‘Below Deck’ Production Company Learned a Hard Lesson About Casting

by Jeremy Spirogis
Megan Hauserman arrives at Playground on September 4, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada

A ugly homicide was a horrific solution to be taught a tough lesson about casting for 51 Minds Entertainment co-founder Mark Cronin. But that’s one huge purpose why actuality tv producers are extra cautious than ever.

Cronin’s firm, which produces Below Deck, was one of many early actuality tv adopters. But lengthy earlier than Below Deck was a glimmer in Cronin’s eye, different 51 Minds’ actuality reveals like The Surreal Life had been producing loads of buzz. 51 Minds was a sizzling manufacturing firm throughout the daybreak of the truth present period. At the time Cronin was on high of the world. Until one fateful second turned every little thing the other way up, proving to be a cautionary story for actuality present casting.

Megan Hauserman arrives at Playground on September 4, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Megan Hauserman arrives at Playground on September 4, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

More than 10 years in the past Cronin created a collection referred to as Megan Wants a Millionaire, which modified every little thing. The present was basically a spin-off of Rock of Love with Bret Michaels the place contestant Megan Hauserman rapidly grew to become a fan favourite from the present. Hauserman, who appeared in earlier actuality reveals and modeled for Playboy had such fan attract, Cronin’s crew created the Megan present to permit her to in the end meet the millionaire man of her desires. The present grew to become Cronin and a girl named Jasmine Fiore’s worst nightmare.

Background checks had been full

While most networks have some kind of actuality present background examine course of, no particular protocol is remitted, in response to EW. In 2009, Cronin and Viacom’s VH1, which was the community he was working with on the time, tapped Collective Intelligence for background checks. Screening included an in depth record of each handle the contestant has ever resided, psychological testing, written testing and even, in some instances, inkblot assessments.

Additionally, court docket and arrest information had been scoured concerning the particular person too. Erika Worth based Collective Intelligence and had labored with Viacom since 2003. She informed EW, “In the years that we worked with them, we did 500,000 background checks and we never had a single incident, ever.”

The one who slipped by way of the cracks

When Cronin was casting Megan Wants a Millionaire he encountered potential “millionaire” Ryan Jenkins. At the time Jenkins was a 32-year-old actual property developer who attended a casting occasion. “Ryan Jenkins had one of the best personalities on this planet,” Christopher Catalano, who was a senior casting producer for 51 Minds from 2007 to 2011 informed EW. “He was intriguing, he knew it. He wasn’t the best-looking guy in the world — he just had this charisma.”

During filming, producers observed just a few nuances about Jenkins that led them to imagine that maybe he wasn’t the true deal. He introduced a really restricted wardrobe to taking pictures and wore a pretend Rolex. Plus, he managed to get extraordinarily near successful.

Television personalities Megan Hauserman, (R) and Cecille Gahr host an evening at PlaygroundTelevision personalities Megan Hauserman, (R) and Cecille Gahr host an evening at Playground
Television personalities Megan Hauserman, (R) and Cecille Gahr host a night at Playground | Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Hauserman fell for Jenkins however when producers discovered he might find yourself successful, they shared with Hauserman that Jenkins “wasn’t likable in his interviews” and was “putting on a show” for her, EW stories. When Hauserman in the end selected one other man, Jenkins was upset. “He was really upset,” Hauserman stated. “And I was upset also.”

The story takes an surprising twist

Hauserman referred to as Jenkins days after the present wrapped to see if maybe they may reconnect. However, he referred to as her first. “He called me and said, ‘I have to tell you something. I was so upset when I left the show, I went to Vegas and I met a girl. She’s my soulmate, and we got married,’” Hauserman shared with EW.

Quickly after he was dismissed from the present, Jenkins instantly married mannequin Jasmine Fiore. Jenkins rapidly hopped onto one other present, I Love Money 3 and was hellbent on successful the $250,000 prize. “He kept telling [Fiore] on the phone, ‘I’m going to win this, and you and I are going to have the life I’ve always promised,’” Cronin recounts.

Mark Cronin, Executive Producers, Jeff Olde, VH1 Senior VP, and Chris Abrego, Executive ProducerMark Cronin, Executive Producers, Jeff Olde, VH1 Senior VP, and Chris Abrego, Executive Producer
Mark Cronin, Executive Producers, Jeff Olde, VH1 Senior VP, and Chris Abrego, Executive Producer |Enos Solomon/FilmMagic

“Then he would ask her, ‘Where were you last night?’ Because he’s in Mexico shooting the show, and she lives in Las Vegas. He was very jealous and very suspicious of her. We were actually making a story of it on the show. We were like, ‘Look at this guy, he’s obsessed with this [model] he married. It was funny, until it wasn’t funny at all.”

And a horrifying finish

About 5 months after Hauserman final spoke with Jenkins, she discovered the surprising information. “I was in the shower and my friend came running into the bathroom screaming that [Ryan] was on the TV,” she informed EW. “They showed his face and said he was a suspect and that they found [Fiore’s] body. I thought it was an accident. My first thought was, I didn’t think he did it on purpose.”

Fiore’s physique was found brutalized, solely identifiable by the serial quantity on her breast implants.  “It’s the worst thing to ever happen to me in my career,” Cronin stated. “When something comes that close to home, that’s a really scary thing.” 

“The details were horrible,” Cronin recalled. “I felt like, ‘Wow, he’s taking a look at this like a problem on the present.’ We would do challenges on [Megan] on a regular basis, like, ‘Make a presentation to our board of directors about how you’re going to make your subsequent million,’ no matter. I assumed, ‘He’s gone right into a problem the place he killed her, and now he’s bought to determine a solution to get away with it.’” Jenkins went on the run and was discovered lifeless two days later.

51 Minds and Collective Intelligence imploded

51 Minds and Collective Intelligence went into scramble mode, however each firms had been hit with vital losses. How did this occur? Collective Intelligence did the background and police checks, however solely within the United States. Jenkins was from Canada. So, Collective Intelligence subcontracted out to Straightline International, which returned Jenkins with a clear document.

Later, Straighline International admitted a gross error within the examine. “According to Collective Intelligence, Ryan Jenkins’ criminal record in Canada escaped notice… as a result of an error by a Canadian court clerk.”

“Our names were mud,” Cronin recalled. Megan Wants a Millionaire solely ran three episodes and was canceled. 51 Minds had been then on the hook to reimburse the community $12 million. Collective Intelligence endured large layoffs, however like 51 Minds, finally regrouped and returned as a stronger firm.

How has Cronin’s perspective modified?

Cronin shared with EW about how way more concerned he’s within the casting course of. He stated the homicide “lenses every conversation [I have] during the approval process for a contestant or a cast member.”

He added, “We are more careful after the show stops taping to keep in close contact with everybody,” he remarked. “We regulate them. We had a girl on Below Deck who wanted psychological counseling after the present… There had been hazard indicators, she was crying out for assist in alternative ways, and we made positive she bought skilled counseling.”

Below Deck followers who’ve learn the EW article questioned on Twitter if the forged member Cronin referred to was Caroline Bedol from season 6. Bedol addressed the query immediately on Twitter.

“I told @BravoTV if they didn’t protect the truth of the sexual harassment I endured at the hands Kate, I would publish a phone recording. Their psychologist called me the next day and insisted I was manic & the incident occurred only in my mind,” she responded. Bedol continues to be vocal on social media concerning the Below Deck occasion, commenting on her season and the present season.

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