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'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison leaving the franchise

"The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison is parting ways with the franchise.

Harrison posted on Instagram Tuesday to say he’s had "a truly incredible run as host of The Bachelor franchise" and is now "excited to start a new chapter."

"While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime," he continued.

His post comes hours after Deadline reported that Harrison cleared a deal in the form of an eight-figure payoff to leave the franchise. 

His exit from the ABC dating show, which has aired since 2002, comes after fallout earlier this year over his handling of a racial controversy involving bachelor Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell. James was the franchise’s first Black bachelor and Kirkconnell received his final rose. 

Harrison came under fire after an interview on "Extra" when he was asked about racially insensitive past behavior from Kirkconnell.

Past photos of her resurfaced in which she is dressed in costume as a Native American and at an antebellum plantation-themed ball. Kirkconnell later issued an apology for what she calls her past "racist and offensive" actions. 

In the interview, Harrison defended Kirkconnell against what he called the "woke police" on social media. "We all need to have a little grace, a little understanding, a little compassion," he said in the interview.

Harrison later apologized but it was announced he would be stepping away from the show for an undetermined period.

At the time, Kirkconnell had not yet been revealed to be James’ final pick. Weeks later, during the "After the Final Rose" special, James revealed that he had broken up with her after the controversy came to light.

Harrison was absent from the "After the Final Rose" special. It was instead hosted by Emmanuel Acho, former NFL linebacker, author and host of the YouTube show "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man."

The news of Harrison’s departure comes just hours after the premiere of the show’s next season, starring Katie Thurston as "The Bachelorette." Former bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe are hosting. 

Just last week, it was also announced comedian David Spade would be hosting the franchise’s summer spin-off, "Bachelor in Paradise." 

Details of Harrison’s departure have not been made public.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.