ABC announced on Tuesday, September 28, that the season 5 Bachelor is set to host season 26 of the series.
“For more than 20 years, The Bachelor has brought the world dozens of unforgettable love stories, including at one time, my own,” Palmer said in a statement to Us Weekly. “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 former NFL player subsequently shared a photo from the infamous Bachelor Mansion on Tuesday via Instagram.
“Bachelor Nation- I couldn’t be more thrilled to be home with my @bachelorabc family!” he wrote. “Word on the street is it’s pretty AMAZING around here! 🌹”
While commenting on the official Bachelor account’s profile, he added, “Can’t wait to get started!!! 🌹🌹 I might have to work on my rose ceremony pose…⬆️ 😂.”
Palmer’s casting comes several months after Harrison stepped back from the franchise amid backlash for his apparent defense of Bachelor season 25 contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who was accused of being racially insensitive in the past. After missing Matt James’ After the Final Rose in March, Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe took over for season 17 of The Bachelorette and recently wrapped season 18. Palmer is set to guide Clayton Echard, who will appear on Michelle Young’s upcoming Bachelorette season.
Several former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants reacted to the hosting news (keep scrolling for more), but they weren’t the only ones. Fans of the series also had a lot to say.
Another person added, “Choosing jesse palmer – a former lead from FIFTEEN years ago and basically a beefed up version of chris harrison – to host the new season of #TheBachelor ????”
“Jesse Palmer for host of #TheBachelor is the perfect choice IMO,” a third viewer tweeted. “He’s related to the franchise (was the Bachelor in 2004), but he’s kept a healthy distance from it and has done other professional TV hosting gigs, like ABC’s Ultimate Surfer, which was probably a test run) for the network. And if you’ve ever seen him on the Food Network with Holiday Baking Championship, you know he’s really good at hosting—he has a nice presence and isn’t afraid to make fun of himself.”
A fourth fan wrote, “This is going to be fun. Love Jesse Palmer as CFB commentator, so his commentating of Bachelor will be incredible.”
Scroll through for a roundup of reactions from Bachelor Nation: