'BIP' Alums Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon Weigh in on Chris Harrison's Franchise Exit (Exclusive)

The longtime host exited the franchise in June following his racism controversy.

Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon are expressing their support for everyone amid the Bachelor franchise's recent shakeup. In an interview with ET's Katie Krause, the couple opened up about their feelings regarding longtime host Chris Harrison's exit from the franchise, and the people who have stepped into the role since. 

In June, Harrison permanently left the franchise after nearly two decades. In lieu of Harrison, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Tayshia Adams are currently hosting Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette

"Chris is a really good friend of ours. We didn't want to see him leave the show, but we love Kaitlyn and Tayshia. So it's hard because I think those two things aren't mutually exclusive," Haibon, 32, told ET. "We were hoping, at least I was hoping, that Chris would get another opportunity to come back, but that doesn't mean that I don't want Kaitlyn and Tayshia there. I want to support them."

"I wish nothing but the best for the future endeavors of Chris Harrison 'cause he's a friend and [we] wish him all the best in the world," he added.

Iaconetti, 33, was quick to agree with her husband, with whom she tied the knot in 2019 and is currently expecting her first child. "We really do wish it turned out differently," the mom-to-be said.

Harrison's exit came amid controversy, which began after he defended eventual Bachelor winner Rachael Kirkconnell's past racist actions, encouraging  people to offer her "grace," and speaking out against the "woke police" during an interview with Rachel Lindsay. Both Harrison and Kirkconnell have apologized

Prior to his permanent exit, Harrison took a break from the franchise, and Emmanuel Acho stepped in to host the After the Final Rose special for Matt James' season of The Bachelor.

"It's so hard because we don't condone the interview, but I was hoping that we'd address it more and be able to talk more openly about it," Haibon explained. "What I was really hoping is when Emmanuel [hosted]... they would bring Chris out there and he'd be able to sit down with Emmanuel and talk about everything that happened, and address everything."

"Obviously that never happened. Then Chris moved on, and The Bachelor's moved on," he continued. "I really just wish the best for both of them because the Bachelor franchise is always so important to us. It's important to me and I wish the best for the Bachelor franchise. I just support everybody."

While a new permanent franchise host has yet to be announced, the next season of Bachelor in Paradise will be hosted by a slew of celebrities including David Spade and Lance Bass. Additionally, BIP bartender Wells Adams will take on an expanded role, serving as the Master of Cocktails & Ceremonies.

"It would seem out of place for David Spade to be a permanent host, but [what a] way to change the franchise up. I mean, it could be really funny. I think he's going to be perfect for Paradise," Iaconetti said. "... I'm going to be very interested to see that week, and we want to see Lance too, because we're friends with him."

"I think they're both going to do a great job. I think it will be entertaining," she continued. "... When we have guests come on, I think they're going to be more like schemes. I think David Spade will do funny standup bits and stuff like that."

Haibon agreed, telling ET, "We're excited for Paradise. Paradise is my favorite show in the franchise, so I'm glad it's back... Just turn your brain off for a couple hours and watch Paradise and watch people go through this drama. We're allowed to make fun of it, because we went through it and people made fun of us."

Paradise holds a special place in the couple's heart because they appeared on two seasons of the show together  prior to their 2018 engagement. Now that they're expecting, they can't wait to bring their bundle of joy to that beach.

"That'll be very full circle," Haibon said. "I know it's ridiculous for people to think, but that beach down in paradise, it's very significant. It's where we first met. It's where we got engaged. It's where we went through a lot of ups and downs." 

"I think we grew a lot together and separately on that beach," he continued. "So the idea of going back to it with our child is insane, but incredible."

It's for sentimental reasons like those that the couple hopes both Paradise and the Bachelor franchise as a whole lives on.

"I hope it goes on forever," Haibon said. "I never want the show to be canceled."

"We definitely want it to go on. It's good for us. It's good for matchmaking. We love the show. I enjoy it every single week. I feel like it has its ebbs and flows... and maybe it's going through one of those now," Iaconetti said. "I do think that Paradise is something that people need, because that just brings a certain levity to it all and a sense of humor."

"I think it's a time, in this world, where we need that," she continued. "I think that could really pick the franchise up and give it a smiley face again."

Katie Thurston's season of The Bachelorette is currently airing on ABC. Season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise is set to premiere Aug. 16 on the network.



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