|Written By Rick
Ellis, Saturday, July 26th, 2008
UPDATED: added winnr's name on Sunday, July 27th, 2008 now that the
finale episode has aired.
A mistake by someone posting content on the Food Network web site accidentally
revealed the winner of Sunday's finale of "The Next Food Network
Several alert visitors who were on the web site late Thursday evening
noticed that the winner's picture had been posted. The page revealed that
Aaron McCargo Jr. had won the show, and it included video from his upcoming
show "Big Daddy's Kitchen." The site also included exit interviews
from the two runners-up. The winner's show was also among the pull-down
list of network shows available on each page of the site.
The pages were removed after several hours, but not before screenshots
of the info began popping up online.
The Food Network issued a brief statement on Friday, acknowledging the
"FoodNetwork.com experienced technical difficulties last night. As
our viewers have seen on The Next Food Network Star this season, many
twists and turns have taken place during the show. We encourage all to
tune in on Sunday at 10pm to see who will be the Next Food Network Star."
While there has been a lot of chatter on various online food blogs as
to why this happened, several webmasters at major media outlets I spoke
with said that it can be a very easy mistake to make.
"Typically, a site as robust as foodnetwork.com would have a staging
area. That's a section where you can assemble changes to the site in advance,
without them being visible to the public," said one web site managing
editor. "The advantage is that you can thing make a number of pre-arranged
changes to the site with a click or two. But as you can see, the disadvantage
is that someone can make a mistake, and post sensitive info in advance
of when it should be public."
For the most part, news of the web site snafu seems to have been overlooked
by major entertainment news outlets. Other than some mentions on popular
food blogs (as well as the D Magazine food blog, which helped break the
story), there wasn't much about the problem in Google News and other news