Amid massive financial woes, Channel Ten is said to be tightening the purse strings in more ways than allegedly rationing avocados and coffee.
While filming The Bachelor and The Bachelorette this year, Matty Johnson and Sophie Monk were put up in a $1.7 million, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with an indoor pool in Dural, north-west Sydney.
Not too shabby for the marketing director, 30, and the former Bardot singer and actress, 37.
But it’s a far cry from the lavish $4.1 million five-bed, four-bath mansion with two outdoor pools and its very own lake with featured fountain that last year’s The Bachelor Richie Strahan and The Bachelorette Georgia Love lived in.
Strahan and Love had more than 20,000 square metres of sprawling estate to roam around on as they pondered who they would date and dump, while Johnson and Monk were confined to a mere 1008 square metres.
Channel Ten entered into voluntary administration in June, but a spokeswoman for The Bachelor denied the house move had anything to do with budget cuts.
“It just suited the needs of the production better this season … and provided a different outlook for filming,” they added, despite the former mansion in Middle Dural being closer to where the unlucky-in-love contestants are based at Abbott Place, Glenorie, while the new residence is over 15 kilometres away.
The reality series is no stranger to a move. Last year they upped sticks and left the heritage-listed waterfront estate, Clifton, in leafy Hunters Hill, that was rumoured to have cost production $25,000 a week in rent.
The news of the house downgrade amid reports last week that contestants’ living conditions left a lot to be desired, with food restricted.
A spokeswoman labelled the story as “ridiculous”, and
rationed avocados were put down to “seasonal shortages”.
When it came to “uncomfortable” bunk beds, an insider told Fairfax Media: “I think that’s probably all up to personal interpretation,” while shared living quarters have helped past contestants form strong friendships that have continued long after the show had wrapped.
Although season five is rating higher than any other for Ten, the series has not been without its problems.
The winner of Johnson’s heart was photographed with him last year while filming the finale in Thailand by two well-known Sydney paparazzi.
Ten won an injunction at the NSW Supreme Court to stop the paparazzi from publishing the 318 photographs or disclosing the identities of the home visits and the finale – another costly move amid the ailing broadcaster’s financial struggles.
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