Chris Harrison did not exit “The Bachelor” franchise without a fight, according to a new report. Earlier this week, the veteran ABC host announced his exit from the reality TV dating franchise he hosted for nearly 20 years, following the backlash he received for his defense of last season’s winner, Rachael Kirkconnell, and her involvement in an Old South antebellum-themed party when she was in college.
But Harrison’s announcement reportedly came after cutthroat negotiations and alleged threats to expose the dirty secrets behind the longtime franchise.
Here’s what you need to know:
Chris Harrison Allegedly Threatened ‘Bachelor’ Bosses
Harrison stepped away from “The Bachelor” as Matt James’ season was airing. He did not host the “After the Final Rose” special, and he sat out the currently airing season of “The Bachelorette” starring Katie Thurston. As others filled in for his hosting duties, Harrison was working behind the scenes—with a legal team headed by Los Angeles-based “super lawyer” Bryan Freedman, according to Page Six.
Freedman has represented high-profile celebrity clients including Mariah Carey, Vin Diesel, Octavia Spencer, Bella Thorne, Julia Roberts, Robert Downey Jr., and more, per his firm’s website. He also represented “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss in the past.
With Freedman behind him, Harrison, who has “nearly 20 years of dirt” on the behind-the-scenes of the ABC dating franchise, threatened to expose secrets if he didn’t get a $25 million settlement.
“He knows a lot about inappropriate behavior on set: fights between contestants, misbehavior including use of illegal substances while overseas and complaints from producers that were allegedly brushed under the carpet by ABC execs,” an ABC insider told the outlet of Harrison. “He was ready to tell the truth about how things really work over there — and he has plenty of evidence to back him up. Chris was making $5 million a season and wanted $25 million to go.”
“Heated” negations went on for weeks before Harrison was satisfied with his settlement amount.
Harrison Reportedly Partially Blames a ‘Good Morning America’ Host For His Demise
An insider also revealed that Harrison is still salty over comments made about him by “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan in March and that he partly blames the former “Live” co-host for his demise in Bachelor Nation.
After Harrison issued an apology for defending Kirkconnell’s behavior and said he planned to return as the host of “The Bachelor” franchise, Strahan called it a “surface” apology and hinted that Harrison just issued a superficial response because he “wants to clearly stay on the show,” per People.
“Chris was not happy with that Strahan interview and the way it went down,” an insider told Page Six. “He was not happy with Strahan’s comment at the end of the interview, that it was a ‘surface’ apology. He felt angry and that Strahan made a bad situation even worse.”
There has not been a permanent replacement host announced for “The Bachelor” as it heads into its 20th anniversary year, but fill-in hosts have included Emmanuel Acho, Kaitlyn Bristowe, and Tayshia Adams.
For the upcoming season of “Bachelor in Paradise,” Tituss Burgess, Lance Bass, Lil Jon, and David Spade will appear as rotating hosts, according to Variety.
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