Chris Harrison's 'The Bachelor' exit payout was reportedly actually less than $10 million
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 06/21/2021
Chris Harrison reportedly actually received a much smaller The Bachelorexit package than previously reported when ABC and the franchise's production company opted to cut ties with the longtime host this month.
Deadline reported earlier this month that Chris had agreed to leave the franchise after several days of intense negotiations with ABC that ended with Chris receiving a big hush-money exit settlement that was for a "mid-range eight-figure."
The Bachelorette alum Dean Unglert even joked recently on his Help! I Suck at Dating podcast, "I just don't understand why everyone is so sad... [Chris is] walking away with $50 million or however much, it's unreported. I think it's eight figures is what everyone is saying, so we're assuming $25 to $50 million... He is laughing his way to the bank right now."
But according toVariety, Chris' exit package was definitely not a significant eight-figure payout.
Two individuals familiar with Chris and ABC's negotiations claim Chris only received $9 million to leave the show quietly and amicably, plus his remaining contractual fees, which brought his total payout to roughly $10 million.
Chris reportedly would have made a similar paycheck had he continued to host The Bachelor franchise for just two more years, given his salary was around $5 million per year.
Variety revealed that its sources want to remain anonymous because they either still work for The Bachelor franchise or are too closely associated with the Chris' job situation.
Chris and ABC confirmed in separate statements on June 8 that Chris will no longer host The Bachelor franchise following his racism controversy involving Bachelor Nation's Rachel Lindsay and Rachael Kirkconnell earlier this year.
ABC said the network is "thankful" for Chris' "many contributions over the past 20 years" and they wish him well, and Chris wrote on Instagram how he's had an "incredible run" as host of The Bachelor since 2002 and made friendships that will "last a lifetime."
However, Los Angeles-based, high-profile entertainment litigator Bryan J. Freedman represented Chris in the last couple of months and allegedly threatened a heavy lawsuit and to expose The Bachelor franchise's well-kept secrets over the last 20 years unless Chris was satisfactorily compensated.
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As The New York Post previously reported in March, Chris was "ready to tell the truth about how things really work" behind the scenes in The Bachelor franchise and had "plenty of evidence" to back up his revelations.
As executives were reportedly weighing their options for a new host recently, a person close to Chris told Variety that his attorney was "outraged" over how the matter was being handled.
"Chris has had a spotless record for 20 years... He has always been the good company man, but, after the way he's been treated by producers and executives over the past couple of weeks, he's run out of cheeks to turn," a Chris friend told Page Six at the time.
Chris announced in February he'd be "stepping aside" from his hosting duties with The Bachelor franchise "for a period of time" to educate himself on racism in society in a "profound" and "productive" manner after he made offensive remarks in an early-February Extra interview with Rachel, who starred as The Bachelorette's first Black leading lady on Season 13.
In the Extra interview, Chris had defendedMatt James' girlfriend Rachael -- the winner of The Bachelor's 25th season -- as she faced backlash for her racially-ignorant and racially-insensitive actions in the last several years.
Chris wished for "grace" and "compassion" for Rachael and had adopted a dismissive attitude towards photos of Rachael that resurfaced from an antebellum-plantation themed "Old South" fraternity party at Georgia College & State University in 2018.
He was also blasted for using terms such as "the woke police" to drive his point home.
Chris previously issued three public apologies for his offense, two of which were written statements posted on Instagram and one that later took the form of a verbal apology during a March appearance on Good MorningAmerica.
"I am an imperfect man, I made a mistake and I own that. I believe that mistake doesn't reflect who I am or what I stand for," Chris said during the March 4 episode of GMA.
Chris admitted he was "saddened and shocked" at how "insensitive" he behaved in that interview with Rachel. He expressed his deepest apologies and said he didn't speak from the heart and stands against "all forms of racism."
"I am committed to progress, not just for myself, also for the franchise. And this is a franchise that has been a part of my life for the better part of 20 years and I love it. I plan to be back and I want to be back."
After the interview wrapped, GMA co-host Michael Strahan said he believed Chris' apology was "nothing more than a surface response" and it was clear to him that Chris just wanted to stay on the show.
The Bachelor executives allegedly considered the interview to be disastrous and were confused by Chris' "rigid on-air performance" that didn't exactly come across as sincere, according to Variety.
Sources therefore told Variety it was determined at that point Chris needed to take a longer leave of absence, although ABC was still planning on bringing him back at the time.
However, the new The Bachelorette star Katie Thurston reportedly refused to star on the show in March if ABC welcomed Chris back as the host.
Insiders claim Katie spoke to Chris directly and explained that she would not feel comfortable starring as the Bachelorette with him on the set leading the show. Variety reported that this conversation upset and hurt Chris.
But then in early June, reports began to swirl a rotation of celebrities would serve as guest hosts for Bachelor in Paradise's upcoming seventh season this summer, including actor and comedian David Spade.
A person familiar with Chris' negotiations told Variety that at this point, the network had decided there was "absolutely no chance" Chris would be returning for Bachelor in Paradise and the prospect of him reprising his hosting role later on -- for Michelle Young's Fall 2021 The Bachelorette season, for example -- was "extraordinarily remote."
News of David and other celebrities hostingBachelor in Paradise reportedly set Chris off and led to the intense negotiations regarding his permanent exit and settlement.
Although Chris would have liked to keep his job, Variety claims the damage had already been done and his relationship with ABC had been tarnished.