The production company behind Below Deck has quite a history with reality television but does that make a difference with the current cast?
Back in January, Entertainment Weekly’s Kristen Baldwin did a write up about that time reality television and murder were intertwined. Back in the day, shows like Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, Flavor of Love with Flava Flav, I love Money, The Surreal Life, and many other awful shows were the bread and butter of VH1’s lineup at the time. Mark Cronin was the co-founder of 51 Minds Entertainment, the production company behind many of these shows. Mark went on to create Below Deck post-VH1.
The mid to late 2000’s
These shows were huge from 2006 – 2009ish when Megan Hauserman got her own show, Megan Wants a Millionaire. There’s no link for that because it basically doesn’t exist on the VH1 website. Megan was eliminated on Rock of Love but was given her own show to find love. VH1 found 17 contestants with a net worth over $1 million to compete for her love and whatever else reality television provides you with, such as sponcon ads for tea and FabFitFun boxes.
Ryan Jenkins was a favorite of Megan’s on the show and actually made it to third place, according to Wikipedia. But after only three episodes aired, Megan eliminated Ryan and he went home to Los Vegas. The first episode aired on August 2, 2009, and on August 15, 2009, Ryan brutally murdered his new wife, Jasmine Fiore, after returning home post-elimination.
Post Megan Wants a Millionaire
Mark told EW that the tragedy stemming from Megan Wants a Millionaire. “lenses every conversation [I have] during the approval process for a contestant or a cast member.” Mark says that the process vetting potential participants is more thorough than ever post-Megan Hauserman.
He even mentioned that after leaving Below Deck, one cast member required psychological help. “There were danger signs, she was crying out for help in different ways, and we made sure she got professional counseling.” After Jasmine was murdered, it came out that VH1 and the company doing background checks was not informed of an assault Jenkins was convicted of in Canada in 2007. 51 Minds was told Jenkins’ background was clear and he was cast on the show to be a love interest.
With all that the company has been through in the past, does that mean the people cast on the shows are in good hands? Has the interview process become so stringent that any piece of their history is found? Or should we be worried that more Caroline’s are going to slip through the cracks and end up in danger due to ending up on the show?
There’s no way to predict the future but hopefully with incidents such as Ashton Pienaar punching van windows are a wake-up sign to eliminate such people from further seasons. Both Captain Lee Rosbach and Kate Chastain have agreed they would not work with Ashton again, so the ball falls in the court of production this time.
Hopefully, they have learned from past mistakes to fully vet cast members and remove them from the mix when they show concerning behavior.
Below Deck Sailing Yacht is on Mondays at 9 PM ET.