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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Updated: Is Sarah Murdoch being blamed for the model muddle?


A new day, a fresh perspective it seems.

It appears Foxtel is now claiming Sarah Murdoch made the mistake that led to the wrong winner being announced on the live final of Australia’s Next Top Model on Fox 8 last night.

The comments by Foxtel’s director of publicity Jamie Campbell today are at odds with Murdoch’s statement on the show last night, claiming she had been fed the wrong name.

Speaking on Sky News earlier today, Campbell said: “To be honest it was the perils of live TV and miscommunication between the directors in the truck in the controlroom out the back at Luna Park and between Sarah on stage. Sarah wasn’t given the right information, or didn’t hear the right information and as a result Kelsey’s name was announced.”

Pushed further by the presenter with this question: “Was she given the wrong information or did she mishear the information?” Campbell then replied, “Look, as it turned out she was given information that was written on a card in front of her off the stage and at the time she’d previously been given the name Kelsey because earlier on in the night Kelsey was the first person to be put through after Sophie was eliminated.

“So in the heat of the moment in live TV with 2000 people in the audience Kelsey’s name was read out and it was just the wrong name.”

What do you think? Is this putting the blame squarely on Sarah. If so, that's a pretty bitter pill to swallow after her stellar performance.

Meanwhile, Foxtel is fighting accusations today that Australia's Next Top Model staged the announcement of the wrong winner last night all for publicity.

Fashion designer Alex Perry, one of the judges on the show, told 2DayFM this morning there was no question it was a real mistake.

"I would stake my life on it,'' said Perry. "There's no way that she (Murdoch) would do that. I think you saw that the instant that she knew something was wrong, you could see it in her eyes, that wasn't lying, that wasn't acting.

"Everybody wants to tag something sinister on it and say it was done for ratings (but) I know Sarah and I know the executive producer, it's just not their style, they have too much integrity.''

"Everyone's allowed to make a mistake,'' he continued.

Neither girl has complained (at least publicly) about the humiliation, with both saying it was a genuine mistake, adding that they felt it was handled well.

"I think I got my moment,'' Ware told 2DayFM. "I said the same speech I would have said anyway. It was so close.''

Martinovich added: "There's nothing I really could have done, or Sarah could have done, I think we all kind of held ourselves really well. She was just so apologetic.''

Foxtel has denied a rumour that a producer had been sacked, and said both girls would get a $25,000 cash prize and a trip to New York as compensation.

Photo credit: Adam Ward / http://www.news.com.au/

UPDATE: FOXTEL has today re-stated it has accepted the explanation given by the producers of Australia's Next Top Model that there was a communication breakdown last night when the series’ winner was announced.

"In live television, mistakes can happen and we accept that fact,” said FOXTEL Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh. “Sarah was simply not given the correct information at that stage of the proceedings.

“FOXTEL is not blaming any individual, and certainly not Sarah Murdoch, as some reports have suggested. That is not true. Sarah dealt with a very difficult situation with grace, dignity and professionalism.

“We do understand the interest this has generated as a news story but hope the focus will shift to the new careers of Amanda Ware, Kelsey Martinovich and all the girls who have made this series of Australia’s Next Top Model our most successful ever.”

And there you have it.

UPDATED: Foxtel says it was all due to human error. See link here.

Here is the video footage of what went down:

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