It might have seemed like a ratings ploy when Spencer and Heidi Pratt were allowed back into the Costa Rican jungle on NBC's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, but the show's host, Damien Fahey, assures Usmagazine.com the pair had to fight to get back in the game.
Before departing the jungle after one episode, the couple "threw a big fit and made a lot of people's lives difficult," Fahey tells Us. "We didn't think it was fair [for them] to leave and then just be let back in. Initially NBC said no, then no again, and after the fourth no, Spencer and Heidi really started to beg and plead to come back."
Now that the pair has left Costa Rica for good following Heidi's weekend hospitalization, Fahey reflects on their time in the jungle with Us -- and previews new cast member Holly Montag's first episode, airing tonight on NBC.
First off, what do you make of the various reports that Spencer and Heidi were "tortured" in the Lost Chamber? The reality of this show is that these celebrities are really in the jungle. Spencer and Heidi threw a big fit -- made a lot of people's lives difficult, left, and then wanted back in. We didn't think it was fair. They really had to prove [their worth], so they stayed in this old decrepit garden shed with spiders and snakes in tanks and all sorts of bugs, but to be honest, it was probably a more comfortable night's stay -- physically -- than the rest of the camp. It was more of a mind game.
Were they given food and water? Heidi and Spencer were given the same amount of rations as the others -- a portion of rice about the size of a small fist -- and water. Food, water, medical attention, they were all taken care of. I think they [just had] a breakdown. They're not used to living like this. Apparently [now] there's a lawsuit, and [Spencer's] going to sue...that just seems like a lot of nonsense.
Their return to camp was met with mixed reviews. Were their make-good efforts genuine? Stephen Baldwin said he thought their redemption was genuine and Daniel Baldwin called them "convenient Christians." I tend to side more with Daniel, though they haven't done anything to disprove Stephen so far. Seemingly they have found Jesus and I think Spencer's made an incredible transformation, but it's a work in progress. I do agree with Daniel, though: if you're going to be Christian and have all these beliefs, you really have to live your life accordingly, especially when you get preachy.
Have you heard how Heidi is doing now that she's received medical attention for a gastric ulcer? As much as they drove me crazy, I obviously hope Heidi's health is better and that Spencer's okay, too. I haven't heard how she's doing -- we're focused on the shows at hand -- but you saw on the show how they fasted. They were born-again and they started fasting, and when you're out in the rain forest in 100-degree heat, it doesn't matter how much you believe in Jesus, you have to drink water!
Are they really that religious off-camera? Oh yeah, everything is "Jesus." I didn't think a lot of it would make it into the show, just because I know religion is a hot topic. But it did, and it's 'praise Jesus' and this and that. Nothing wrong with that, but it just seemed a little contrived.
Tonight's episode documents Heidi's sister Holly's trip into the jungle. How does she stack up to the competition? She's the polar opposite of everything we've seen with her sister. Very sweet, very nice. She's in it to win it and that's a great attitude to have. Some of the cast members were surprised she was taking part -- most didn't know who she was. I think Stephen Baldwin did a nice job of asking, "Oh, what work do you do?" And she didn't freak out or be like, 'You should know who I am.' Holly doesn't pretend to be anyone she's not. And she's really competitive!
What did she bring for her luxury item? Holly was going to bring BlowPop lollipops in -- but they're banned from camp- so she brought baby powder.
Not a bottle of Heidi's dry shampoo? No! This is NBC, not QVC!