Channel 9 has insisted that not all publicity is good publicity when it comes to its controversial ratings behemoth “Married At First Sight”.
The show has been besieged by controversies in recent years, including allegations of promoting toxic relationships, misogyny, violence and racism.
This season has garnered further negative attention after one contestant, Olivia, shared nude photographs of another female contestant, Domenica, without her permission.
In light of the ongoing furore, Adrian Swift, Nine Network’s head of content production and development, said the program and its team don’t believe that all publicity is good publicity. Instead, he said, the program follows its own editorial edict.
“We don’t make things happen and we don’t excise anything that has happened,” he told Variety Australia at Screen Forever last week.
“I’ll give you an example about that. About three seasons ago, Season 7, a groom used a bride’s toothbrush to clean a toilet.
“More than anything in the world, we didn’t want to put that to air. We thought it was just stupid and mean and awful and undergraduate, just everything. But it was so material to all the relationships in that group, that we couldn’t excise it.
“So we’re kind of hoist on our own petard a bit here. We put things to air that we don’t want to go to air, but we certainly don’t believe all publicity is good publicity and we believe that it is absolutely possible to go too far on these shows.”
Despite the seemingly non-stop controversy, Swift denied the show relied on drama for its ratings success.
““Married At First Sight” at its core is a show about love. It’s not a show about drama. You can watch the drama, it’s there, you can’t stop it. But it’s a show about love.”
In addition, he said “Married At First Sight” is one of the best reality shows in the whole world.
““MAFS” is probably our most important show because it gives us a great start to the year,” he said. “I love working on that show because I think it’s one of the best-made shows of its kind in the world.
“I think the team that work on that and the level of care in post-production, the quality of the composing, the brilliance in the field, is some of the best television in the world.
“I’m really proud to work with Tara McWilliams who is the EP and Stevo Petkovic who’s the EP of post on a show that I think will stand up in any market anywhere in the world.”
“Married At First Sight” is produced by Endemol Shine Australia for Channel 9.