Making deals! Chris Harrison “went back and forth” with ABC over his multimillion-dollar payout deal for his exit from the Bachelor franchise, an insider exclusively tells Life & Style. “The bottom line is that the network didn’t want any problems.”

The longtime host, 49, who has been with Bachelor Nation for nearly twenty years, “had the upper hand to an extent” during negotiations, adds the insider. “But there were also tons of fine print and stipulations in his contract regarding employee conduct and policy that played out in the network’s favor.” 

Although the exact figure is not publicly known, some outlets have reported Chris received between $18 and $25 million as a payout for terminating his contract. 

“Chris was an extremely loyal employee of ABC for many years,” explains the insider, noting some of the network executives thought “firing” the Dallas native was “unfair” following his statements about Matt James’ contestant Rachael Kirkconnell’s racism controversy. They thought “he was due a huge payout,” says the insider.

That being said, the network is ready to move on from the ongoing scandal. “No one at ABC is going to comment on it publicly, [but] they’re fine with what Chris ultimately negotiated. They’re happy it’s behind them,” the insider divulges. 

Life & Style confirmed on Tuesday, June 8, that Chris was permanently leaving the franchise amid his hiatus. “Chris Harrison is stepping aside as host of The Bachelor franchise,” Warner Horizon and ABC Entertainment told Life & Style in a statement. “We are thankful for his many contributions over the past 20 years and wish him all the best on his new journey.” 

Chris later confirmed the news himself via Instagram while reflecting on the “incredible run” he’s had as host. “I’m excited to start a new chapter. I’m so grateful to Bachelor Nation for all of the memories we’ve made together,” he wrote. “While my two-decade journey is wrapping up, the friendships I’ve made will last a lifetime.”

The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire host has already sat out for season 17 of The Bachelorette while franchise stars Tayshia Adams and Kaitlyn Bristowe stepped in as hosts to help guide leading lady Katie Thurston. It was also revealed he will not be returning for season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise. Instead, a slew of celebrities, including David Spade and Tituss Burgess, will be rotating as hosts from week to week

News of Chris’ final bow in the franchise comes four months after he was interviewed on Extra by season 13 Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay about the controversy surrounding season 25 contestant Rachael, 24. 

During the interview, the Perfect Letter author asked fans to have “a little grace, a little understanding” and “compassion” for the reality contestant and used the term “woke police” to describe those trying to hold Rachael accountable. 

He released a statement the following day apologizing for not being “better informed.” Shortly after, the host announced he was stepping back from his hosting duties in an effort to get “educated on a more profound and productive level.”

The Georgia native, who is currently still dating Matt, 29, after a brief split, was accused by a TikTok user of mistreating her in high school for “liking Black guys.” Another video on the social media app began circulating alleging Rachael “liked” a slew of offensive social media photos, including one that featured the Confederate flag. Then, photos surfaced of the graphic designer attending an “Old South” antebellum-themed fraternity party in 2018. Rachael has since released an apology