to quarantine and could not work.
The magazine cited a source who explained, “[Harrison] insisted he simply dropped his son off in his dorm room and left, social distancing the entire time.” The source added, “The show’s contestants and crew all had to quarantine on the property for 14 days prior to the cameras rolling. But it didn’t dawn on Chris he’d have to do it all over again if he simply left to take his kid to college.”
JoJo Fletcher Was Available to Fill In For Harrison Because She Had Already Been Tapped as a Guest
As longtime fans know, it is common for former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants to make guests appearances on the show. Just last week, Becca Kufrin and Sydney Lotuaco showed up to help Tayshia Adams oversee a competitive group date. Bachelor in Paradise alums Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon also made an appearance this season.
Fletcher was among the former stars asked to make a cameo at La Quinta. According to the ABC news release, she was expected to “help Tayshia navigate her unsettling emotions” as Tayshia navigates having “romantic feelings for multiple men.”
But when Harrison left the set, the producers asked Fletcher to stay on and serve as the temporary host. Fletcher described the hosting gig as “crazy,” especially since she had to play catch-up. She told US Weekly, “I jumped right into a mix of a whole bunch of things going on without really knowing anything that had gone on. So, it was definitely crazy.”
Fletcher described filling in for Harrison as “a lot of pressure” but that she “went in there and tried to make them proud and not ruin The Bachelorette.” She praised Harrison as “the greatest of all time” and reassured fans that she did the best she could without trying “to be Chris.”
Fletcher also teased that fans are in for a significant amount of drama ahead. “The episodes that I was a part of, I can tell you, are going to be very good,” Fletcher told the magazine. “This whole season is going to be very crazy and dramatic. I’m sure everyone’s heard of it before, but it really will be! And it was fun.” Cosmopolitan reported Fletcher would be around for a few rose ceremonies.
Fletcher starred on season 12 of The Bachelorette in 2016 and got engaged to former NFL player Jordan Rodgers. They originally planned to tie the knot on June 13, 2020, but postponed it due to the pandemic. Fletcher wrote on Instagram at the time, “Even though I don’t get to marry you todayyyyy @jrodgers11, I know it will be all more worth the wait.”
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