44-D True Crime: Have Reality TV Shows Gone to Far?

Posted by Audiegrl

I remember in 1992 when MTV’s “Real Word” series got started. It was fun to watch a group of young people try to get along with each other. Most of the shows contained at least two people that you just knew were going to clash. Great TV right? Well, nowadays you can pretty much count on in-house fighting, spitting, lots of cursing bleeps, contestants with criminal records, and lots and lots of hook-ups. The reality stars of the nineties, should be astounded at the so-called ‘Reality Stars’ that are being made in 2009. Many people who participate in one reality show, are often given the chance to participate in other reality shows on that network, or given their own shows ($$cha-ching$$). The new brand of reality star has their own agents, publicists, and fan clubs. They can be found on Facebook, YouTube, and if they do something really outrageous, they will be featured in a ‘Greatest Reality Star Moments’ type special. That was as far as they could go with their ’15 minutes of fame’. That is, until Ryan Jenkin’s came along.

Ryan Jenkins and Jasmine Fiore

Ryan Jenkins and Jasmine Fiore

Jenkins didn’t win is spot as reality TV’s most outrageous star by fighting or cussing, or spitting. He won that spot by killing his wife. (Or for legal reasons, I should say, allegedly killing his wife.) Ryan’s alleged actions have turned the world of reality TV on its ear. Ryan was involved in both VH1’s ‘Megan Wants a Millionaire” and “I Love Money 3“.

Police believe that Ms. Fiori was strangled in the early hours of August 14th. Security camera’s show Jenkins leaving the hotel later that morning by himself with a large suitcase. This is the same suitcase police would find in a dumpster containing the mutilated body of Ms. Fiore. Thinking that the removal of her fingers and teeth would deter investigators trying to identify the body, her killer forgot one important thing. Fiore was quickly identified by the serial numbers on her breast implants. At that point Jenkins became a person of interest and a suspect. Jenkins was a native of Canada, and many believed that he would flee there, because Canadian courts will not extradite people accused of capital crimes. After a week long international chase, Jenkins body was found hanging from a coat rack at a Canadian motel an apparent suicide.

It has been rumored that Jenkins used his marriage Fiore to gain US citizenship. But Jenkins was also going to be facing a judge for allegedly striking Fiore on the arm. It was discovered that Jenkins was convicted and did 16 months in Canada for beating another girlfriend. So he already had a record of domestic abuse when he was vetted for the two shows. That must have been some serious vetting, right? Not so much.

Cast of Megan Wants A Millionaire

Cast of Megan Wants A Millionaire

Right now VH1 and 51 Mind Entertainment, are trying their best to distance themselves from Jenkins and from each other. They immediately shelved the remaining ten episodes of ‘Megan Wants A Millionaire‘, word had it that Jenkins was one of the final two millionaire contestants. Which means that Jenkins would have been in every episode right to the end. When I said ‘shelved’ that is not giving them enough credit. They totally obliterated MWM from all commercials, their website, Itunes, ect. A week later they announced that they would also be shelving ‘I Love Money 3. Jenkins was featured in this series as well, and it was rumored that he actually WON. So once again, he would have been in every episode, right up to the end. So in this case, by shelving both shows, they get credit for doing the right thing.

What I really want ask is this? How can 51 Minds Entertainment (who produces the show for VH1), expect a different outcome when they don’t properly eliminate potential candidates who have a criminal record? In this country, most jobs are closed to you if you have a felony on your record. Why do they keep rewarding contestant’s bad behavior? Case in point, Megan Hauserman and Sharon Osborn got into a physical alteration on the reunion show of ‘Charm School 2“. Megan threatened to sue. So amazingly now she has her own ‘Megan Wants a Millionaire” show. Is that how you reward fighting on national TV? Giving the person their own show?

Yes, I know, in our culture outlandish behavior is always rewarded by 15 minutes of fame. And yes, I am guilty of watching them too. But America’s unhealthy addiction to watching damaged people make fools of themselves also has a price…


Filed under Crime, Hollywood, Media and Entertainment, Police, Pop Culture, True Crime, TV Reality Shows, TV Shows, VH1, Violence, Women's Issues

30 responses to “44-D True Crime: Have Reality TV Shows Gone to Far?

  1. It’s come to the point where we are celebrating and applauding and promoting lifestyle choices that are anything but responsible or even rational. Have twins then sextuplets? Get a reality show. The Father has an affair with a 22 year old?… that’s 3 episodes. The parents are getting divorced? Give the newly single Mom of 8 her own show.

    Dude says he’s a millionaire (really Daddy’s money) put him on a reality show and promote him as a real catch (because being rich is qualification enough)

    Pretty, naive model falls for the reality star (doesn’t have time to get to know him) not the Man, marries him and is dead days later.

    The End.

    • audiegrl

      Its a really sad story, but you would not believe the number of people who were offended that they canceled the show. That is shocking to me. They were more offended that they wouldn’t get to see Jenkins, than they were offended that he was a potential murderer. That is just beyond the pale and says alot of us as a society.

  2. “I remember in 1992 when MTV’s “Real Word” series got started.”

    somehow I remember “Puck” (David “Puck” Rainey)

    he named his first kid “Bogart” (as in don’t) 🙂

  3. audiegrl

    Check out these ratings for last week

    Nielsen Television (TV) Ratings for Network Primetime Series
    Top 20 Network Primetime Series

    Week ending August 23, 2009
    Rank Program Name Net Day Time Viewers
    1 AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – TUE 9PM NBC Tue 9:00 PM 11,880,000
    2 AMERICA’S GOT TALENT – WED 9PM NBC Wed 9:00 PM 10,670,000
    3 NCIS CBS Tue 8:00 PM 9,850,000
    4 TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS Mon 9:00 PM 8,550,000
    5 THE BIG BANG THEORY CBS Mon 9:30 PM 8,040,000
    6 BIG BROTHER 11 – TUE CBS Tue 9:00 PM 7,980,000
    7 THE MENTALIST CBS Thu 10:00 PM 7,850,000
    8 60 MINUTES CBS Sun 9:00 PM 7,770,000
    9 WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE – Sun ABC Sun 8:19 PM 7,590,000
    10 HELL’S KITCHEN FOX Tue 8:00 PM 7,490,000
    11 BIG BROTHER 11 – THU CBS Thu 8:00 PM 7,480,000
    12 CSI CBS Thu 9:00 PM 7,420,000
    13 MILLIONAIRE – MON ABC Mon 8:00 PM 7,060,000
    14 MILLIONAIRE – WED ABC Thu 8:00 PM 6,870,000
    15 DATELINE NBC – MON NBC Mon 10:00 PM 6,850,000
    17 CRIMINAL MINDS CBS Wed 10:00 PM 6,820,000
    18 WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE – THU ABC Thu 8:00 PM 6,780,000
    19 BIG BROTHER 11 – THU CBS Thu 8:00 PM 6,750,000
    20 NFL ON FOX PRESEASON 2 FOX Fri 8:00 PM 6,660,000

    This tells you exactly what type of shows do well…and why we keep getting more reality shows.

    • 4 TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS Mon 9:00 PM 8,550,000
      5 THE BIG BANG THEORY CBS Mon 9:30 PM 8,040,000

      I will own watching these two. 🙂

      • audiegrl

        I will own this one 😉

        17 CRIMINAL MINDS CBS Wed 10:00 PM 6,820,000

        Most of my favorite shows are on cable and premium cable, so we use the DVR quite a bit.

        One of the network shows we loved was called “Eleventh Hour”, about a brilliant scientist that solved unusual crimes, but that got cancelled. Sigh.

      • audiegrl

        I also like Fox’s “Lie to Me”

        Please note this moment, I said ‘I like’ and “Fox” in the same sentence. That doesn’t happen very often. 😉

  4. betham37

    Okay guys, I watch Big Brother, Dancing With the Stars, So you think you Can Dance, the Amazing Race, and I used to watch Survivor. So I’m guilty of watching lots of the reality shows. Oh yes, also the Bachelor and the Bachelorette.

    But, I love Greys Anatomy, Private Practice, Sisters and Brothers, and Desperate Housewives. That’s all I can think of right now.

    The should vett the people better that they have on the reality shows. But I will say that CBS kicked off one of the contestants on Big Brother because of her attitude.

    I know what you mean AG about felons. But should we punish them the rest of their lives? If they served their time, I am a firm believer in giving them a chance on the outside. Now some, I’m not so sure about, like the one in CA that kidnapped that girl and held her for 18 years. The question was how in the world did he get out of jail since he was serving a life sentence.

    • Betsy: I enjoyed the first season of Survivor, after that I lost interest. They’re basically like soap operas you tune in to see the fur fly and people embarrass themselves.

      The guy in CA Garrido, was actually sentenced to 50 years but only served 8. How they didn’t connect him via his rape of a 25 yo woman in the same town (South Lake Tahoe) when the 11 yo disappeared is dumbfounding.

    • audiegrl


      I think that the reality shows on MTV, BET, and VH1 are more raunchy than the ones on a major network. I have watched quite a bit of VH1’s reality shows. This diary was written as my ‘mea culpa’. I felt guilty for watching them after Jasmine’s death.

      I think the vetting standards on these networks must be close to zero. That is the problem.

      We shouldn’t make people pay for past wrongs, that is true. But in the case of Jenkins, who had a felony assault charge for beating a woman, the producers should have had at least enough respect and concern for the star of the show, Megan, to not want someone who does violence to women potentially hurting Megan, or all the women that were appearing on I Love Money 3. These folks all live in the same house for months and anything could have happened.

      We will have to ask BlueDog89 (our resident True Crime blogger) about the reason he was let go. But it was probably one of those situations where they had overcrowding in the prison, and let some go early. If someone is dangerous enough to wear a lifetime ankle GPS, then maybe they don’t need to be let go. That would have been my call.

      • Garrido, a registered sex offender, was convicted of rape and kidnapping in 1977 for abusing a casino worker in 1976. He served 11 years of a 50-year sentence in Leavenworth, Kansas. Not surprisingly, Phillip Garrido met his wife Nancy while serving out his prison term.

        He and his wife allegedly abducted Jaycee Dugard in 1991. During this time Garrido was under lifetime parole supervision and was reportedly wearing a GPS tracking bracelet at some point during Dugard’s captivity.

        As to the question why didn’t he do his time? California prisons are notorious for overcrowding, and there have been thousands of violent felons that the system set free to make room for drug offenders. You have to remember the times. Drugs became a major issue back in the 80s. The war on drugs, just say no, etc., became a far more powerful cry than that of victim’s advocates, trying to keep repeat violent offenders locked up.

        Overcrowding is still a major issue, but back then if you were given 50 years you’d do maybe 10. That’s how the system worked. You got time off for good behavior. The laws have changed somewhat over the years (LC, time for you to chime in on the prison issues), but back then, people got away with murder. Literally.

  5. The thing is, this is not the 1st time reality programming has dealt w/faulty background checks and/or criminals. As AG pointed out, the Nielsens prove what America is watching, and the major networks are gonna give it to them, come hell or high water. Who cares if a coupla lives may be messed with in the process? It’s all about profits, not people. That is our society today. Enjoy the show.

  6. betham37

    No, I agree. They don’t vett them enough. And how in the world Jenkins was picked is beyond me.

    Garrido’s rape victim is on Larry King right now. That is a horrible thing. I cannot believe they let him out.

    Hey there BD welcome. I will check out your blog too.

    • Thanks B37, happy to join the party! I need to check out LK on cnn, I believe this is the woman I was referring to; the young lady he was sentenced to 50 years in Leavenworth for but only did 11. What a courageous woman. She is a survivor!

    • audiegrl

      I think in their vetting process, they missed a couple of things. Its already been determined that two of the ‘millonaires’ did not exactly have a million dollars. You would think that at least they would get that part right, since the show was called ‘Megan Wants a Millionaire”. They asked the producers at 51 Minds Entertainment about this, and their reply was: “The producers of “Megan Wants a Millionaire” said they were not surprised Pineda (Audi) wasn’t a millionaire. Part of the fun, they said, was picking out the fakes.”
      Talk about being tone deaf

  7. ogenec

    What a gruesome story. I’d heard bits and pieces, but not the whole thing.

  8. Apparently there is much more to come re: Garrido. If he could keep a kidnaped 11 yo girl in his backyard, father 2 children with her and basically go unnoticed for 18 years what else did he get away with? If the rumors are true he was a very busy, multiple-offender.

  9. betham37

    bd they said that in NV sex offenders are paroled for a life. But in CA they aren’t. So if CA legislators would pass some laws, then maybe they would have a better chance of keeping a finger on these people. But I think quite frankly law enforcement really screwed up.

    I have always said that people who are incarcerated for drugs is just ridiculous when there are so many violent criminals that need to be put away and not paroled until their sentence is up. Just my personal opinion.

    • audiegrl

      You are so right Bets. Which person is more important for society to keep in jail? The convicted sex offenders or some young kid selling weed?

  10. You guys are so right on! Maybe if PG had been convicted in the 90s, he may have been hit w/the “3 strikes you’re out” law that was so popular back then. Unfortunately, that’s the sweet little law that confined many low-level drug offenders to life terms. Think of it: A small-time dealer or user popped for drugs ends up doing more time than most people convicted of assault & battery, rape, and kidnap (unless the kidnapping becomes a federal crime, i.e., crosses state lines). A mere 20-30 years ago there were psychotic multiple murderers let loose on the streets to kill again and again (hello, Arthur Shawcross, among too many others).

    And w/the laws varying from state to state, plus the fact that not all police departments have synched up to the national database, it’s only reasonable to imagine that someone is going to fall through the cracks, and we, as a society, are the ones who suffer.

    • audiegrl

      Oh lord, why did you have to mention Arthur Shawcross. He was a menace. (among other things we discussed before)Tonight I will be sleeping with the light on…

      No seriously, it is horrible that they are more concerned with drug dealers than they are repeat offenders of assault, rape, battery, ect. That is just plain wrong.

  11. Re: Jenkins & Fiore

    Anyone know the alleged motive for Fiore’s murder?

    • audiegrl

      I have read that he married her for US citizenship. He obviously had some control issues, which is common with men that abuse women. It sounded (from her family and friends) that she was a nice girl, who got caught up in a bad situation and was trying to get out. One of her last texts, were to her last boyfriend, telling him that she was leaving Ryan and coming back to him. But 48 hours before the murder, they were video taped together in a pool. Maybe the idea that he lost Megan and now was going to lose his wife pushed him over the edge. LC also mentioned to me that Ms. Fiori could have been a substitute to punish instead of Megan. (who was also blond) Just like Bundy chose young women with hair parted in the middle, as a proxy for the young woman who rejected him in college.

      So what happened in the last hours of her life, are anybody’s guess. Maybe the police will find out more, or maybe not, since the two people who could answer that question are not with us anymore.

  12. Great story gotta love it! 🙂

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