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Below Deck Producer Reveals “Biggest Disaster” in Show’s History That Threatened “Existence” of Series

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Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo

A Below Deck executive producer is dishing on a wild situation that almost ended the entire show during its inaugural season.

Mark Cronin, who created the hit series, recently revealed that producers were close to wrapping production on the show after the entire season one crew quit.

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If fans recall, charter guest Johnny Eyelash and his friends were kicked off the boat after stew Kat Held found what appeared to be cocaine in one of the guest cabins. She immediately went to Captain Lee Rosbach after finding the white powder, along with a rolled up dollar bill, and he turned the yacht around and headed straight back to the dock. Once they arrived, Lee threw Johnny and his guests off the boat, and gave them a good scolding in the process.

But according to Mark, the crew, who already didn’t trust the producers, began to suspect they had planted the drugs. As a result, every last crew member walked off the boat, which Mark calls the “biggest disaster that’s been on the show.”

“That was a disaster,” he told Showbiz Cheat Sheet earlier this month. “That was a real disaster. And the reason it was a disaster was that the cast of the show, the boat crew, they didn’t trust us anyway.”

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“A lot of these people, they didn’t even have TVs, like they didn’t even know what reality TV was really,” he continued. “They’re just yachties, really. Yachting is very important to them and keeping their yachting certifications and their licenses. And it wasn’t a joke. So they were looking at us like, ‘Well, what is this? Are you setting us up? Are these guests coming on here to make our lives difficult on purpose? And are you like to what extent are you messing with us?’”

Apparently, it wasn’t an easy task to convince the crew they weren’t being set up as they were very concerned that their licenses were at risk.

“I would always say we’re not messing with you,” Marc explained. “We are not messing with you. These are charter guests. They’re paying. If their check cleared the bank, they’re coming on the show. I don’t do anything with them. I don’t prepare them or anything.”

“And they’d be like, ‘Yeah ok. But I bet this is a setup,’” he added. “And then when Johnny Eyelash came on, it was OK, everything was going OK until they found the drugs. And then the cast was like, ‘Oh, it is a setup, and these guys don’t know how serious what they’ve just done to us is. Meaning us. Meaning the TV show.”

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Marc went on to describe what happened once the charter guests left the boat as he recalled the important meeting they all gathered for in the main salon.

“I stop all the cameras, and we all had to come into the main saloon of the boat,” he shared. “And I had to sit everybody down and said ‘We did not put drugs on this boat.’ Those guys, unbeknownst to us, brought something on this boat that’s not cool. I get it. And it’s a disaster. And I didn’t want to end this charter early. I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t know. It’s no good to me if we could shut down in the first episode either.”

Mark said he was eventually able to convince everyone that their yachting careers were safe before explaining what a close call the incident really was.

“And so eventually, they calmed down, and we, of course, went back to shooting the show. And the rest is history,” he noted. “But that the fact that that happened the second day of shooting was probably the biggest disaster that’s been on the show. Truly threatening the existence of the show, that was the biggest thing we overcame.”

Below Deck Mediterranean season six airs Monday nights on Bravo at 9/8c, and Below Deck season nine premieres Monday, October 25, at 9/8c.

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