December 23, 2005 -- KIDS say the darnedest things! A 6-year-old girl's candid outburst forced producers of "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" to change the winner right before the live NBC broadcast of the season finale.
On-set insiders say the granddaughter of Charles Koppelman, a top adviser to Stewart and a judge on the show, innocently revealed the winner to a room full of stunned contestants just before Wednesday night's live broadcast, sending the producers into crisis control.
Judges Martha Stewart, daughter Alexis, and Koppelman, chairman of Martha Stewart Omnimedia, were about to select a winner between finalists Bethenny Frankel and Dawna Stone when the cute child's blurt-out ruined the surprise.
Sources say producers then changed the script, which originally called for Frankel to be declared the winner.
A former contestant who was in the green room and overheard the child's remark told PAGE SIX: "Jennifer Koppelman Hutt [Charles' daughter, who works with Alexis] and her little girl were making small talk with the cast before the show. Someone asked the little girl, 'So, who do you think is going to win?' The little girl confidently replied, 'Bethenny is going to win, Martha didn't like Dawna's fashion show.' "
The shocked mother quickly whisked the tot out of the room as word rapidly spread throughout the stunned studio.
The former contestant who was there tells us, "They quickly sequestered the castmates. It was very strange. They put us all in separate rooms. The producer announced to the audience, 'We have last-minutes changes in the script. We want to keep the suspense up to the very last minute.' "
The source continues, "As far as we knew, Bethenny was the winner. But when they returned to live broadcast, the mood had definitely shifted. That's when all three judges voted for [Stone.]"
However, one insider said, "Bethenny was never going to win. She is clearly a publicity hound." Some suspect that Bethenny leaked the micro-scandal a few weeks back that she had dated Charles Koppelman's screenwriter son, Brian, 15 years ago.
Frankel referred our calls to NBC. A rep for the show declined comment.
Meanwhile, sources say Martha and Alexis were bickering later, with Alexis snubbing the after-party at Martha's nearby office."