“The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison demanded a $25 million payout after being booted from the present — and threatened to spill all of the franchise’s soiled secrets and techniques if he didn’t get it, sources informed Page Six.
“He has nearly 20 years of dirt to blackmail them with,” an ABC supply stated Tuesday.
“Instead of handing them a rose, he was absolutely ready to hand them a lawsuit detailing all the behind-the-scenes details.”
Harrison, 49, has been stewing since he got the boot for defending contestant Rachel Kirkconnell in her controversial race row — and insiders stated he wasn’t taking place and not using a combat.
“Chris Harrison’s whole life was ‘The Bachelor,’ and he didn’t want to let go,” the supply stated. “He still is really sad to leave, and there have been very tough and very heated negotiations going on for weeks.”
Network honchos had hoped that Harrison could be “gone quickly and quietly” in order that they might go away the public-relations nightmare behind them as quick as doable, the well-placed supply stated.
But Harrison — who was the frontman for the wildly profitable franchise for the previous 19 years earlier than the bloom went off the rose — was having none of it, the supply stated.
Negotiations between Harrison and ABC brass over his exit ended up being extra explosive — and dramatic — than any season finale, a second community supply stated.
“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,” the primary supply stated.
“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 supply stated.
The second supply stated a settlement with Harrison was finally reached — though it isn’t believed to be as excessive as $25 million.
Harrison had lately upped the ante on negotiations by hiring prominent LA lawyer Brian Freedman, who had beforehand represented “Bachelor” creator and government producer Mike Fleiss’ spouse of their bitter divorce.
Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, a former Miss America, made allegations of home assault stemming from an alleged assault at one of many couple’s houses in Hawaii. She withdrew the criticism days later and acquired a reported $10 million settlement.
Freedman additionally repped Gabrielle Union in her dispute with NBC’s “America’s Got Talent ” final yr after she complained of racism and a “toxic environment” on the show and was let go as a choose. The dispute was settled in September.
“Chris Harrison hired Brian Freedman, who represented Mike Fleiss’ wife, which immediately set an aggressive playing field, and the exit negotiations were extremely fraught,” the second supply informed Page Six.
“It was a bunch of emotionally charged men in a room who were not happy with each other at all.”
Meanwhile, the insider added that there’s nonetheless unhealthy blood between Harrison and “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, whom he partly blames for his downfall.
Harrison was livid 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,” Strahan continued. “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 supply stated, “Chris was not proud of that Strahan interview and the best way it went down. He was not proud of Strahan’s remark on the finish of the interview, that it was a ‘surface’ apology. He felt offended and that Strahan made a nasty state of affairs 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,” the community supply stated.
Reps for ABC didn’t remark. Freedman didn’t return calls and e-mails.