Real (Scary) World
When reality shows kill
Remember what your mama told you? It’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Until last week, reality television was all fun and games (well, I wouldn’t call “Househusbands of Hollywood” fun, but you catch my drift). Then some dude named Ryan Jenkins allegedly murdered a swimsuit model named Jasmine Fiore. That tragic story would have been just another obscure, SoCal, TMZ footnote were it not for the fact that Jenkins was a rising star in the reality show world. That juicy tidbit is now shining an unwelcome light on the sleazy world of reality show one-upmanship.
Jenkins was apparently a “real estate entrepreneur” from Calgary who talked his way onto the VH1 reality show “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” The show featured reality show fixture Megan Hauserman (“Beauty and the Geek,” “Rock of Love With Bret Michaels,” “I Love Money,” “Rock of Love: Charm School”) dating a bunch of supposedly rich guys in hopes of becoming somebody’s trophy wife. Jenkins poured his oiliest, Hair Club For Men charm over Hauserman and reports are that he was a finalist on the show. Then came word from San Diego that Jenkins’ wife (!) Jasmine Fiore had been killed and stuffed into a suitcase, her fingers and teeth removed to stymie investigators. Jenkins was nowhere to be found. (Fiore was identified by the serial number on her breast implant ... Sadly, no, I’m not joking.)
It’s still a bit confusing whether Jenkins and Fiore were still married. According to press reports, the couple got hitched in Las Vegas two days after they met. Court records in Clark County, Nev., say Jenkins was charged with a misdemeanor count of “battery constituting domestic violence” for hitting his wife in June of this year. Jenkins had a previous assault conviction on record in Canada.
For his part, Jenkins—a “potential suspect” in Fiore’s death—jumped on a speedboat, headed for the Canadian border, slipped into British Colombia on an isolated strip of coastline and vanished for a couple of days. He reappeared on August 21, when his dead body was found in the Thunderbird Motel in Hope, B.C. Autopsy reports are pending, but it is believed Jenkins hanged himself.
VH1, which seems to have invested quite a bit in this creep’s future, responded to the news of Fiore’s murder by pulling “Megan Wants a Millionaire” from its schedule and removing all mention of the show from its website. The day after Jenkins was found dead, VH1 officially canceled the show. Guess we’ll never know if Megan fulfills her dream of becoming a trophy wife. Now comes word that Jenkins was also a contestant on VH1’s (already filmed) third season of “I Love Money.” According to some Internet sources, Jenkins was bragging to friends (this guy had friends?) that he won the show, claiming the $250,000 top prize. VH1 now says it has no plans to air the third season of “I Love Money.”
All of this sordid business makes you wonder just what sort of vetting process these reality shows have. Reality shows thrive on conflict and crazy behavior. Sometimes, that results is more than just “good TV.” FOX’s skeevy dating competition “Paradise Hotel” aired its entire second season despite the fact that contestant Nate Clutter committed suicide before the show debuted. CBS’ “Pirate Master” acknowledged in its finale that contestant Cheryl Kosewicz killed herself after being booted off in the fourth ep. Now Ryan Jenkins is implicated in a nasty murder/suicide. You can’t get any realer than that.