By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, August 20, 2009
VH1 has gone all Ladies of River City on us, yanking "Megan Wants a Millionaire" off its schedule and all mentions of the reality series off its Web site -- this in the wake of news that police want to question one of the show's contestants about the murder of a former swimsuit model.
Police said Wednesday they are seeking Ryan Jenkins, 32, to ask what he may know about the death of Jasmine Fiore, 28. She had what the Associated Press is calling a "stormy relationship" with Jenkins, who may be hightailing it to his native Canada, the cops say.
On Saturday night, Jenkins reported Fiore missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
Jenkins was one of the "millionaires" on the VH1 reality series that the Viacom cable network wants to make perfectly clear was not -- repeat not -- a show it actually created, which means VH1 grants itself Skankitude Immunity.
Here, we'll let them say it in their own words:
Ryan Jenkins was a contestant on "Megan Wants a Millionaire" -- an outside production, produced and owned by 51 Minds, that is licensed to VH1.
But wait -- it gets better:
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.
Fiore married Jenkins in Las Vegas in March, but had the marriage annulled weeks later, the AP reported.
Fiore's nude body was found stuffed in a suitcase in a trash bin in Orange County on Saturday. Officials say she may have been strangled; she was last seen alive with Jenkins at a poker game in San Diego.
Lt. Gary Worral told the AP that Jenkins was still missing: "At this point, he's merely a person of interest, simply because of the suspiciousness of his disappearance. We can't find him.
"We find it suspicious that with all the media coverage that he has not made himself available to us," he said.
Jenkins, who, depending on your source of information, is either an architect, real estate developer or investment banker from Calgary, appeared in three episodes of "Megan." The show claimed Jenkins had a couple of million dollars in the bank.
Before it got all prissy, VH1 described "Megan Wants a Millionaire" thusly:
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.
On its Web site, fans of "Megan Wants a Millionaire" have left comments under VH1's statement conveying all blame for the show to production house 51 Minds. Including our fave from one outraged viewer:
At least they could tell us who she picked!! Was this guy eliminated before they pulled the plug? Maybe he was the one she picked. She seemed to like him a whole lot.Back In the Hatch
Original "Survivor" champ Richard Hatch has become a victim of TV vertical integration.
Hatch, who was serving the rest of his tax-dodging sentence on home confinement, got tossed back in the hoosegow this week after -- upon getting permission from authorities to do a single NBC interview -- he gave interviews to three NBC properties.
Hatch had been holed up at his sister's place in Rhode Island. This week, he gave three TV interviews: to NBC's "Today" show, to NBC affiliate WJAR-TV and to NBC-owned celebrity suck-up show "Access Hollywood."
Hatch and his lawyer might recognize that those properties are all part of the same game, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons apparently is not wise to what's going on in the entertainment industry these days.
"I think this is a little misunderstanding that really has to do with the lawyer, and the bureau and NBC's communications," Hatch's lawyer, Cynthia Ribas, told the Associated Press late Wednesday.
Ribas said she thought the permission granted would extend to all NBC properties. Turns out, the feds think each NBC property should be considered separately. Ribas said a lawyer for the Bureau of Prisons told her Wednesday that the permission was for "Today" only -- not the two other NBC interests.
Interestingly, "Today" titillated viewers Wednesday morning with the thought that Hatch might have been tossed in the slammer as a result of its interview, even while knowing that the show had gone through proper channels to get permission for that one.
"Richard Hatch is back behind bars!" host Matt Lauer said breathlessly on the show.
"He was arrested just a couple of hours after we aired our exclusive interview. . . . The question this morning, 'Why?' Was it something he did, or was it something said in that interview?"
In his interviews, Hatch accused his case's prosecutor of misconduct and the judge of discriminating against him because he is gay.
Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said prisoners serving the tail end of their sentences sometimes are allowed home confinement, during which they can give interviews if the media outlet has been granted permission.
Hatch had also phoned in to a Rhode Island radio station, WPRO, this week, but it's unclear whether that played any role in his incarceration. The radio station did not get permission, but Hatch phoned in twice, angry about a provocative interview the station had conducted with former U.S. attorney Robert Clark Corrente. According to the Associated Press, in that interview, Corrente, who oversaw Hatch's prosecution, called Hatch "delusional." You can see Hatch's point.
Hatch was convicted in 2006 of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he snagged for winning the first season of CBS reality series "Survivor." He won extra prison time for having lied on the stand.
According to Billingsley, Hatch's jail time will be over on Oct. 7.
By the way, Billingsley said Lauer got it wrong when he said Hatch was "arrested" after his "Today" show on Tuesday. Hatch was "moved to a security facility."
"We can move them back in, from home confinement, to a security facility or Bureau of Prisons facility," if authorities decide they need additional supervision, she said.