'Bachelor's' Chris Harrison on Bettina Bell, Michelle Money, the NASCAR date

elite-sheet-chris-harrison.jpg"Bachelor" host Chris Harrison spoke with the press in the middle of a current season for the first time ever. He dished about the Bettina Bell controversy, polarizing bachelorette Michelle Money and the upcoming NASCAR date that seems a tad insensitive to Emily Maynard, the NASCAR widow.

On the Bettina Bell claims:

"I can tell you two things. First of all, the deal about Bettina is not true. I also promise you that if it were true, don't you think we would've brought her on in episode 2 as a surprise as part of great television? We would've absolutely brought her on. She's been on our show before and I know Bettina and she's a great girl, but that's absolutely not true."

On Michelle Money, the prickly bachelorette:

"I know some people use the 'c' word, 'oh, they're crazy,' but I think this season's Michelle with Brad is actually playing him very well. She really knows how to push his buttons and keep him on edge and keep him interested ... I don't find her that crazy. I find her entertaining and I find her really funny. She is that girl who is aggressive, she puts Brad on edge, but she's also keeping Brad very interested. But I don't find her crazy. I think she has some issues and the way she acts and the things she says are pretty abrupt, but in some ways I appreciate her."

On the upcoming NASCAR date:

"I get why people are immediately jumping to conclusions and saying it's cruel but ... this date in the season was set up before Emily was cast. ... And Brad still does not know this story. He knows her fiancee died in a plane crash, but he doesn't know Ricky was involved in NASCAR or who her fiancee's family is. Obviously, that will come out this week."

"With that said, we as producers knew this story and we knew Emily, so we had a choice to make. Do we tell Brad? Do we warn Emily? Our choice was kind of what we've always done and that is let the real life drama and everything play out. And you will see .. I actually love it that people jump to conclusions based on previews, but reserve your judgment until Tuesday morning."

On the reason people still love "The Bachelor" shows so much:

"Our show, as much as it is about finding love, it's about escapism. It's the modern day soap opera ... People watch that show for that escapism, but they also know it's real, which is something soap operas can't deliver. Ali and Roberto live on, Trista and Ryan live on after the show is over."

"The Bachelor" airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Photo/Video credit: ABC
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