"The tide and the sentiment towards Brad changed to the positive," he tells TVGuide.com.
During the Season 15 premiere, Womack spent the night fielding questions about his previous stint on the show, including those from the two women he dumped in the finale, Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas.
Harrison shares his take on the previous contestants' somewhat harsh comments, and why he thinks Brad kept Madison, the most talked-about girl of the season so far.
TVGuide: Now that the season has premiered, do you think people like Brad now?
Chris Harrison: I think the tide and the sentiment towards Brad changed to the positive. When we announced him, it was pretty venomous. When people were yelling, "We don't want Brad," I was never worried because I knew he'd give us his best sincere effort. I wish everyone could have five minutes in a room with him because you realize how engaging and charismatic and what a sweet guy he is. We can all relate to him — I don't think we can all relate to having a body like that — but we can all relate to him feeling uncomfortable in a room and saying the wrong thing and doing something silly he thought would be cool.
TVGuide: Were you surprised at how harsh DeAnna was with him?
Harrison: I thought she'd be more apathetic. She meant no malice and didn't mean to be mean to Brad, but I think her thought was, "I'm going to be honest and not come on there and be a patsy and kiss Brad on the cheek and say, 'You're a sweetheart, it's OK.'" She felt like it was her job before this thing started to give him one swift kick in the a-- and say, "You hurt me, don't do it again." I think she accomplished that. I think Brad appreciated that she was honest.
TVGuide: What was Brad thinking by keeping Madison and her fangs?
Chris Harrison: I don't know. I think she's mysterious, intriguing; she's obviously a beautiful girl. I didn't see the fangs at first when she got out of the limo. Once I went into the control room, I went, "What the hell are those?" I had the director zoom in and was like, "She has fangs!" I think he felt like, "You know what? She's putting on airs, but this girl's kind of intriguing and I'm keeping 20 of them anyway, what's it going to hurt to keep her for show No. 2?" That night, you're really just looking for something that stands out. Is he going to go off and get married to Madison with fangs? Probably not. But does he want to see what's there? Yeah.
TVGuide: Will the drama with Michelle begin next week?
Chris Harrison: That's kind of a slow brew. The main thing with her is she's so beautiful and, on top of that, is very aggressive and really goes after what she wants — and what she wants is Brad. It really puts some of the girls off. I often find it funny and interesting that on the show there's a code of ethics and decency to the game, but it seems like the end game is to get the guy. Shouldn't you be doing whatever it takes or what you have to do? So it's interesting that Michelle is one of those girls where there really is no code and when the girls are playing nicey-nice and she's not playing by the same rules, it's putting everyone off. It doesn't help that when a girl plays like that, the bachelor really likes it. Men like a woman to come on strong. There's a fine line, but now she's walking it perfectly. Brad also thinks she's hot.
Watch our interview with Brad about the season below.
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