Jonathan LaPaglia. Picture: Nigel Wright
Jonathan LaPaglia. Picture: Nigel Wright

LaPaglia exposes Survivor editing trick

Australian Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia has launched an impassioned defence after viewers questioned the results of a challenge despite admitting it "did not play out as depicted."

Fans took to social media after last night's tense challenge between Daisy Richardson and Simon Black, both fighting to regain a place in the game after being banished to Exile Island.

As the challenge was depicted to viewers, both had to manoeuvre 10 discs through a maze, then balance them precariously on top of each other. The first to have all 10 discs stay in place as LaPaglia counted to three would win the challenge.

Black won the challenge, but some viewers questioned the fairness of his win - Daisy had been first to stack 10 discs, but hers toppled over as LaPaglia slow-counted "One … two … three".

When Simon stacked his 10 discs, LaPaglia declared him the winner after what appeared to be a quicker 1-2-3 count.

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Daisy’s stack topples as Simon keeps working.
Daisy’s stack topples as Simon keeps working.

Survivor viewers are notorious sticklers for rules - and the apparent discrepancy did not go unnoticed.

"The countdown for Daisy was so slow. That was bulls**t," tweeted one fan last night.

"That countdown seemed somewhat inconsistent to Daisy's," wrote another.

"Only because it was rigged. Could he have counted any faster for Simon and slower for Daisy? What a joke," said another.

In an unusual move, LaPaglia last night tweeted several fans asking them to "relax" - and today published a detailed Instagram post defending the challenge result.

LaPaglia revealed that the challenge, which took up about six minutes of the episode, in fact played out over two agonising hours.

"I see a lot of people upset at my counting in this challenge but the anger seems misdirected. I can assure you I am a staunch defender of the integrity of the game and do everything I can to make sure it is fair on the floor. However once it's shot, it's out of my hands. This challenge did not play out as depicted in the edit," he wrote.

The host revealed that originally, Daisy and Simon had been instructed to stack 12 discs - a near-impossible task that saw them spend almost two hours on failed attempts.

Here is Simon in a scene that wasn't shown in the episode, watching as his 12 carefully-stacked discs topple:

Simon's 12 discs go flying in scenes that didn't make it to air.
Simon's 12 discs go flying in scenes that didn't make it to air.

LaPaglia revealed that after two hours, a decision was then made to reset for a sudden death playoff: Whoever could stack the most discs within 10 minutes would win.

"Simon undoubtedly won the playoff, no question. Now I guess a decision was made in post production to edit out the playoff and create a more exciting 'horse race' (even though in reality Simon and Daisy were not neck and neck at that point). In doing so they grabbed a countdown from somewhere else for Daisy. That's why they don't sound the same. That being said, Simon won fair and square. And sometimes things are rearranged in the edit to make it more exciting for the viewer. That doesn't mean it's rigged. In this case it means the editing wasn't as sharp as it could have been," LaPaglia wrote.

Confusingly, LaPaglia's insistence that Daisy was not close to beating Simon doesn't square with Daisy's own telling of the challenge when she arrived at Jury Villa after her elimination - she told the other evicted contestants there had been a "bee's d**k" between her and Simon.

Daisy last night responded to LaPaglia's insistence she "wasn't even close": "Wow @JLa_Paglia I'm pretty sure I was pretty bloody close," she tweeted.

The challenge confusion comes just a day after many viewers disputed Pia Miranda's first immunity challenge win of the season, insisting Pia had been mistakenly declared the winner and fellow contestant Luke Toki had in fact won.

Survivor's production company Endemol Shine Australia backed the actress in the wake of the controversy, telling that "Pia was the winner of the challenge. All that were there saw the win play out this way".


Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia has cleared the air after a second challenge controversy. Picture: Nigel Wright.
Survivor host Jonathan LaPaglia has cleared the air after a second challenge controversy. Picture: Nigel Wright.

This isn't the first time this season LaPaglia's trademark honesty has caused a stir this season - in an interview with the ABC's Stop Everything! radio program last month, he conceded the show had a diversity problem and mused that he "may get into trouble" for speaking about it.

"I've never really got a satisfactory answer on it (the diversity question)," he said. "Basically I'm told that there aren't that many people from minority cultures that apply, and whether that's true or not, I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm told.

"The producers probably want to stab me right now but … to disagree would be disingenuous right? I mean, it's hard to deny the obvious, it does feel very whitewashed, yes."

In a statement to, a Network 10 spokeswoman said it took its "commitment to diversity seriously".

"Eligible contestants on all Network 10 shows are considered regardless of race or background. Network 10 takes its commitment to diversity seriously and we cast as broadly as possible across our entire slate."

Australian Survivor airs next week at 7.30pm on Monday and Tuesday nights on Ten.

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