Jesse Palmer Parlays NFL and Bachelor Fame Into Entertainment and News Gigs

What’s next for the former QB turned reality star?

In 2004, Palmer was the first professional athlete to appear on ABC's The Bachelor.
CBS Television Distribution

As a football player at the University of Florida, Jesse Palmer figured he’d become an ambassador to his home country of Canada—he grew up outside of Ottawa—if a career in the NFL didn’t work out. So how did the college athlete end up becoming a well-known TV host instead?

After spending four years as a quarterback at Florida, Palmer was drafted by the New York Giants in 2001. “That was my dream job, playing professional football,” he said.

Following stints with the San Francisco 49ers and the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes, Palmer suddenly found himself a reality TV star.

In 2004, he starred on a season of The Bachelor as the first professional athlete to ever appear on the show, an unexpected twist in his career.

“It wasn’t my intention to appear on television,” he said. “I went into it for the experience.”

Saying yes to that opportunity opened many more doors for Palmer, who was excited to show the public that he was more than an athlete.

“A lot of people saw me as just a football player without any other passions,” he said. “But that’s not the case. It’s important for people to say, ‘I’m not going to stay in my lane.’”

As Palmer’s TV career took off with gigs at Fox and ESPN, he felt lucky to land a coveted job for retired professional players: commentator and analyst.

He soon appeared as a host on Food Network competitions, and programs like The Chew and The Rachael Ray Show, which eventually allowed him to parlay his charisma and live TV experience into a special contributor role on Good Morning America.

“That was a real breakthrough for me,” he said. “Being on live TV, either on ESPN calling games or presenting stories to viewers, almost replaces the rush of playing football.”

Soon, Palmer will be taking his hosting skills to DailyMailTV, a new syndicated news program that will cover every topic the website does and then some.

The Daily Mail’s scope of storytelling and broad coverage areas appeal to Palmer’s sense of exploration and “let’s just see” attitude, he said.

“I’m excited to bring viewers at home new stories and tons of guests every day,” he added. “For me, getting to experience new storytelling formats is exciting, and DailyMailTV can be the place where people can come to see the news first.”

Curriculum vitae

Host of DailyMailTV
2017 – present

Good Morning America special contributor
2015 – 2017

Host/guest host for the Food Network, The Rachael Ray Show and The Chew
2014 – present

ESPN college football analyst
2007 – present

Fox NFL analyst
2005 – 2006

Star of ABC’s The Bachelor
2004

NFL quarterback
2001 – 2005

Job profile

At DailyMailTV, which launches Sept. 18 in more than 100 markets across the U.S., Palmer will lead the syndicated  news program as its solo host. The show will feature stories from Daily Mail’s website covering breaking news, health, technology, showbiz and more.

How he got the gig

Palmer’s career took an unexpected turn after leaving the NFL, leading him into hosting, news and entertainment gigs. “This job is all-encompassing,” Palmer said of his new role at DailyMailTV. “That’s what makes this exciting.”

Pro tip

“You have to be very open-minded,” Palmer said. “Just give things a chance, and try not to say no. I charged through the wall on every opportunity.”

This story first appeared in the Sept. 18, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Recommended articles