Jordan Knight learns of family death from an odd voiceover

Last March, during production of The Surreal Life: Fame Games, the New York Daily News’ Ben Widdicombe reported that Jordan Knight left the show for unknown reasons. A source told him that Jordan “called everyone and told them he was just finished. He didn’t say why. His brother [and former bandmate] Jonathan came to pick him up.”

At the time, VH1 said he left due to his grandmother’s death, and that’s what was shown on last night’s episode, when he did, in fact, say why he left. With tears in his eyes, Jordan told the camera, “I’m leaving because there was a death in my family. It’s too bad because the cast was really great. I really liked all of them. I got to be around my family.” He told the cast the same thing.

There was one odd part about Jordan’s leaving, which occurred halfway through the first episode. He called his wife, Evie, and she said, “I’m so sorry, Jordan. I’ve got some terrible news. Grandma died.” But that audio was so obviously recorded later that it seemed like the voice belonged to a completely different person; it didn’t match up with audio a few seconds later from the phone, when she said, “I love you, too.”

Perhaps they just had some bad audio, but since they subtitled the entire conversation, why would it be necessary to re-record it and do such a terrible job? It ended up sounding like they recorded a fake reason for his departure, although he was visibly upset.

Back in March, the source told Widdicombe that Jordan left because he started to “lose it,” while his rep gave a different story than VH1 (saying a family member was ill, which is similar to but not quite the same as a death). Altogether, then, we have a not-very-interesting conspiracy fueled by some lazy editing or a production screw-up.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.