Chris Harrison previously said that he would be stepping away from the Bachelor franchise after defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions

By Gabrielle Chung
June 02, 2021 09:40 PM
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David Spade and Chris Harrison
Credit: getty (2)

David Spade will be taking on guest-hosting duties in the upcoming season of Bachelor in Paradise amid longtime host Chris Harrison's break from The Bachelor franchise.

Spade, 56, will be one of the celebrities in a rotating roster of guest hosts for the seventh season of the ABC dating show, a source confirms to PEOPLE.

Representatives for ABC and Warner Bros. TV did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment, but Spade is a known fan of the Bachelor franchise.

The comedian and Saturday Night Live vet often covers the show on his Instagram account. He's also spoke out about his love for the series during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in March.

"I like it all," Spade said, when asked to choose between The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. "I just make fun of whatever's in front of me."

News of Bachelor in Paradise's hosting change-up comes three months after Harrison, 49, stepped away from the franchise amid controversy for defending contestant Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions.

In an interview for Extra with former Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay earlier this year, Harrison questioned the "lens" of 2021 compared to 2018 and said that people should have "a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion" for resurfaced social media posts of Kirkconnell's — which showed her dressed in Native American attire as a costume and attending an antebellum plantation-themed college party.

chris harrison
Chris Harrison
| Credit: John Fleenor/Getty

Following his controversial comments, Harrison apologized for perpetuating racism within the franchise and announced that he would "be stepping aside for a period of time," sitting out as host on the After the Final Rose special. 

Fan-favorite former Bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe were later announced as replacements for Harrison in the 17th season of The Bachelorette.

"As we continue the dialogue around achieving greater equity and inclusion within The Bachelor franchise, we are dedicated to improving the BIPOC representation of our crew, including among the executive producer ranks," Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment said in a joint statement at the time. "These are important steps in effecting fundamental change so that our franchise is a celebration of love that is reflective of our world."

RELATED VIDEO: Chris Harrison Speaks Out amid Racism Controversy, Says He Plans to Return to Bachelor Franchise

While it's not clear when Harrison will return to the franchise, he said in March during an appearance on Good Morning America that he does plan on coming back eventually.

Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on David Spade guest hosting Bachelor in Paradise.

He shared in the interview that he is working with "a race educator and strategist" as well as faith leaders and scholars, like Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.

"Dr. Dyson often talks to me about counsel, not cancel. That is full accountability … owning from that, learning from that. Seeking council from the community that you hurt, gaining experience knowledge and moving forward," Harrison said on GMA.

"I am saddened and shocked at how insensitive I was in that interview with Rachel Lindsay. I didn't speak for my heart, that is to say I stand against all forms of racism ... I'm sorry to Rachel Lindsay and I'm sorry to the Black community," he said, adding that he is "committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise."