TEN has reversed a promise on its voting plans for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
Earlier this year Programming Chief Beverley McGarvey confirmed that Votes to Save would be limited to SMS voting, while Twitter and Facebook votes would apply only to Challenges.
The distinction was to help ensure that celebrities with big social media followers would not have any advantages, drawing upon votes from international followers.
But last week it announced Twitter and Facebook voting would be allowed for Finals week.
Last year Freddie Flintoff (with 1.8m Twitter followers) won the TEN series over Chrissie Swan (who currently has 45,000 followers).
As McGarvey explained, “…we’re actually separating the votes this year. The Vote to Save your favourite person will be a traditional SMS vote and the Twitter vote will be for ‘Who do you want to partake in the (Challenge)?’
“We’re separating those to simplify it for the audience. The issue you think may have happened last year –which actually didn’t- will certainly not happen this year because we’re separating the vote anyway.”
This week some social media users were critical of the change of heart, particularly given Shane Warne has 2.6m followers plus celebrity mates such as Sachin Tendulkar (9.8m followers) lobbying on his behalf. Changing the voting rules arguably also impacts on betting agency users.
A TEN spokesperson told TV Tonight, “This voting format has been adapted for the finals week as there is no public vote in regards to the trials. The eliminated celebrity nominates the celebrity they wish to see doing the trial. It is their parting gift to the camp mates.”
TEN has not confirmed its ability to audit Australian social media voting from those generated overseas.
Despite the backflip, the heat in the argument dissipated significantly last night after Shane Warne was voted out of the jungle.
Brendan Fevola: 101,000
Anthony Callea: 27,000
Laurina Fleure: 6,538
Paul Harragon: 927