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“The After the Final Rose ceremony taping has been delayed until ABC can find the perfect host. Rachel Lindsay was their first choice, but she declined. Next they looked at several other former bachelors, bachelorettes or suitors from the show but in the end, they decided that this show was so important to the future of the franchise,” the OK! source dishes. “They needed someone who was not only popular and charming but also have a massive amount of live TV experience — which is why they want .

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The source explains, “This way, producers will be able to have total control. Inside ABC, the thought of the show’s first Black , Matt James, having an honest conversation with Michael Strahan is very appealing. The last thing they need is Matt talking about racism and the Black experience with another dude who looks and thinks like !”

Strahan, 49, is also already part of the ABC family — he has hosted more hours of live TV than Harrison, also 49, and would give the show a fresh start after all the racial controversies.

The insider discloses that whoever ends up hosting the After The Rose ceremony show will also be auditioning to Harrison full-time. “Each day the chances of Chris Harrison returning to the show he was with from day one get less and less!”

It looks like the Bachelor franchise is ready to give Harrison the boot after his controversial interview with Extra co-host and former Bachelorette Lindsay, where he defended James’ front-runner contestant Rachael Kirkconnell amid racial allegations.

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As OK! previously reported, after Harrison came under fire for defending Kirkconnell — she was allegedly snapped at a plantation-themed party in 2018 and was accused of “liking” photos with the Confederate flag in them — the host apologized to Lindsay and the public. He also shared that he would be “stepping aside for a period of time” from the Bachelor franchise and will not take part in the After the Final Rose special.

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Following his announcement, several other Bachelor stars spoke out about the recent controversy, including Kirkconnell — who apologized and acknowledged that her actions were “not acceptable or okay in any sense” in an Instagram statement, adding, “I was ignorant, but my ignorance was racist” — and James himself.

Click here to see the first Black male lead’s response to Harrison’s bombshell interview and Kirkconnell’s shocking posts.

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