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'The Bachelor' ends controversial season with ratings high

Host Chris Harrison was criticized last month for defending a contestant after she was seen in racially insensitive pictures from a 2018 party.
Credit: AP
In this image provide by ABC, host Emmanuel Acho from left, speaks with Michelle Young and Matt James during "The Bachelor: After the Final Rose." (Craig Sjodin/ABC via AP)

NEW YORK — ABC “The Bachelor” ended a season that had as much drama off the set as on with its most-watched episode of the year and final appearance of host Chris Harrison — at least for a while. The pre-taped season finale with Harrison reached 6.1 million viewers last Monday and the “After the Final Rose” special, hosted by Emmanuel Acho, was seen by 5.67 million, the Nielsen company said.

Harrison was criticized last month for defending a contestant after she was seen in racially-insensitive pictures attending a plantation-themed ball in 2018. Harrison later apologized but it was announced he would be stepping away from the show for an undetermined period.

It's not clear whether he will be back. Former bachelorettes Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe will host the upcoming season of “The Bachelorette.”

RELATED: Chris Harrison will not host 'The Bachelorette' this season after racial controversy

RELATED: 'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison 'stepping aside' temporarily after racial controversy

Ratings for the most recent season of “The Bachelor,” where Matt James was the franchise's first Black bachelor, have been down but ticked up in its last few episodes.

James had selected contestant Rachael Kirkconnell, who had appeared in the plantation-themed pictures. During the “After the Final Rose” special, he revealed that he had broken up with her after the controversy came to light.

It's tough to judge whether Harrison's absence had any impact on the “After the Final Rose” ratings, because ABC hadn't done one of those specials since 2018.

CBS won the week in the ratings, with an average of 4.5 million viewers in prime time. NBC had 3.6 million, ABC had 3.4 million, Fox had 2 million, Univision had 1.4 million, Ion Television had 1.2 million and Telemundo had 1.1 million

Fox News Channel led the cable rankings, averaging 2.23 million viewers. TBS had 1.88 million, MSNBC had 1.65 million, TNT had 1.41 million and HGTV had 1.2 million.

ABC's “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race with an average of 8.7 million viewers, NBC's “Nightly News” had 7.1 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.

For the week of March 15-21, the top 20 shows, their networks and viewerships:

1. “NCIS,” CBS, 9.99 million.

2. “FBI,” CBS, 8.08 million.

3. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.89 million.

4. “The Voice” (Monday), NBC, 7.85 million.

5. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 7.49 million.

6. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 7.1 million.

7. “FBI: Most Wanted,” CBS, 6.26 million.

8. “Chicago PD,” NBC, 6.22 million.

9. “The Bachelor,” ABC, 6.1 million.

10. “The Bachelor: After the Final Rose,” ABC, 5.67 million.

11. “American Idol,” ABC, 5.64 million.

12. “The Neighborhood,” CBS, 5.39 million.

13. “The Masked Singer,” Fox, 5.13 million.

14. “Bull,” CBS, 5.123 million.

15. “America's Funniest Home Videos,” ABC, 5.122 million.

16. “Station 19,” ABC, 5.106 million.

17. “Bob Hearts Abishola,” CBS, 5.105 million.

18. “This is Us,” NBC, 5.01 million.

19. “Grey's Anatomy,” ABC, 4.99 million.

20. NCAA Men's Basketball: Wisconsin vs. North Carolina, CBS, 4.44 million.

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