Chris Harrison, ‘The Bachelor’ host demanded to be given a $25 million payout after he was fired from the show … and threatened to expose all the show’s dirty secrets if the promoter fails to hand him the pay, according to ABC source Tuesday.
“He has nearly 20 years of dirt. Instead of handing them a rose, he was absolutely ready to hand them a lawsuit detailing all the behind-the-scenes details,” the source said.
Chris hasn’t really been happy since he got the punishment for defending contestant Rachel Kirkconnell in her controversial race issue and some insiders close to the host confirmed that he wasn’t going to leave without putting up a fight, at least.
The source said, “Chris Harrison’s whole life was ‘The Bachelor,’ and he didn’t want to let go. He still is really sad to leave, and there have been very tough and very heated negotiations going on for weeks.”
The source said the show had hoped that Harrison would walk away quickly and quietly so that they could leave the public-relations nightmare behind them very quickly, but Chris didn’t want it that way.
And as a result, fighting over the condition of his exit with ABC brass became more explosive and dramatic, “though he was the face of the show for many years” the source said.
“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.
“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,” the source said.
Another source with good knowledge of the matter said a settlement was finally reached with Chris, but it’s not believed to be as much as $25 million as he demanded.
Chris Harrison had recently hired a prominent LA lawyer Brian Freedman, who had previously represented “Bachelor” creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss’ wife in their bitter divorce to demand his benefit.
“Chris Harrison hired Brian Freedman, who represented Mike Fleiss’ wife, which immediately set an aggressive playing field, and the exit negotiations were extremely fraught. It was a bunch of emotionally charged men in a room who were not happy with each other at all,” the second source said.
The insider said that there is still enmity between Chris and “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, whom he’s blaming partly for his unfortunate exit from the show, because Chris is saying that after he delivered an apology for defending Kirkconnell, Strahan ended the interview by saying:
“Well, his apology is his apology. But it felt like I got nothing more than a surface response on any of this. And obviously … the man wants to clearly stay on the show — but only time will tell if there is any meaning behind his words.”
The source said, “Chris was not happy with that Strahan interview and the way it went down. 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.
“But in the end, it was Chris Harrison who made the decision to go on ‘GMA,’ and he should not have expected an easy ride just because ‘GMA’ is also an ABC show.”