19 Facts About Floribama Shore, Reality TV's Wildest Show - Nicki Swift (2024)

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19 Facts About Floribama Shore, Reality TV's Wildest Show - Nicki Swift (1)

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ByBrent Furdyk/

The following article references sexual assault.

In 2017, the producers behind MTV mega-hit reality show "Jersey Shore"unleashed a similar —if not near-identical — series set in a different part of the country."Floribama Shore" featured a party-loving crew of eight young, good-looking Southerners, filming their antics as they shacked up together in a beach house on the Gulf Coast. The first season introduced audiences to Jeremiah Buoni, Candace Rice, Codi Butts, Aimee Hall, Kortni GIlson, Kirk Medas, Nilsa Prowant, and Gus Smyrnios.

In a statement to Deadline, producers described the series as a "coming of age story" that promised to capture "the very real thrill and angst of being young and trying to figure out the future with a group of people you'll come to call family." As viewers came to see, however, that description left out a few key details, such as the excessive binge-drinking, frequent vomiting and the occasional arrest.

It didn't take long for "Floribama Shore"to make its mark. Mere weeks after the series' premiere, the show received the ultimate pop-culture anointment when it was hilariously spoofed by "Saturday Night Live."The show continued to draw viewers who couldn't get enough of the hard-partying cast. Despite what fans think they may or may not know about the show, there's plenty to learn by reading on to discover the untold truth of "Floribama Shore."

Floribama Shore proved to be a hit for MTV

19 Facts About Floribama Shore, Reality TV's Wildest Show - Nicki Swift (2)

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If MTV had any doubt that a Southern-fried knockoff of "Jersey Shore"would attract viewers, the show's boffo ratings offered hard evidence. The day after the premiere, the New Orleans Times-Picayune shared MTV's announcement that the series' first episode — which featured the original lineup ofJeremiah Buoni, Candace Rice, Codi Butts, Aimee Hall, Kortni Gilson, Kirk Medas, Nilsa Prowant, and Gus Smyrnios — was the network's biggest series debut in years.

According to a 2018 report in Deadline, "Floribama Shore"proved to be so popular that by the end of the first season it was on its way to becoming the most-watched original cable series in its time slot. Not surprisingly, that Deadline article also announced MTV's plans to renew the series for a second season. The following year,MTV was read to invite "Floribama Shore"back for a third season; however, as TVLine noted, the renewal arrived following "months of uncertainty."

"Floribama Shore"was then brought back for a fourth season in 2021. As a trailerrevealed, that season would no longer be set in Florida, but in the altogether new locales of Lolo, Montana, and the resort town of Lake Havasu, Arizona. Regardless of geography, the show's fundamental core remained intact. "Home,"a voiceover asserted, "is where the party is."

The show moved to St. Petersburg after a hurricane

While "Floribama Shore" may have sent its cast drunkenly careening into two new states for Season 4, the third season likewise brought about a change of venues. While the first two seasons were based in Florida's Panama City Beach, the third relocated the gang to St. Petersburg. As reported by Spectrum News, the cast switched cities in the wake of Hurricane Michael.

For some citizens of St. Pete, becoming the new home of "Floribama Shore"was a somewhat dubious honor. According to a report in the Tampa Bay Times, two local bars agreed to give producers "nearly unlimited access"for filming. However, there were far more establishments that, when offered the chance to be part of the "Floribama Shore"legacy, declined. "We told them no," said Michael Brinkmann, manager of St. Petersburg watering hole the Emerald. "The nature of reality shows are drama. We don't need that nonsense."

Then again, "nonsense"ultimately outweighed boredom for St. Petersburg resident Nancy Pappas, who lives across the street in the rented four-bedroom home in the suburb of Punta Vista where the "Floribama Shores"cast shacked up."I'd film them now and then," Pappas told the Times of having a booze-fueled reality show film in her neighborhood. "It was the most excitement Punta Vista has ever seen."

When COVID-19 hit, Floribama Shore hit the brakes

In between the third and fourth seasons of "Floribama Shore,"an unanticipated complication blew through the world in the form of a global pandemic that shut downTV and film production. When filming eventually resumed, it was under a whole new set of COVID-19 protocols that saw the show's central theme of"puke and rally"suddenly supplanted by hand sanitizing and social distancing.

Even with all those safety protocols in place, production was halted when "a member of the production team" tested positive for the coronavirus. This led to a two-week shutdown while all members of the cast and crew quarantined in their Lake Havasu hotel for two weeks.Speaking with MTV News about the pause, Candace Rice offered a blunt assessment: "Coronavirus is real out here, and it's really out here impacting everybody's lives. Including ours."

As MTV News pointed out, the "silver lining"for the cast was that each of their rooms in the resort had balconies, which allowed everyone to see each other from a distance while quarantining. For Kirk Medas, the balconies had another bonus feature."The best part about it is if I don't like what they have to say, I can walk inside and close the door," he quipped.

The Floribama Shore crew battled the Jersey Shore gang in a Fear Factor challenge

Like Godzilla throwing down with King Kong, or Freddie Krueger from "Nightmare on Elm Street" facing off against "Friday the 13th"psycho Jason Voorhees, it was more or less inevitable that the "Floribama Shore"crew would eventually go head-to-head with their television forebears. That came to pass whenNilsa Prowant, Jeremiah Buoni, Kirk Medas, and Aimee Hall of"Floribama Shore" competed against "Jersey Shore" stars Paul "Pauly D"DelVecchio, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, and Deena Cortese inan episode of MTV's "Celebrity Fear Factor."

According to the show's host, rapper/actor Ludacris, the "Floribama Shore"cast appeared to have the edge in the competition."I think the 'Floribama' kids had something to prove,"hetold MTV News. "They were like, 'We are going to beat these people who we look up to.'" However, when it came to sheer entertainment value, Ludacris had to give it up for "Jersey Shore" —specifically, the most famous/notorious member of the cast. "Snooki was extremely entertaining," Ludacris confirmed. "She was funny as hell."

There could only be one winner, though. After a series of freaky contests — including one that involved transferring scorpions, millipedes and other creepy-crawly creatures mouth to mouth —Prowant and Buoni of "Floribama Shore"emerged victorious.

Reviews of Floribama Shore weren't exactly glowing

Go figure, but a show about a group of booze-swilling roommateswasn't quick to catch on with television critics. To be fair, some critics confronted the show knowing full well what to expect in the context of a crude, obnoxious reality show in the spirit of "Jersey Shore."Entertainment Weekly put it best by declaring that the show "is exactly what you expect." The key differences between "Floribama Shore"and its New Jersey-based predecessor, the magazine pointed out, were the accents and thefact that "no one talks about doing laundry."

A review inThe New Yorkeroffered an analysis that gave faint praise. Describing the show ashaving "glided onto MTV along the slime trail secreted, in 2009, by 'Jersey Shore,'"the review conceded that the "Floribama Shore"crew was "marginally less abrasive than their Yankee predecessors."

Reality Blurred offered a far less rosy assessment, describing the show as "MTV garbage in an uglier package,"lambasting the show's "incoherent editing and a budget production that feels too cheap even for this drunken garbage." Tell 'em how you really feel.

The Floribama Shore gang hit the road in Season 5 with a pig in tow

When the show returned for a fifth season in September 2021, a brief teaser for the new batch of episodes revealed yet another change of venue. After two rounds in Panama City, another in St. Petersburg, and then one that split time between Montana and Arizona, the new season sent the crew to Athens, Georgia.

Also introduced in the promo were some new members of the cast —non-human ones. In addition to a dog, "Floribama Shore" Season 5 welcomed Aimee Hall's new pet pig. "Piggy, are you ready to go to Athens?" Hall asks her porcine pal in the clip. Meanwhile, there also happened to be a glimpse of a scene in which GusSmyrnios lifts a small black goat off the floor of their house. Goat big or goat home.

Hall's new pet has one whopper of a name:Princess Goddess Piggy Tutor May Massengill Hall Johnson. As for how she became a pig parent, the reality star offered an explanation (of sorts) in an interview with TV Insider. "I just love animals,"she said. "I have a bunch of dogs and cats, and now I wanted me a piggy. So I got me one."

Floribama Shore stars fought the law, but the law won

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that an MTV show with the word "Shore" in the title has experienced some run-ins with the law. "Floribama Shore" stars KirkMedas,Nilsa Prowant, and Aimee Hall have all wound up in handcuffs since the show debuted in 2017.

In May 2020, TMZ reported that police were called after Medas got "belligerent"when hewas kicked out of aGeorgia restaurant after apparently imbibing enough tequila to incite barfing. During the arrest, Medas reportedly made a failed attempt to tout his celebrity status. "I'm on a TV show by the way,"he told cops; they were reportedly unimpressed.

The previous summer, it was Prowant who found herself posing for a mugshot. InSeason 3,fans saw her get arrested after she exposed her breasts... while in full view of a crowd that just happened to include a few police officers. According to People's report, things apparently took a turn after she got "belligerent and erratic" while in the backseat of a police car, and "began kicking the rear driver side window"hard enough to wind up shattering the window. And in 2018, Hall was arrested after punching another woman in a bar fight while filming the show. Per My Panhandle, she got six months probation, and all involved parties ended up reaching a settlement.

Floribama Shore introduced some new slang into the lexicon

Just as "Jersey Shore"foisted some new slang into the pop culture conversation —"GTL,"for example— so too did "Floribama Shore." In a video for Page Six, Codi Butts, Nilsa Prowant, and Gus Smyrniosdetailed some of the show's unique lingo. One such phrase is "actin' a donkey,"which Prowant said meant someone was "acting crazy... calm down." Another is "hold your biscuits,"which Smyrnios translated as "brace yourself,"something he's prone to tell passengers in a vehicle he's driving when he is about to make an unanticipated turn or swerve.

Then there's "caddywhompus,"which Butts described as being "all flustered and frustrated, or in a tizzy, and you're like, 'Dang, you got me all caddywhompus, and I don't know which way is up or down. I don't know which way I'm going."

Meanwhile, the trio also offered the definition of "skeeza,"which Butts explained is "Floribama Shore" slang for "a floozy, a skan*."And just when you thought things couldn't get more respectful, he provided a charming description in which he compared a woman's legs to peanut butter. Okay, then.

The word-erful side gig of Floribama Shore's Gus Smyrnios

19 Facts About Floribama Shore, Reality TV's Wildest Show - Nicki Swift (10)

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Gus Smyrnios is a good-looking person who seems to be a drama magnet. In other words, he was made for reality TV. But before MTV brought him aboard,Smyrnios pursued totally different career paths.

A 2017 article inUs Weeklyrecounted his various pre-"Floribama Shore"vocations, which included physically demanding gigs like working as a roofer and laboring on a farm. In addition, Smyrnios also did a little modeling, appearing on the covers of numerous romance novels. At that time, he told the magazine, he'd been adorned the covers of over 40 books. As MTV News noted, he's appeared on literary page-turners as "Guarded Desire," "Strip Me Bare," and the borderline incestuous "Dear Stepbrother, IWant You." Smyrnios explained to Us Weekly that he never had any modeling ambitions until he wound up meeting a young woman who was in the business and connected him with an agent; before he knew it he was in high demand as a romance novel cover boy. "I didn't know anything about that world — it was crazy how it happened,"he admitted. "I just got thrown into it."

While Smyrnios was fairly new in the game, that didn't mean he wasn't ambitious. "I'm coming for Fabio's spot,"he joked of overtaking the Italian romance novel icon. "He better look out!"

The reason Kortni Gilson parted ways with Floribama Shore

When the fourth season returned to MTV in 2021, Kortni Gilson was no longer a part of the "Floribama Shore" shenanigans. What neither fans of the show nor Gilson's co-stars realized was that she was still battling the deep trauma of being sexually assaulted at the age of 16.

She opened up about her decision to exit the show in an interview with Dr. Drew Pinsky for MTV News. It came to a head, she recalled, when she unexpectedly broke down during filming of an episode. "I thought I had been rock bottom before, but that was an all-time low," she said. "After the cameras were off, I was talking about sexual assault that happened to me and how I wasn't OK." By March 2021, however, she took to Instagram to reveal she was doing a lot better after reaching out for help and undergoing therapy. "Life changed for me when I asked for help,"she wrote, concluding on an inspirational note."Growth is a process and it takes time and practice to get where you want to be,"she advised her followers. "Don't give up keep going."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Floribama Shore brought its stars more fame than fortune

It's easy to assume that people who appear on television rake in truckloads of money. While that is certainly the case for the likes ofJennifer Anistonand Simon Cowell, the folks seen in most reality series don't earn anywhere nearly that much. The "Floribama Shore"cast is no exception. While what they're paid hasn't been made public, Screen Rantestimated that the typical salary for each was about $20,000 per season.

Of course, salaries in that range are typical for reality TV, where these newly minted stars are able to cash in on their television fame via other ventures. Nilsa Prowant, for example, launched her own clothing line, including merch featuring her catchphrase ("Chi chi's up!") along with such items as a "Friday Night Lights Denim Skirt,"anda variety of jewelry.

As a result, the net worths of the various cast members tend to vary wildly. According to estimates fromThe Sun, the cast members' net worth ranges from $30,000 to $350,000, with the highest being Prowant's — perhaps not surprising given her entrepreneurial bent. Another big "Floribama Shore"earner, per The Sun's May 2021 report, is series alum Kortni Gilson, who is apparently worth an estimated $200,000.

A local confirmed that Floribama Shore is pretty darn real

There's been much discussion over the years about just how real so-called reality TV actually is, with plenty of speculation that "Floribama Shore"and its ilk are at least partially scripted. However, according to a former resident of Panama City Beach —home to the first two seasons of "Floribama Shore" —the show certainly rang true to her experience.

Writing for Vice, Opheli Garcia Lawlor revealed she'd once lived in Panama City Beach before fleeing in order to escape"a small town run on nepotism, Republicanism, racism, and religion."In Garcia Lawlor's account, one scene in particular, featuring a street fight,"looked like every other fight I'd ever seen growing up. Maybe this show about Panama City got a few things right." In fact, she found the title of the first episode —"Eat, Pray, Party" —to be "incredibly accurate."

Intrigued by this reality show set in her one-time home, she got in touch with townsfolk with whom she hadn't been in contact with for years in order to solicit their opinions. While some thought the show was a poor reflection of their town, others seemed "disappointed and confused"that, as one person said, the series "shows Panama City in a terrible way." Ultimately, the writer admitted, "Watching the show made me really grateful I got out of my hometown. But it also made me appreciate the fact that people are pretty much insane disasters everywhere you go."

How a surprise pregnancy impacted Floribama Shore

In 2020, Nilsa Prowant had a big announcement to share with her cast mates — like, areallybig announcement. In a teaser for the fourth season, we see Prowant tellJeremiah Buoni, Candace Rice, Codi Butts, Aimee Hall, Kirk Medas, and Gus Smyrnios she's pregnant.Her co-stars' reactions were all over the map. "My heart literally hits my vagin*,"remarked Hall, while Codyproudly declared, "I'm gonna be an uncle!"

Prowant opened up about her impending mommyhood in an interview with Page Six."I'm due three months from the premiere date," she said, revealing her due date to be May 25, 2021 (the baby actually arrived a few days early). Her pregnancy, she was happy to report, didn't impact filming of the fourth season. "I'm feeling super-pregnant, but I'm just happy I made it through filming because that was one of the hardest ones for me," she said.

"It was definitely different, like Prowant being pregnant, because we used to do all this stuff together and she was pregnant and in her first trimester," Hall told Page Six. "So she couldn't really do a whole lot." Meanwhile, Buoni admitted he tried to keep Prowant at arm's length from any "Floribama Shore"drama she might find too distressing. "I personally felt like if we were going to handle stuff, we had to handle it away from her," he said. "We were going to get into fights, that's fine. Let's have our fights, but away from her."

Nilsa Prowant's road to parenthood wasn't an easy one

Pregnant with her first child, Nilsa Prowant experienced a very different season of "Floribama Shore"than her co-stars as they engaged in the usual booze-fueled antics. Being the sole sober cast member in the house, Prowant admitted she felt her maternal instincts kick in."I need to be grateful because filming this time around, while pregnant, really prepared me for motherhood," she told Us Weekly. "It's like I had six drunk kids at all times. I gotta make sure they stay alive."

On May 20, 2021, Prowant announced that her baby had arrived. In an Instagram post, the new mom shared a photo of herself, fiancé Gus Gazda, and new arrival Gray Allen Gazda — after "31 hours of labor,"she revealed. "He is completely perfect in every single possible way. We are so blessed!"she wrote in the caption.

However, that's not to say Prowant hasn't experienced some complications along the way. In a previous Instagram post, she told her social media followers that she'd been diagnosed withpolyhydramnios, a condition that theMayo Clinicdefines as "excessive accumulation of amniotic fluid,"meaning needed to be monitored closely for the duration of her pregnancy. And in September 2021, Prowant told Us Weekly that she has struggled with postpartum depression. "Motherhood is hard, but [I'll] get through it. ... I would suffer from postpartum depression every single day of my life if it means I get to have my son," she shared.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

There have been Floribama Shore weddings

Gus Smyrnios was among the standout personalities on "Floribama Shore," and he also stood out to Samantha Carucci. While her name may not have been familiar to viewers of the MTV hit, that was only becauseSmyrnios kept his romance with Carucci under wraps —unlike his previous romances, which unfolded in view of "Floribama Shore" cameras.

Smyrnios introduced fans to Carucci in September 2021.At that point they'd been dating for nine months, and he explained to his Instagram followers why he felt it necessary to keep this relationship out of the spotlight. "I've been super hesitant to put my love life out there for the world because my last 2 relationships were put on broadcast and my heart broke for people to watch them fall apart and watch me crumble,"he wrote. In January 2022, herevealedthey'd gotten engaged; that October, they tied the knot.

Smyrnios isn't the only "Floribama Shore"alum to get married. In November 2021, Nilsa Prowant took to Instagram to reveal that she and longtime love Gus Gazda were married. The couple's wedding was hardly a surprise, given that it came less than six months after the arrival of their first child together, son Gray Allen Gazda.

Floribama Shore was good business for St. Pete

Both MTV and the stars of "Floribama Shore"benefited from the show's success —and they weren't the only ones.According to a 2019 report in the Tampa Bay Times, Florida'sPinellas County —home to St. Petersburg, where the show was filmed —experienced some tangible economic perks from the show when filming moved there from its original home of Panama City.

In fact, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, a local tourism organization, told the Times that the show was not only employed dozens of residents, but apparently brought in thousands of hotel room bookings and millions of dollars to local businesses. Al Johnson, mayor of St. Pete Beach, said he didn't see any downside to his town's association with "Floribama Shore.""I'm hopeful, if nothing else, that people will know we exist, that it will put us on the map,"he said.

And it looks like the owners of the original "Floribama" house are trying to cash in on the show's popularity.As Creative Loafing reported in November 2022, one of the abodes where the cast lived hit the market. As of this writing, theasking price is at $3.7 million.

Floribama Shore was sent a cease and desist because of its name

Back in 2017, "Floribama Shore"hadn't even made its television debut when the fledgling reality show found itself at the center of a legal battle. As PageSix reported at the time, Viacom-CBS, parent company of MTV,was hit with a cease and desist letter. At issue was the title, however, not the show itself. The letter was sent on behalf of a restaurant situated on the Florida/Alabama border, boasting the monikerFlora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar, under the contention that because the restaurant had been using that name for years before the show, it had full legal right to use of the "Floribama" name.

"We've recently learned that MTV and Viacom are using our name and reputation to promote their latest 'reality' series, after approaching us in 2013 about the same," the bar's owners said in a statement toPage Six. "We've asked them to stop. They've refused ... There is only ONE Flora-Bama."

How solid was the claim?Shaky, according to a source who spoke to Page Six."It seems to be without merit, and that consumers won't confuse the show with the bar,"the insider said.

Floribama Shore emerged victorious after a years-long legal battle

After that initial cease and desist, the owners ofFlora-Bama Lounge and Oyster Bar refused to back down. In fact, they amped things up in 2019 by launching a full-fledged lawsuit against Viacom-CBS.As Alabama news site AL.com reported, the trademark-infringement suit alleged that495 Productions, which produced "Floribama Shore" for MTV, sent an email to the bar to float the possibility of shooting the reality series in the establishment. The bar's marketing director, however, made it clear that the bar wanted nothing to do with the show.

The suit went on to claim that the bar had become a popular establishment over the years, and contended that being associated with a "Jersey Shore"-like reality show would be damaging. "Among other activities, the cast of the show, as televised, takes part in binge drinking, public urination, and barroom brawls," the suit maintained.

It took a few years to wind its way through the legal system, but in late 2022Reutersreported that adecision had been reached, with the11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor Viacom-CBS. According to the ruling, there was no infringement of the bar's trademark under the First Amendment, since the word "Floribama"was used for an "artistic work."

A fifth season of Floribama Shore isn't likely

The fourth season of "Floribama Shore"concluded in late 2021. Given that the finale didn't tie up the cast members' respective stories, there was every reason for viewers to anticipate a fifth would be on its way. Sadly, that never came to pass.

According to an August 2022 report from TMZ, the wait for Season 5 promises to be a never-ending one. At that time, the outlet shared that MTV apparently decided to slam the brakes on "Floribama." According to the outlet's insider, the reality show's fate was being "evaluated" by the network;"FloribamaShore"was more or less plopped in awkward cancellation limbo. Sources also toldDeadlinethat the show had been put on ice.

Evidently, the cast was just as surprised as fans to find out that the network was through with the show. As TMZ noted, the stars of the series filmed what was presumably footage for Season 5 atNilsa Prowant's wedding in November 2021. Needless to say, this has us feeling all sorts of caddywhompus.

19 Facts About Floribama Shore, Reality TV's Wildest Show - Nicki Swift (2024)
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