Upset at the show's Costa Rican jungle living conditions, the newlyweds briefly quit the NBC reality competition hours after it began filming this weekend, NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy confirmed Monday.
"Speidi-gate, that's what we're calling it. I was playing with my kids at about 7PM on Saturday and I got a call [saying] 'Get on a plane down to the jungle, Spencer and Heidi have walked,'" Telegdy told Ryan Seacrest during a Monday morning appearance on his syndicated radio show.
"Anyway, they are back in, they calmed down, but all I can say is that what's unfolding here is some of the most extraordinary TV I've ever witnessed in twenty years as a producer," Telegdy said. "I think Spencer thought he was about to arrive in some jungle-top Four Seasons [hotel], not a camp in the middle of the jungle."
According to Telegdy, in addition to the primitive camp the show's participants are living in, Spencer was also upset about the basic food staples the contestants began the competition with (they will be given an opportunity to earn additional food rewards via challenges as the competition progresses).
"He does make much of the fact that he's very pampered," Telegdy said. He said to me 'I can't do this, I eat five times a day and every one of those meals costs at least $40' and I said 'Well Spencer, everyone else is doing fine on rice and beans.' Anyway, he's calmed down and he has slept and he has eaten, but we had some tempers fraying yesterday. He can be quite a frightening young man."
"I said it just pays in a little bit too much into your sterotype Spencer to quit something on the first day, just 'bring it' and let's see if there's a different side of you."
According to Telegdy, Heidi and Spencer also objected to poor celebrity quality of the show's cast, which also includes celebrity reality show retreads Stephen Baldwin and Janice Dickinson; former American Idol finalist Sanjaya Malakar; actor Lou Diamond Phillips; former NBA player John Salley; WWE "diva" Torrie Wilson; Patti Blagojevich, the wife of indicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich; and Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, who comprise a comedy duo called Frangela.
"Heidi said 'I think you could have done better... you could have at least got Kevin Federline,'" Telegdy said.
The contestants have since participated in their first food challenge.
"I don't want to give too much away but they are rather squeamish eaters and in our eating challenge they were presented with some truly unappetizing things and, I don't know, Heidi wolfed down a rat's tail like she was quite used to having a small piece of cartilage put in her mouth," Telegdy said.
I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! will premiere with a special two-hour tonight at 8PM ET/PT on NBC. Following its premiere, the show will air one-hour broadcasts Monday through Thursdays at 8PM ET/PT until its finale on June 24.