It’s no secret that Chris Harrison’s job is kind of incredible. He gets to hang out in a mansion and play grown-up season after season and he gets to know all the Bachelor and Bachelorette spoilers way ahead of time. He’s basically the king of Bachelor Nation, but how did he get his now-iconic job?
The now 48-year-old’s experience as a TV legend started early, after he got the hosting bug by serving as MC of the Lake Highlands High School homecoming talent show his senior year. From 1993 to 1999, Harrison worked as a sports reporter in Oklahoma City. He went on to work briefly at a horse racing channel and then became host of Designers’ Challenge on HGTV and on the GSN show Mall Masters. It wasn’t until 2002 that Bachelor executive producer Mike Fleiss hired him to head a new show called The Bachelor.
At the time, Harrison didn’t think of it as a long-term gig. As he told Dallas News (his hometown paper) in 2016, “My initial thought was, ‘This show is crazy. Will I ever be able to show my face in church again?’ My second thought [was], ‘I hope it lasts a couple of episodes so I can meet someone at the network and maybe get a real job out of it.’” Little did he know, he’d be a fixture on the reality dating series and multiple spinoffs for the next decade and beyond.
In addition to his coveted gig as host of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and all Bachelor spin-offs, Harrison also hosts Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and officiates weddings on the side. (Yep, seriously—but his website says only serious couples should reach out.) He’s also hosted a slew of red carpets as well as the Miss America Pageant and Scripps National Spelling Bee.