"Megan Wants a Millionaire" Producers: We Vetted Murder Suspect Jenkins
Can somebody please make a reality TV series about how TV networks vet contestants on reality series?
Buena Park, Calif. Police chief Tom Monsoon held a news conference Thursday afternoon to announce they have a warrant for the arrest of "Megan Wants a Millionaire" contestant Ryan Alexander Jenkins for the murder of Jasmine Fiore.
Among the bits of information about Jenkins that have come to light:
He was arrested in late April and charged with battery constituting domestic violence after allegedly punching Fiore, the Orange County Register reports. Jenkins, 32, and Fiore, 28, had married in March.
Jenkins, who was known as the Smooth Operator on the VH1 reality series, also has a criminal record in his hometown of Calgary Canada, having been sentenced to 15 months probation in 2007 on an unspecified assault charge, the paper adds.
This information somehow escaped the show's producers, who claimed they vetted all the contestants. Of course, they don't say for what.
Fiore's nude body was found after 7 a.m. PDT Saturday, stuffed into a suitcase and tossed into a dumpster in Buena Park, which is home to Knott's Berry Farm; it's also near Disneyland. A preliminary coroner's report indicated she had been strangled. At Thursday's news conference, which was streamed on Web site TMZ, authorities revealed that, in addition to her clothes, Fiore's fingers and teeth had been removed. A woman who stood nearby with Fiore's family could be heard weeping at that news.
Need more? How about this:
On CNN's "Larry King Live" Thursday night, Orange County District Attorney Ron Rackauckas said they believe Jenkins is armed, because there is a handgun missing from his apartment, adding, "I would consider [Jenkins] to be very dangerous."
Yesterday, the production company behind "Megan Wants a Millionaire," 51 Minds, issued the traditional Golly-Gee-How-Did-This-Happen-When-We-Vet-Our-Guys statement. The Golly-Gee Statement has become a recurring character on many of the skankier TV hook-up series. It dates back to 2000, when The Smoking Gun media site dug up old Los Angeles Superior Court documents revealing that the guy Fox network had just sent "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" winner Darva Conger off on a cruise with had been accused of roughing up and threatening to kill a girlfriend several years earlier, though he was never charged with a crime.
Anyway, 51 Minds' version went like this, according to TMZ and other sources:
51 Minds was not aware of Ryan Jenkins' record when it cast him on "Megan Wants a Millionaire." Obviously, if the company had been given a full picture of his background, he would never have been allowed on the show.
The company did have in place what it thought was a thorough vetting process that involved complete background checks by an outside company for all contestants on its shows. Clearly, the process did not work properly in this case.
Robert Hasman, a former boyfriend of Fiore who was asked by her family to act as their spokesman, said at Thursday's new conference in Buena Park he had a message for Jenkin's family and friends: "Ryan Jenkins is an animal. What he has done to Jasmine is unspeakable...please remember who you're helping to leave this country."
The hunt for Jenkins moved to Canada after authorities in Washington state recovered Jenkin's black BMW and a boat trailer near the Canadian border and a witness saw a man matching Jenkins' description arriving by boat at the tip of a peninsula across a bay from where the BMW was found, according to various news reports. It's believed Jenkins crossed the border there, on foot.
Viacom-owned VH1 went all pious Wednesday, pulling "Megan Wants a Millionaire" off its schedule and all mentions of the show from its Web site in the wake of early news about Jenkins and his possible connection to Fiore's murder.
The cable network wanted to make it crystal clear it did not create or even own "Megan," which gave the it Skankitude Immunity. Here's VH1's statement:
Ryan Jenkins was a contestant on "Megan Wants a Millionaire" -- an outside production, produced and owned by 51 Minds, that is licensed to VH1.
This show completed production at the end of March. Given the unfortunate circumstances, VH1 has postponed any future airings. This is a tragic situation and our thoughts go out to the victim's family.
Jenkins was one of the "millionaires" on the series which VH1 pitched as follows -- before things got "unfortunate," that is:
Blonde bombshell and "celebreality" vixen, Megan Hauserman is looking for love -- but not with any average Joe. Megan has her eye, mind and heart set on one type of man . . . a millionaire! Unfortunately, Megan's had her heart broken by Bret Michaels in "Rock of Love 2" and lost out on the million dollar check in "I Love Money." But now she's back with vengeance to find both love and money with the goal of becoming the ultimate trophy wife. . . . One by one, Megan will eliminate the guys who can't shell out the dough, until the ultimate millionaire is left.
Lisa de Moraes
August 20, 2009; 10:19 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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