Ryan Jenkins dead from suicide; VH1 says I Love Money 3 might still air

Megan Wants a Millionaire and I Love Money 3 star Ryan Jenkins is dead, having committed suicide in a Canadian hotel room, according to police. He was charged with murdering his ex-wife and mutilating her body such that she was identified using the serial numbers on her breast implants.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson told the CP that “the RCMP federal border integrity program is able to confirm that a deceased person that was found in a motel in Hope, British Columbia, is in fact Ryan Jenkins. At this time the investigation into the circumstances of his death is continuing but preliminary evidence suggests that he took his own life.” He “was found at the Thunderbird Motel in Hope and had apparently hanged himself,” the CP reports, citing the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

On VH1’s blog, a not-exactly-official statement post says, “Tragedy begets tragedy. Of course, our sympathy goes out to the friends and families of Jasmine Fiore and Ryan Jenkins, as it has for the past several days.”

Meanwhile, VH1 has officially cancelled Megan Wants a Millionaire, and will therefore probably never air any more of, but the network said Friday that it could actually air I Love Money 3, on which Jenkins appeared.

The New York Times reports that while “51 Minds would not confirm reports that Mr. Jenkins was the winning contestant,” it “did say that he visited its production office on Aug. 12 to pick up a check for $5,200, his honorarium for appearing on the show.” It’s unclear if that’s different than his potential prize money; the second season gave its winner $250,000.

The paper also reports that “VH1 has not decided on the future of the other show, ‘I Love Money 3,’ which was set to make its debut in January.” In a new statement released to the Times on Friday, VH1 backed away from its initial, completely disingenuous statement that shifted any responsibility to the show’s producers for casting someone with a sketchy past.

Before Jenkins was discovered dead, the network said it has “ultimate responsibility is what’s on our air, and in this case we immediately took the show off the schedule as well as off of our digital platforms.” It hedges a bit more saying, “Everyone has a role to play in the hundreds of hours of original programming that we develop each year. Something went wrong here, so we’re all looking at the process to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

RCMP say murder suspect Ryan Jenkins found dead in BC motel, apparent suicide [CP]
Ryan Jenkins Found Dead [VH1]
Killing Raises New Reality TV Concerns [New York Times]

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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.