In one version Leigh and Jennifer won My Kitchen Rules.
But in another unaired sequence, filmed during production, Nic & Rocco ‘won’ the Seven Reality contest.
Like “Who Shot JR?” in Dallas, Seven cleverly filmed alternate endings for the hit show in order to keep the winner under wraps.
None of the four finalists knew who had won the show until they watched it on air on Tuesday night.
In the unaired version, the same dishes cooked by Nic and Rocco received higher scores than in the edition that ultimately went to air.
A Seven spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Until the final moments of the grand final edition of MKR only a handful of people knew the actual, final result.
“It was important to let the magic of television and storytelling carry the day. Two endings were recorded in order to preserve the actual result, which is not unusual in the business of television production.”
Seven insists there was only one correct ending, which aired on Tuesday night.
The finale was filmed in December, which surely would have been a long time for the participants to observe Confidentiality clauses. In the previous two seasons, Seven didn’t go the extra mile to film two sequences, nor was the outcome leaked.
Other Reality shows such as Celebrity Apprentice Australia have filmed alternate endings. Last year there were sequences filmed with both Julia Morris and Jason Coleman as ‘winners’ -the Morris version went to air.
In the first season of MasterChef Australia both Julie Goodwin and Poh Ling Yeow famously gave “winner” and “loser” quotes to media ahead of the finale airing, resulting in one newspaper accidentally publishing Poh as winner.
Since then TEN has filmed the cooking ahead of time, due to the production machinations involved, but brought finalists back to the kitchen for the judging just hours before it airs, and kept all parties on site until the episode has aired.
The Block and Australia’s Got Talent also film winner announcements within 24 hours of their airing. Australia’s Next Top Model infamously aired a Live result with disastrous results in 2010.
It’s never easy juggling production deadlines and winner announcements, especially when your riding on a hit show.
But Reality isn’t always about reality. Just as the kitchens aren’t necessarily their own in MKR (there are minimum space requirements needed for crews), editors and producers in the genre carefully manipulate the storytelling of their shows.
Savvy audiences, invested in profile programmes, are becoming more and more analytical of storytelling, from “plating up” scandals to questioning how Leigh and Jennifer scored perfect 10s when they didn’t complete chocolate tempering (it was an extra, not on their menu).
Judge Pete Evans said on Facebook, “I am sorry you only get to see maybe 10% of what we actually say about each dish as it arrives, otherwise the show would have aired for 5 hours or more last night. Once again thanks for watching!!!”