Variety's Elizabeth Wagmeister offers her investigation into how Harrison's exit went down, saying that the longtime Bachelor franchise host and ABC executives didn't realize the level of crisis they had following his disastrous Extra interview with Rachel Lindsay. "The entire situation was completely repairable — and avoidable," says Wagmeister. Wagmeister also reports that contrary to Variety's sister publication Deadline reporting that Harrison exited with a "mid-range eight-figure payoff," "Harrison did not walk away with a substantial eight-figure payout. Two individuals familiar with the negotiations say that the host got $9 million, plus remaining contractual fees, which brought his total exit package to roughly $10 million — about the same paycheck he would have made from two years of work, as his contract was said to be around $5 million per year." Wagmeister points out that Harrison didn't have to do the Extra interview -- it was never requested by the studio or an ABC publicist. After the interview, Harrison thought it went well and didn't realize how problematic it was. "As soon as the interview aired, social media erupted and ABC and Warner Bros. realized they had a big problem on their hands," Wagmeister reports. "The network and studio panicked at the public response and went into quick damage control. In the immediate days following his interview, Harrison spoke to bigwigs within the franchise, who took an open approach. Harrison was never told that he’d be fired from his longtime position; in fact, any consideration of him being terminated was not even addressed in initial conversations. Instead, the talks revolved around Harrison apologizing, educating himself on race issues and making proper amends to people who were hurt by his comments within the franchise." But despite Harrison's apology, the controversy wouldn't die down. So Harrison went on Good Morning America for a pretaped interview with Michael Strahan. But that interview also was a disaster. "At that point, it became clear that Harrison would need to take a longer time-out, but the franchise was still planning on eventually bringing him back, according to sources," reports Wagmeister. "At the request of Bachelor executives, Harrison contacted a handful of former cast members to mixed results, which Variety has confirmed through multiple sources. The general response from BIPOC cast members that Harrison had called or texted was informing him that his apology would be accepted, but he would need to put in the work to educate himself before he’d be welcomed back with open arms. As all this was brewing, there was another major roadblock for Harrison. In March, current Bachelorette Katie Thurston flat-out refused to star in her season if Harrison was the host...Insiders familiar with discussions say that Thurston spoke to Harrison directly, informing him that she would not feel comfortable starring as The Bachelorette if he was involved due to all of the controversy surrounding him. This conversation upset and hurt Harrison, according to a person familiar with their chat." Wagmeister adds that people close to Harrison say he deeply cared about his job and always planned to return. "But eventually, Harrison’s desire to return to The Bachelor was overshadowed by the mess behind-the-scenes between his team and the studio and network," she says, noting that Harrison didn't acknowledge the network or studio in his goodbye message.