Friday, May 30, 2014

'Ghost Hunters' Amy Bruni, Adam Berry Exit: Fall Out, Feuds,Predictions AND New Statements From Jason Hawes, Bruni

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Adam Berry & Amy Bruni, courtesy Syfy

BY AARON SAGERS

UPDATE: Per predictions below, I received confirmation that KJ McCormick & Dustin Pari HAVE indeed been cast as Bruni/Berry replacements.

Whether or not you buy into paranormal investigations, there's no denying things have been getting spirited on social media regarding cast departures on Syfy's Ghost Hunters. And since news broke that Amy Bruni and Adam Berry were departing the nearly 10-year-old series, the ghosts of investigators past, present and yet-to-come have weighed in - and there seems to be evidence of drama and hurt feelings.

So let's break it down with what we know, what we don't know, and what we can speculate on.

Published yesterday, May 29, around 6 p.m. ET, Deadline reported Bruni and Berry were leaving the unscripted paranormal reality show to pursue their own ghosty projects. Deadline did not name its source, but it is likely one of the two principals, or their representation.

This is kind of a big deal for Ghost Hunters, which returns with new episodes in October. Since it premiered in 2004 - making it Syfy's longest-running reality show -- the series has experienced high turnover with female cast members with Bruni being around the longest (111 episodes, according to IMBD, since 2008). Berry has been with the show since 2010 when he made the leap to the main series from the spin-off Ghost Hunters Academy. Together, Bruni and Berry, who is openly gay, have operated as a team on the show as well as representing diversity on a cast dominated by white, straight males.

And their announcement did not go unnoticed.

By 7:08 p.m. ET, TV psychic/medium Chip Coffey (from A&E's canceled Paranormal State and Psychic Kids) tweeted "HUGE NEWS!" with a link to the Deadline story. Former co-lead investigator Grant Wilson, who was with the show from the beginning before leaving in 2012, tweeted the "BIG NEWS!" at 7:50 p.m. that the duo would "bow out."

That phrasing is notable because team leader Jason Hawes -- who also serves as producer on Ghost Hunters and maintains control over the show's investigative team TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) - tweeted this at 10:15 p.m.:



His statement that there are "big differences between 'Bowing out' and 'Impossible demands' in this crazed world" seemed to be a reply to Wilson's tweet. Not only does Hawes' tweet suggest contractual demands (i.e. money), but further posts intimate that it was his call to either reject those demands and push the two out. In response to a fan tweet about "out with the old, on [sic] with the new," Hawes replied, "Most Agree. I made the right call and it's gonna be a good one!" This was followed by a smiley face (with sunglasses, if you care). He additionally tweeted that show is "stronger than ever."

Reached for comment today, Hawes began, "They are friends and like family to me."

"Their issue with their finances is between them and [production company] Pilgrim Studios," he continued. "I base my feelings for people on friendship and loyalty, not net worth or what some think it should be."

On another front, Kris Williams, former Ghost Hunters investigator, and one-time leader of the since-canceled Ghost Hunters International spin-off, appeared to take issue with Hawes' tweets. Less than an hour after his post, she posted that it, "Says a lot about a 'leader' when they look to trash others who've done nothing but have their backs #ImpossibleDemands."

If Williams is Team Bruni/Berry, former cast member KJ McCormick, who left the show in 2013, appears to be Team Hawes - if his retweet of the "right call" post is an endorsement.

Bruni and Berry themselves remained quiet about the Deadline story. In fact, most of what Bruni was posting on social media yesterday involved "making hard decisions," before the story broke, and teasing a "top secret" project with Coffey.

However, both posted statements today offering more details. In very similarly worded posts they mentioned an "unpredictable schedule" and the toll the show took on their family. They also both included this identical statement:

"We were not fired. We were not 'let go' - we opted to move on. This was 100% our decision that we came to after some discussion with the production company."

Bruni added in a comment to me today that she is grateful for the time she spent on the show and the opportunities it brought her way.

"But looking ahead has me so excited for everything the future holds," she said. "Adam and I have so many exciting projects, on screen and off that we're working on, I don't think anyone will have too much time to miss us."

Except maybe the production company. Pilgrim Studios posted a casting call for investigators on its website yesterday, and sent out a press release today. The notice was for show within the "franchise," but my guess is it's for the flagship. Pilgrim mentions a filming window that begins the end of June 2014. If this is for Ghost Hunters, that would suggest negotiations fell through fairly last minute before Bruni and Berry were to hit the road to film. It is reasonable to assume the episodes that will begin filming in June would be part of the series' tenth season.

That filming schedule, if it is for Ghost Hunters and the upcoming tenth season, opens up a lot of questions, and room for speculation.

Syfy did not release a statement about the Bruni/Berry departure, and declined comment for this story. But this apparent feuding on social media could present a problem for the network. Although it has moved away from paranormal programming, Ghost Hunters was once Syfy's favorite child. The show will celebrate its 200th episode, and tenth anniversary, in October. And although the show is likely winding down, or at least closer to its end than its beginning, it's a safe bet that Syfy would want to do something big to support that.

For instance, previously there have been live Ghost Hunters investigations for Halloween, and a 2010 special in front of a live studio audience at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City celebrated its 100th episode. So a 200th episode on the show's tenth anniversary during Halloween season, and the network's "31 Days of Halloween" programming block? Not even a skeptic should question that that combination has the makings of a big event.

Bruni and Berry have stated they are involved with the 200th episode, but would they and Hawes gather together for something like a live special? Moreover, are there any likely replacements that might pop up in the show's tenth season?

Neither Syfy nor Pilgrim Studios owns TAPS. Since its inception, Hawes has emphasized that his team is about family, and that no one has told him who to hire. He has brought daughters Haley and Samantha on the show, as well as childhood friend McCormick, who departed in 2013.

Again, this is pure speculation, but I doubt Hawes would want an unknown person on Ghost Hunters.

Williams would be the obvious choice. She is known to the audience, and is a strong female, but she has said she previously turned down offers to return to the show. If producers want to branch out a bit, Joe Chin is a stalwart investigator who had appeared on both Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International as well. The same goes for Dustin Pari, an investigator who exited the shows and focused on his Christian ministry.

It is worth noting that Pari also teased "awesome" news just yesterday on Twitter, with the promise of more information soon. It could be totally unrelated, but the timing is curious. And while this might be a stretch, Hawes' catchphrase is "hawesome," so Pari's word choice is additionally intriguing.



McCormick and Berry reportedly have no love lost between one another, and with his departure, Hawes might choose to bring him back into the fold. His retweet of the Pilgrim casting call certainly shows that McCormick is paying attention to what's shaking.

Beyond the Ghost Hunters franchise, but still within the ghost community, Pilgrim and Hawes could reach out to John Zaffis and/or Brian Cano from Syfy's canceled Haunted Collector. The show lasted three seasons, and there is a lot of shared fans on the same network. Zaffis in particular has a high profile of his own as a paranormal researcher, and after being a series lead, he probably would want top billing.

Whatever the result, the show will go on, and the ghost hunts will continue for now. But make no mistake, Bruni and Berry's joint departure from Ghost Hunters is stirring up activity in the paranormal reality realm.

15 comments:

Trisha said...

Over 10 years, many investigators have come and gone. It is just part of the ebb and flow of TV, especially reality TV. I look forward to season 10 just as much as I have to every season before. Ghost Hunters is a great show and I'm sure decisions are being made in the best interest of the show.

Derek Cangero said...

Ghost Adventures is way better. Lol

Everyday Woman said...

Just in case anyone was wondering, Ms Bruni is an openly heterosexual woman.

Wanda Jones said...

Everyone has their own path to follow and their own decisions to make that is right for them. I will continue to watch Ghost Hunters, it is my favorite show. I wish Amy and Adam the best on their futures. Even though they are leaving the show it doesn't change the fact that Jason is the team leader and he will do what is best for his team. The hunt continues.

citizenpariah.com said...

The show made it past the loss of Grant, although I have to admit Amy is my favorite, had the privilege of going with her and a group on an investigation and it was a blast. She is a warm and genuine person and I wish her the best.

Jill Peterson said...

I will miss them both

Angelina said...

This article gave so much good information. I really care about the show and I really like Amy and Adam. I wish them continued success and will watch their show when it happens. I love GH very much, thanks for the detailed information. I follow Dustin on twitter and think he's great. I hope he does come back. Great article.

Sarah Mee said...

I won't stop watching but I LOVE Amy and Adam and their way of investigating. And Chip. Interested to see what they cook up.

Mike Edwards said...

Yes it is, even Jason now trys to narrate as Zak does. This show has lost my interest long ago but I still watch. Seems to be more watered down and the same stuff repeated

Lisa Cooke said...

Amy and Adam have a brilliant connection with each other and work really well together ... I will miss them on Ghost Hunters but look forward to what they both do next xxx

Pumpkin said...

Lmao thank goodness you clarified that since they had to clarify for Adam. It was vital to the story for us to know who is sleeping with who. Smh

Aaron Sagers said...

As editor of this site, and the dude who wrote this article, it's worth addressing those who take issue with my inclusion of Adam Berry's sexual orientation.

This is not an attempt to single out Berry or salaciously point out anyone's orientation.

However, in the context of this story, I deemed it necessary to bring up because, as stated, the "Ghost Hunters" cast is just not that diverse. So when two cast members who represent diversity on the show exit -- and are subsequently replaced by two more straight, white dudes -- suddenly gender and orientation become part of the story.

Trust me, I wish this wasn't the case -- both for "Ghost Hunters" and the rest of paranormal reality TV. Hell, there is still an exceptionally long way to go towards diversity within scripted television and film.

But specific to the paranormal, if we were discussing a genre that was not dominated by tattooed, alpha males, then neither Bruni's gender nor Berry's orientation would be mentioned.

-Aaron Sagers

Kimberly Flick said...

Maybe if people didn't make such a big deal about "omg, there are only white males on this paranormal reality show" then it wouldn't be big deal. *eyeroll*

As a white female, I didn't even have the foggiest idea of the "lack of diversity" until you blatantly pointed it out - and I was well aware that Adam is gay and Amy is a woman, in case you're wondering.

Maybe this paranormal reality show only has white males because that's the large number of ethnic/gender/class/race/whatever that is drawn to the paranormal? You probably wouldn't expect to find a large number of white males on a show about Chinatown.

booghostiegirl said...

In all honesty, I can't say I'll miss Amy and Adam; I just have never been a fan of either of them. Same with Britt. Still, I think it's significant that three key players are stepping out at the same time. I get a kick out of Jason's comment that the show is still going strong. Since Grant left, I think the whole thing has gone downhill. I guess we'll see.

As for the lack of diversity in casting, I think you have a point. I've always thought it interesting that many (not all, but many) of the women on these paranormal shows got their start as models and seem to be there as eye candy for the male viewers. I mean, seriously, have you ever seen an unattractive female ghost hunter? Not that modeling is a bad thing, per se, but it's just an observation that women seem to fall under the same objectification in the world of paranormal TV as they do everywhere else.

Danny Ogata said...

I love Ghost Hunters but in every episode they NEVER find anything malicious, and nothing to worry about, right? They are Paranormal Investigators, key word Investigators. So what could they do if they ever found something nasty to worry about? Go back and investigate the same location, again? Not really helping anyone but probably pissing off a lot of spirits, which is why my interest in the show has gone way down, but way up for the Haunted Collector. John Zafis and his team actually find the problem, isolate it, and then remove it. Aaaah....Closure!!! I bet JZ and his team have helped more people in their 3 seasons than TAPS have in 10.

I'm not looking for a debate on my post just wanted to state my own observation.