A cast member on TLC’s Next Great Baker killed himself in October, but the show, hosted by Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, only revealed Wesley Durden, a 29-year-old father of two, was dead after his elimination on last night’s episode. It was dedicated to his memory.
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He was identified in his TLC bio as an “active serviceman” in the Army 82nd Airborne Division; he had a 7-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. A newspaper interview with fellow contestant Carmelo Oquendo said he “was saddened by the apparent suicide of Army veteran Wesley,” but otherwise there was no mention of his death prior to last night.
“TLC extends its deepest condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Sgt. Wesley Durden, who died October 24. He will be warmly remembered by the cast and crew of NEXT GREAT BAKER.”
I’m not sure what to think that TLC promoted and aired a show that featured a contestant who killed himself for unknown reasons, and decided only to reveal that he had been dead for months after he was eliminated from the show. I suppose announcing his death in advance could have been handled poorly and come across as if the network was using it for publicity, but this after-the-fact and post-elimination announcement doesn’t seem like the best option, either.
I’m Andy Dehnart, a writer who obsessively and critically covers reality TV, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.
I created reality blurred 20 years ago as a place to collect interesting links I found. Today, I review and recommend reality shows, documentaries, and nonfiction entertainment; analyze news and report from behind the scenes; and interview people who create and star in reality TV shows. You"ll also find other people"s insightful takes on reality TV in these pages, too.
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reality blurred is your guide to the world of reality TV and unscripted entertainment, with reality show reviews, news, and analysis. It was created in 2000 by Andy Dehnart, who"s still writing and publishing it today.
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reality blurred is regularly updated with highlights from the world of reality TV: news and analysis; behind-the-scenes reports; interviews with reality TV show cast members and producers; and recaps and reviews of reality TV shows including Survivor, Big Brother, The Great British Baking Show, Shark Tank, The Amazing Race, Top Chef, Holey Moley, The Bachelor, Project Runway, Dancing with the Stars ,and many more.