Chris Harrison eyeing return to dating show roots, thanks to Dr. Phil: 'a blank slate'

A man with dark hair and short facial hair wearing a black suit and tie smiling and posing against a blue and gold backdrop
Former "Bachelor" host Chris Harrison will co-create and host a new reality dating show for Dr. Phil's network. (Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Chris Harrison, the former longtime host of ABC's "Bachelor" franchise, will get another shot at hosting a reality dating show. This time, with the help of Dr. Phil.

Harrison, who left Bachelor Nation on the heels of controversy in 2021, signed an overall deal with Dr. Phil McGraw's new Merit Street Media network to host and co-create a new reality dating program, The Times has confirmed. The currently untitled show will film at Merit Street's Dallas-Fort Worth headquarters.

"Call it divine intervention, karma, kismet, whatever it is, the fact that Dr. Phil created this network in my own backyard here in Dallas, it means the world to me to, not only be returning to television, but to be doing it here in a hometown crowd," Harrison, 52, said of his overall deal to Entertainment Tonight, which first reported the news.

Read more: Chris Harrison says narcissists don't star in 'The Bachelor.' They create it

Harrison hosted ABC's "Bachelor" franchise for nearly 20 years, helping guide generations of reality TV devotees through the emotional roller coasters and memorable moments that defined the main dating series, and its several spin-offs. His time as the "Bachelor" emcee came to an abrupt end in March 2021.

He parted ways with Bachelor Nation and ABC after defending Season 25 winner Rachael Kirkconnell for attending an antebellum South-themed fraternity party in 2018. Kirkconnell was one of the women vying for the love of Matt James, the first Black "Bachelor" star.

Harrison addressed the Kirkconnell controversy with Rachel Lindsay — the first Black Bachelorette — in a 2021 "Extra" interview. "It's not a good look ever," Lindsay told Harrison at the time. She added, "What would I represent at that party?"

The "Most Dramatic Podcast Ever" host apologized for his comments in March 2021, and exited the franchise months later. Three years after his controversial departure, Harrison told ET on Wednesday that his fans should prepare for "the most dramatic show ever."

Read more: Chris Harrison is out as 'Bachelor' host. How his 20-year stint came undone

"That you can be sure of," he added.

Dr. Phil, who ended his eponymous daytime series after 21 seasons last year, also boasted about Harrison's new show, telling ET that audiences should expect something "so novel, so different." According to the outlet, McGraw encouraged Harrison to take his dating show to the next level.

"If you want to do a relationship show, you can, but think bigger and broader," McGraw said. "This is a blank slate."

Read more: 'Heartbroken' Chris Harrison breaks silence on 'Bachelor' exit: 'Sick to my stomach'

As part of his overall deal, Harrison will also co-host a weekday morning show with his wife, Lauren Zima. He will also contribute to additional Merit Street programming.

McGraw's Merit Street, established in partnership with Trinity Broadcasting Network, will officially launch on April 2.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.