‘Ellen’s Design Challenge’ Winner Disqualified in Dramatic Finale Twist

So, did HGTV just set a record for shortest reality competition winner in history?

Spoilers exist below. If you have yet to watch the series finale of HGTV’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge,” stop reading now.

Well, that was a short-lived victory for furniture designer Tim McLellan. Hopefully he didn’t already spend that $100,000 prize money.

The cowboy with a masculine sense of furniture design won HGTV’s inaugural “Ellen’s Design Challenge” on Monday evening — until he didn’t. Shortly after the confetti dropped on McLellan, fellow finalist Katie Stout and executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, the last man standing was disqualified for presenting what was deemed an unoriginal piece in the grand finale. That left loser Stout as the winner — only she found that out a week after the finale filmed.

“My life just changed even beyond what I can imagine,” McLellan had said before the show took that dramatic turn, complete with the color shots symbollically changing to black-and-white.

Within a week of McLellan being crowned, producers discovered that his seemingly unique sliding and hideaway table design already existed by European designer Simon Schacht. Therefore, the runner-up to the reality competition was rewarded the spoils.

“Tim did not fulfill the requirement of the final challenge, which was to create an original piece,” the narrator simply explained, as the two very similar pieces were displayed onscreen.

DeGeneres informed Stout in a taped segment on the “Ellen” talk show set afterward that McClellan’s title was revoked. Not much more of an explanation was given, and Tim was not mentioned or heard from again in the final few minutes.

When Stout was granted the default $100,000 and spread in HGTV magazine, it was her turn to say: “This just changed my life.”

McLellan tweeted out the following after the weird ending: