Heidi and Spencer: Faking It or For Real?

Are they or are they not quitting? Were they or were they not tortured? Did Heidi really end up in the hospital on Saturday?

The questions keep swirling around Heidi and Spencer Pratt and their involvement in the NBC reality show "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!" And, most likely, the publicity-hungry pair and the producers of the show want it that way to get more viewers to tune in for tonight's show.

Internet reports surfaced over the weekend that Heidi became deathly ill and had to be rushed to the hospital after she and her husband were banished to an isolation chamber, where they were denied food and water. Spencer's sister Stephanie Pratt was quoted saying the couple were being "tortured" and the family was gravely concerned. NBC, the network that produces the reality show, denied the reports.

On Monday, NBC released a statement.

"ITV Studios, producers of the series, state that press reports at this time are untrue," the statement said. "ITV has been producing this format around the world for many years and the health of the celebrity participants are of the utmost importance. A medic and a doctor are present at the location at all times for all participants. All allegations of the celebrities being deprived of food and water are completely untrue."

Who's telling the truth? You'll have to tune in tonight, of course, to find out. Tonight's episode is supposed to show the pair's banishment to the so-called "Lost Chamber" -- punishment for last week, when they first quit, then came back to the show.

"Is there publicity involved? Of course," E! Online's Marc Malkin told ABCNews.com Monday. "Heidi and Spencer, no matter what you think of them, are absolute pros at the publicity game."

The couple, who became famous after starring in the MTV hit reality show "The Hills," have a reputation for publicity-driven stunts that are more "show" than "reality." They scored an Us Weekly cover story for their supposed Mexican elopment and then basked in even more headline speculation over whether they were really married or not. It turned out they were not, and they generated another round of coverage when they made it legal in California months later.

This latest Speidi development begs the question whether the Pratts and the "I'm a Celebrity" producers are working together to pull one over on the audience.

"Who's in on this? It's not clear," Malkin said. "Are Heidi and Spencer in bed with the producers?"

Longtime Hollywood publicist Michael Levine hated to think the shows' producer would be so devious.

"God, I hope not," he said. "But I'm afraid to say I think not. In today's media world, I'm reluctant to say it's impossible.

"If it were true, it would be pretty contemptible," Levine added. "Playing on viewers' sympathy over someone's health is just contemptible. It opens the door to what do we do next? Threaten to shoot a dog? It's a contemptible slippery slope."

If Heidi is feigning illness to win viewers' sympathy and generate publicity, is that wrong in the context of the show's rules, which allow viewers to vote on who should remain in the Costa Rican jungle where the show is filmed? If that's the case, the underhanded tactics would at least be for a good cause. All the celebrities on the show are competing for charity, and any winnings the couple collects will go to Feed The Children.

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