“The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison demanded a $ 25 million payment after he was banned from the show – and threatened to reveal all the franchise’s dirty secrets if he didn’t get it. sources told Page Six.
“He’s almost 20 years of dirt,” an ABC source said on Tuesday.
“Instead of handing them a rose, he was absolutely ready to hand them a lawsuit detailing all the details behind the scenes.”
Harrison, 49, has been simmering since he got the boot for defense candidate Rachel Kirkconnell in his controversial run – and insiders have said he’s not going to fall without a fight.
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“Chris Harrison’s whole life was ‘The Bachelor’ and he just didn’t want to let go,” the source said. “It is always very sad to leave, and very hard and very heated negotiations have been going on for weeks.”
Big network bosses had hoped Harrison would “be gone quickly and quietly” so they could put the PR nightmare behind them as quickly as possible, the well-placed source said.
But Harrison – who was the frontrunner of the wildly successful franchise for the past 19 years before the blossoms died out – had none of it, the source said.
Negotiations between Harrison and ABC over his exit ended up being more explosive – and dramatic – than any season finale, a second network source said.
“He knows a lot about inappropriate behavior on set: fights between competitors, bad behavior, including the use of illegal substances abroad and complaints from producers that have allegedly been overlooked by ABC executives,” the first source said.
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“He was ready to speak the truth about how things really work out there – and he has a lot of evidence to back it up. Chris was making $ 5 million a season and wanted $ 25 million,” the source said. .
The second source said a settlement with Harrison was ultimately reached – although it was not estimated at $ 25 million.
Harrison had recently raised the bar by hiring prominent LA lawyer Brian Freedman, who previously represented the wife of “Bachelor” creator and executive producer Mike Fleiss in their bitter divorce.
Laura Kaeppeler Fleiss, a former Miss America, has made allegations of domestic assault resulting from an alleged assault at one of the couple’s homes in Hawaii. She withdrew the complaint a few days later and received a $ 10 million settlement.
Freedman also replaced Gabrielle Union in her dispute with NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” last year after complaining about racism and a “toxic environment” on the show and being fired as a judge. The dispute was settled in September.
“Chris Harrison hired Brian Freedman, who represented the wife of Mike Fleiss, which immediately established an aggressive playing field, and exit negotiations were extremely tense,” the second source told Page Six.
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“It was a group of emotionally charged men in a room who weren’t happy with each other at all.”
Meanwhile, the insider added that there were still disagreements between Harrison and “Good Morning America” host Michael Strahan, whom he blames in part for his downfall.
Harrison was furious that after apologizing for standing up for Kirkconnell, Strahan ended the interview by saying, “Well, his apology is his apology.
“But I felt like I had nothing more than a cursory answer to all of this,” Strahan continued. “And obviously… the man clearly wants to stay on the show – but only time will tell if there is any meaning behind his words.”
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The source said: “Chris was not happy with this interview with Strahan and the way it turned out. He was not happy with Strahan’s comment at the end of the interview, which he said. were acting “superficial.” He felt angry and that Strahan made a bad situation even worse.
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“But in the end, it was Chris Harrison who made the decision to go on ‘GMA’, and he shouldn’t have expected an easy turn just because ‘GMA’ is also a show on ABC. “said the network source.
ABC representatives did not comment. Freedman did not respond to calls and emails.
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