Footage of a steamy moment between two contestants on 2020’s season of My Kitchen Rules was definitely kept by Seven producers after the people involved asked for it to be deleted.
But two network sources told The New Daily the encounter was less spicy than has been claimed – so much so that Seven debated whether it could be used in broadcast family fare to spice up the 11-year-old cooking show.
The encounter allegedly involved digital penetration on a couch at 5am in one of the MKR share houses during filming in mid-2019.
The couple reportedly asked the cameraman who took the footage to delete it, but it ended up in the Seven editing suite in Sydney’s Eveleigh.
It was then allegedly shared among other Seven staff, according to BuzzFeed. The Seven sources denied claims it was widely available on a network server.
“It destroyed me for months,” the contestant said.
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They claimed while under the MKR contract anywhere except the bedroom is a “potential” location for filming, it was “cheeky” of the cameraman to film the encounter.
Seven refused to confirm to The New Daily whether the footage existed and had been shared, but a spokesperson said “All filming was done in accordance with contestant contracts”.
The two network sources confirmed that while a “short” encounter was caught on film, it was more G-rated than the BuzzFeed story claimed.
“Two people competing on the show discovered they were attracted to each other and early one morning acted on that,” the source said, claiming a cameraman “came around a corner” to find the pair on the couch.
MKR contestants are told in writing, in person and during a house induction walk through that there are at least six cameras in public areas and they could be filmed in any room that doesn’t have a closed door.
“What was filmed was them definitely kissing, and there was some movement but nothing obvious or graphic. It was very blurry and then the vision stopped. It wasn’t any big deal.”
The footage was then passed to the editing team to decide if it fitted into the MKR “storyline” and could be “told in a tasteful way”, a second Seven source said.
A claim in the BuzzFeed story that Seven staff keen to watch the tape for salacious reasons were upset when it was apparently lost – then “cheered” when it reappeared – was wrong, the source said.
“It wasn’t used as blokey in-house entertainment.”
Seven “always” knew where it was, and was trying to work out if the encounter “could be handled with a bit of humour the way The Block does that sort of thing.”
The network’s determination to replicate the magic of Nine’s reality behemoth Married at First Sight has led to bosses exploring new ways to inject some edge into MKR, according to an industry source.
That push for ratings gold saw Seven rebadge My Kitchen Rules for next year as a rivalry event featuring teams helmed by judge Manu Feildel and chef Colin Fassnidge.
“The old tried-and-true tropes of teams bitching about each other, the villain, the authentic mum, the Aussie battlers, they’re not grabbing audiences any more,” the source told The New Daily.
“Every network is constantly looking for ways to create headlines, be it something truly family-oriented like Lego Masters or something more controversial like Married at First Sight.
“So if you get your hands on something ‘hot’, for want of a better word, you’d look at it for a possible plot twist. It’s all about shock value.”