The creator of Below Deck is opening up about the casting process on the show and admits producers dropped the ball in earlier seasons as he reveals which cast member changed the entire process.
In a recent interview, Mark Cronin, who created the hit franchise and serves as executive producer, opened up about how cast members are selected for the series. According to him, each crew member must pass both a professional and psychological screening before they’re even considered,
“[They must be able] to handle being a yachtie,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “And that’s most important probably on the exterior that you have deckhands that can actually handle the boat.”
Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t always the case as one person who allegedly lied on their resume made it on the boat, causing production to implement a stricter vetting process. Apparently, this person was none other than Andrew Sturby, who Captain Lee Rosbach fired in season two once the captain realized Andrew had flat-out lied about his experience.
“In the earlier days we were a little more blind,” Mark confessed. “We had hired people who had no real reason of being there at all. Sturby is a famous example of that. Because of Sturby, we now check all references. Everybody’s gotta give us three references of boats they’ve worked on. We check those pretty carefully. In terms of being a yachtie, that is much more checked over than it used to be.”
“We’ll still have a green person,” Mark explained. “But when I mean green, they’ve only worked on one other charter boat.”
He added, “We don’t pull people out of farms anymore and put them on the boat.”
As for the psychological aspect, Mark noted that it’s equally as important, especially when it comes to whether a potential cast member can handle possible fan backlash or being filmed 24/7.
“In terms of being sane enough to handle a reality television show, and being filmed 24/7, and seeing the results of that on TV, that’s a strong test of somebody’s confidence and moral capacity,” he said. “So yes, they go through a pretty extensive psychological evaluation. It’s both written and in person. Or at least a Skype evaluation of, like, what kind of person are you. And are you the kind of person who could be a threat to yourself or others?”
But, as fans well know, there have been some cast members who have seemingly cracked under pressure, causing them to lash out at their co-stars. Mark admits that they don’t always get the initial evaluation right, stating that “predictive psychology is not an easy thing.” However, he feels they take the process very seriously, and they get it right most of the time.
“Between the background checks, the interviews, and the written answers to, I’ve heard overheard like 300 questions,” he shared. “I think we’ve done pretty well at keeping a mentally healthy cast. And that’s our job. That’s true of all reality shows. Everybody gets vetted pretty carefully these days.”
Below Deck season nine premieres Monday, October 25, on Bravo at 9/8c, and Below Deck Mediterranean season six is currently airing Monday nights at 9/8c.
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