Why Chris Harrison Missed Some Filming of 'The Bachelorette,' And JoJo Fletcher Stepped In

Chris Harrison
Eric McCandless via Getty Images

Harrison briefly handed over his hosting duties -- to a former 'Bachelorette.'

Chris Harrison handed over his hosting duties … briefly. A source tells ET that the Bachelor franchise host did miss a few days of filming this season of The Bachelorette to take his son to college. 

"This was a pre-planned event done totally in coordination with production," the source says. "There were no surprises."

ET can confirm that former Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher stood in for Harrison for some parts of filming. The Bachelorette has been filming at the La Quinta Resort & Club in the Palm Springs area since July. 

On Tuesday, Harrison posted a photo to Instagram of himself and his son, Joshua, in the teen's new dorm room.

"Thought dropping the big man off at college today was going to crush me," the father of two wrote. "But all I could feel is pride and excitement. Especially now, so grateful that they have this opportunity."

The longtime franchise host has rarely missed moments during filming, but notably, this year’s franchise filming schedule is different than years past due to COVID-19. The Bachelorette was scheduled to film, as usual, in March of this year, but production was put on pause indefinitely for the first time in franchise history because of the pandemic. Bachelor in Paradise typically films in the month of June, and ABC / Warner Bros. have not announced any plans to film a season this year. 

The choice of Fletcher to stand in for Harrison makes sense given her history with the host. Harrison is friendly with Fletcher; he had her and fiance Jordan Rodgers on an Instagram Live from his personal page in March, where they talked about their wedding, which Harrison was set to attend before it was postponed due to the pandemic. Us was first to report that Fletcher would be temporarily standing in for Harrison.

The news comes on the heels of a much more major switch-up; ET learned last week that after falling for one of her contestants, Clare Crawley was being replaced as lead by Tayshia Adams on this season of The Bachelorette

But photos obtained by ET on Wednesday showed Crawley at a surprising location: on set at La Quinta Resort & Club. Crawley's presence on set is unusual if her Bachelorette journey has concluded. 

Bachelor franchise contestants and leads are usually released from production and have their phones returned to them when their time on the series has come to an end. Crawley appeared to return to social media last week, liking a tweet about Adams becoming the Bachelorette, and then unliking it hours later. There hasn't been any activity on her social media accounts since. 

It's unclear if Crawley is continuing to film for The Bachelorette, but her journey will be shown on this fall's season of the dating show. A source told ET last week that "filming did not stop, but Tayshia got a fresh start as the Bachelorette.” According to the source, producers have been embracing twists and turns.

ABC and Warner Bros. typically do not comment on Bachelor shows while filming is underway. The Bachelorette is set to air Tuesdays this fall on ABC.