"It will not be announced at the Women Tell All," he tells TVGuide.com, clearing up recent reports. "I can promise you as of Sunday night, I was with the creator of the show, Mike Fleiss, and when I left him in the wee hours of the morning we did not have a Bachelorette picked."
Harrison concedes, however, that the most recent reject is absolutely a contender and tells us that, shockingly, so is Michelle. Why? He fills us in on some of what happens when the women return next week (and what he calls Ashley H's extreme makeover). Plus: Was Brad allowed to tell Emily he's falling in love with her? Keep reading to find out.
Is Ashley H the next Bachelorette?
Chris Harrison: There will be a Bachelorette announcement very soon, but it will not be announced at the Women Tell All. It might be announced on After the Final Rose, but I can promise you as of Sunday night I was with the creator of the show, Mike Fleiss, and when I left him in the wee hours of the morning we did not have a Bachelorette picked. We don't make a decision right away because we really leave a lot up to our fans and viewers. Immediately after Ashley S's exit, everyone was clamoring for her, but maybe that will die down, so let's wait and see. Ashley H can easily be our Bachelorette and she's a contender, but it has not been decided. We're constantly going back and forth and the front-runners change 10 times. We play the show out and honestly I can see a show with Ashley S, Ashley H — I can see a show now with Michelle. You got to wait to see the Women Tell All. If we came out and said Ashley H is our Bachelorette and America's like we really want Michelle, well why would we have done that to ourselves?
Brad had a lot of questions this week for Ashley. If they had the overnight date, wasn't that plenty of time to answer them?
Harrison: They had the whole night to talk it out and it got worse. It may have been the most uncomfortable meltdown on a fantasy date we've ever had. It was just not good, and you'll see next week in the Women Tell All they kind of talk it out and they're not mad at each other. But it got awkward and strange, there's no other way to say it.
He mentioned he thought Ashley would be in the final two, won't that come back to bite him?
Harrison: He's honest to a fault and I think while he's going through it, he was giving it his all and not thinking about later, but now this poor girl is watching this play back. Even on the Women Tell All he hasn't learned his lesson. We're sitting there and he's telling Ashley, "I don't want to get myself in trouble, but that carnival date was the best first date of my life." He's trying to do the right thing and say the right thing, but he puts his foot in his mouth.
What else can you say about the Women Tell All?
Harrison: The women come and are like, "Yeah, I'm over him," but they see the package and it takes them back and they see him and they get emotional. That's how I know the show really works in a weird way and that the emotions are real. They come back and see him and are crying.
How was having Michelle back?
Harrison: Michelle will blow your mind, and I mean that in a good way and bad way. I've seen it all and I never saw this coming. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced in 10 years, and I was so thrown off I didn't know what was going on.
Anyone else who surprised you?
Harrison: Raichel and Melissa. That feud isn't over by any stretch of the imagination, and people take sides. I gave Brad a lot of credit that these girls were causing a lot of trouble, and he's like, you're both out of here, but what's funny is they still didn't learn their lesson because they were still going at it. Also extreme makeover for Ashley H. You will not recognize her. I think in a great way, but this is going to be up for debate. I think she looks hot.
So was Brad even allowed to tell Emily he's falling in love with her?
Harrison: There is no overriding contract of etiquette and code; we really don't have any rules. It's not that this hasn't been said before, per se; it's that you haven't seen it before. Yes, there's a relationship being formed, but we're also creating a television show. So maybe we wanted you to hear that last night and take that for what you want that to mean. He's obviously falling in love with Chantal as well and he didn't say it as much, but the other things he says and the way he acts, I think a blind person could see he's falling for her as well.
Did Chantal get the short end of the stick with her fantasy suite?
Harrison: If you ask Brad, that was one of the coolest things he's ever done. When I say it's in the middle of nowhere, it's literally out in the middle of nowhere, with just a tree house under this canopy of stars. And I want to clear up that there was a bathroom, it was to the side and more of an outhouse than anything. Definitely not where a woman would want to stay and feel sexy for a long time, but for one night it was perfect for them.