Tiaras, tantrums and tabloid telly

Friday’s “princess pageant” dress rehearsal in Melbourne turned into something of a farce as a TV-rights war between A Current Affair and Today Tonight threatened to upstage pampered kids and the protestors.

And that’s some feat…

Several media articles today extract some of the gory details that surrounded US child pageant entrant, six year old Eden Wood and the Universal Royal Beauty Pageant held at Northcote Town Hall.

A Current Affair paid $20,000 for the exclusive TV rights to cover the event inside the Town Hall.

But Today Tonight paid pageant mother Mickie Wood and her daughter Eden an unconfirmed fee of up to $70,000.

What ensued on the night was a no-show by Eden Wood, a crowd favourite from Toddlers and Tiaras, as Seven reportedly kept her at bay in a shop across the road. Nor did she show at the main event yesterday.

ACA executive producer Grant Williams says Today Tonight also offered a further $70,000 to the organisers of the pageant.

“Because TT couldn’t get into the pageant, they grabbed a few kids from the show and took them down the road to meet Eden so it looked like they had been there,” he told news.com.au.

Ms. Wood, who said she had been paid “nothing close” to the touted $70k, said she had put her daughter’s welfare first in deciding not to let her attend after threats had been made.

But The Sunday Age was told by  Channel Seven producer Madeleine Kennard that  Eden wouldn’t be attending the pageant because Mickie  Wood’s agent, Heather Ryan,  wasn’t allowed into the venue.

At one stage Ms. Wood and Ms Ryan were chased up and down the street, shielding their faces from the Channel Nine crew.

Meanwhile, the Seven crew  tried to get word inside the pageant that Eden was available for autographs and pictures if they came to the shop.

Ms. Wood told NineMSN, “The whole city is astir about a beauty pageant that there’s nothing wrong with … it’s something that the little girls and their parents chose to bring them to.”

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the decision by Ms. Wood to withdraw Eden from the event left many of her fans disappointed after they had paid $50 to have their photo taken with the young  starlet. Entrants were reportedly told they could cash in their money for other event  merchandise.

Yesterday, a modest protest gathered at the Fairy Tree at the Fitzroy Gardens to voice their opposition to the pageant.

A few fairies joined in and a couple of fluffy white bunny rabbits sniggered from behind the bushes.


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