Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Reality Contestant Commits Suicide, Producers: Show Must Go On

Najai Turpin sits in front row, red trunks.
[Photo: Chris Haston/NBC Universal]

A contestant in "The Contender”—NBC’s new boxing reality series—has killed himself. The show is scheduled to start next month, and exceutives say it will go on as planned, starting March 7.

Networks suits say Najai "Nitro" Turpin , a 23 year old middleweight boxer from Philadelphia, took his life Monday. According to the New York Times, they offered no other details about the suicide, but thought it had nothing to do with events on the television show.

Reality Blurred, the reality television news digest, has more detail. With his girlfriend sitting in a car beside him, Najai "Nitro" Turpin "fatally shot himself in the head early yesterday", says the Philadelphia Daily News.

Turpn was one of the 16 featured boxers on the show. ExProd Mark Burnett, who also created the Apprentice and Survivor, told the Times that his death won't affect the series at all: "Nothing changes. I'm not even going to make any edits because it's real."

Reality Blurred and other media report that Turpin had been depressed.

[Via Reality Blurred]