'Jersey Shore' scoop! Co-creator talks season finale, going to Italy and spin-off plans -- EXCLUSIVE

Jersey-Shore

It’s been another wild and ratings record-breaking season of MTV’s Jersey Shore. Below, co-creator and executive producer SallyAnn Salsano (a Long Islander who spent summer weekends partying at Seaside Heights herself) exclusively spoke to EW to answer our burning questions: What’s coming in tonight’s finale, what we should expect when the gang goes to Italy next season, and why one planned Shore spin-off will be like The Hangover and the other will be like Laverne & Shirley. Let’s get to it:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ronnie and Sammi’s epic fight was the showstopping moment of the season. As the producer, what was your reaction?
SALLYANN SALSANO: I spent more time with Ronnie crying than I know what to do with, and I had to drink enough water so that I didn’t dehydrate. I genuinely love these kids and I get attached and involved in their world. As it’s all going down, it’s as real as it gets. I’ve been at that age where nobody can tell you what to do. We’ve all been in that relationship, or had a friend in that relationship, where they need to come to that realization on their own and there’s nothing you can say or do. They’ve seen [their behavior] on TV, Sammi saw him in Miami, they show up in Seaside, the same stuff is going down — at some point you say, “All right, she likes this.”

Do you find it difficult to maintain a balance between being a producer on the show and advising them? On one hand, it’s great drama for TV, but on the other, I’m sure you get to the point where even you’re like, “You guys aren’t right for each other.”
You guys see seven minutes of [fighting] a week, I’m seeing 14 hours. And what I’ve found is once you say something out loud you’re on the hook for it. So it’s not so much advising them as sometimes throwing it out there as a question during the interviews: “How did this go down? How do you see it? How do you think I see it?” And sometimes by them talking it out, then it becomes real. Their feelings for each other are so strong that it sometimes overrides right and wrong.

Can you talk about the decision for Sammi to leave and come back? The impression I got from watching the show after Angelina left is that there’s a rule that once you go you couldn’t return.
No. With Angelina it was different, because she wanted to go at the end of the first season and then in the second season she wanted to stay, but she literally didn’t have a friend in the house. At some point you have to look at what’s organic to the story — you don’t stay in a beach house with a bunch of people who don’t like you. With Samantha, she needed some space, she needed to get away and be with her mom. At the time she really didn’t know if she was going to come back or not.

After some initial drama, Deena got along well with everybody for the rest of the season. Was that a good thing? Will she be back?
Yeah, all signs point to Deena to coming back. The intention was for her to get along. In season one, Deena called Snooki all the time. Snooki — what I would call “four ex-boyfriends ago” — spent two summers with Deena at the Shore hanging out. There’s a long history there.

Are you going to add any new cast members next season?
No, we’re happy with our cast.

What do you think of The Situation saying he’s only going to stay on the show another year and then he will do movies?
I honestly wish nothing but success for all of them. You just gotta do the chicken and the egg theory.

Between the backed-up toilet, Snooki’s poop talk, the underwear, it’s been a very scatological season. Was that too much or just being realistic?
It’s what they’re like. They waited five days to call Danny to fix the toilet. I wouldn’t wait that long personally, but, you know, it’s not my house.

What do you think about the commercials starring cast members of Jersey Shore airing during Jersey Shore?
That’s not up to me. It doesn’t matter what I think.

I thought you might have an opinion about it.
I think the cast is very good when they are themselves in [the show's] setting, and that’s where they shine.

Let’s talk about going to Italy next season. What do you think that will do for the show?
I think it’s going to be fun. Just getting them there will be an entertaining thing to watch. I have fun watching them go to a grocery store in America. I think there everything will be fun. Communication will be funny. It’s a culture that they’re interested in, and I think it’s probably different than they think it is.

Do you have a sense of the popularity of the show over there? Will there be hoards of gawkers like at Seaside or will they be able to skate a bit more under-the-radar?
You don’t know. I was shocked in Miami how crazy it was in season two. I don’t know what to expect. The show airs in Italy and does well, but I don’t know the culture, whether it’s the same to just show up and stand outside [the house].

Will they have jobs in Italy? And with them being financially well off, does it get a little odd to have them working a summer job on the show?
I’m not planning on changing the show at all, just changing location. Everybody can relate to the summer job, and at the end of the day they haven’t really changed as people and they all come from working families.

Spin-off update. The Pauly D show is about him working in the clubs — is that finished?
That was so much fun. I never laughed so hard in my life. Both [the spin-offs] feel very different from Jersey Shore. If you’re a fan of the Shore you’ll still like them, but they don’t feel like rip-offs. It’s funny to see them in their own world. It’s Pauly in the clubs and his home-life with his best friends, his posse. His head of security, his manager — those are his childhood buddies that helped him get his first gig at sweet 16. This guy is getting paid $50 grand a night to DJ and he’s still got his same people around him. It’s awesome. You know when you watch a bunch of guys who’ve known each other forever razz on each other? Like in The Hangover? That’s what they’re like all the time.

And the second one, starring Snooki and JWoww?
That’s another one we were in stitches the whole time. I always call it Snooki and JWoww Save the World. It’s just letting them loose in the regular universe. JWoww wants to move out of her house where she lived with her boyfriend, Snooki has to get out from her parent’s wing, so they move in together — we’re not buying them a house. It’s real. They’re really buying it. This is all new to Snooki — buying toilet paper, and paying a bill — things that seem normal to you and I are completely foreign to Snooks. The two of them alone is completely hysterical. They have a Laverne & Shirley kind of thing.

MTV is also deciding whether to renew Skins, which, like Shore, confronted controversy during its first season. Any opinion on whether MTV should renew it?
I’m like a 14-year-old girl: I watch the network as a fan. I like the show. I’ve never been a network executive and I don’t know all of the millions of things that go into those decisions. But for me personally? I’d love for it to go on.

Can you tease to the Shore finale?
Everything you thought about every person comes true. You see everybody’s true colors in a good and bad way. You’ll see some resolution. Normally, the last episode is getting everybody out of the house and saying goodbye. But this episode ties up some loose ends. And then for the [March 31st] reunion, stuff has completely changed. There’s definitely new video, and Ronnie and Sammi are an interesting segment to watch, and there’s interesting stuff with Snooki and Vinny. Sometimes in a reunion it’s just a recap, but this time you’ll get new information that connects the dots, and there’s a lot of stuff that ends up coming out.

Read more:
‘Jersey Shore’ recap: The Decline and Fall of the Everyman
‘Jersey Shore’ going to Italy for season 4: Where should they invade next?
‘Jersey Shore’: 20 Most Outrageous Moments

Comments (56 total) Add your comment
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  • Mr. Holloway

    I wonder why Deena got such prime positioning in that unholy collage. I guess whoever put it together “likes da boobz.”

    • Mr. Holloway

      I also enjoyed: “I think the cast is very good when they are themselves in [the show's] setting, and that’s where they shine.”

      What a splendidly roundabout way of saying that Ronnie’s Xenadrine commercial is a hilarious disaster.

      • tracy bluth

        Yeah, that was pretty awesome.

      • Mike

        Oh goodness, this producer has the best job in the world. Endless laughs, and constant reminder of sense of worth…

        Pauly D making $50 grand a gig though?!? Holy @#$%

    • James Hibberd

      “Unholy collage”? I must defend! Requested a collage that looked like “Drew Struzan doing a Jersey Shore season three poster” that captured ronnie/sammy fighting, dealing with the toilet and Deena being added to cast, and our art dept. totally delivered. Such things are, of course, subjective, but I think it’s hilariously awesome.

      • Mr. Holloway

        (Whoops, sorry for the double post.)

      • Heather

        Agreed. It is pretty spectacular.

    • Karate Pants

      “Unholy Collage” LOL!!!
      Pauly D’s crazy eyes should have been more prominent than Deena’s…mess.

    • LOL

      Honestly, why would anyone ever watch this?

      • tylena

        We watch it cuz they r very very entertaining… I love and enjoy watching these kids!!! They crack me up.. And iam a 41 yr old mother, i see my kids in each an every 1 of these kids.

    • Reema

      Haha, I was wondering the same thing! It’s usually Snooki that they have front & center. But I think an image of Sammi straightening her hair in front of the mirror should have towered above everyone

    • Grignac

      I think it’s the exact opposite. The pics of Ron/Sam/Vinny/Snooki/Pauly are from the actual season. The pics of Sitch, Jenny, and Deena are from other promo pics.

      It’s more like: “Oh yeah Deena’s in this show too.”

      • Lizette

        i love jersey shore its the best reilaty show that mtv has came out with my favorite it goes n order like this ronnies my fav then comes paulyd then vinny then situation.and for the girls snookis my fav then sammie then jwoow then deena but i love u guys all the same

    • The Meatball Sauce

      I love that little meatball! She’s just like Snooki, only I am not afraid to touch her (my main fear of touching Snooki is that I will contract syphilis). Watching Deena play in around in the box was television gold.

      • Mr. Holloway

        You mean her spaceship?

      • anonomous

        that was totally uncalled for what you said about snooki

      • Erick

        That was hilarious! I’ve never waehtcd Jersey Shore, but I have seen a trailer, which was bad enough to make the eyes water. Unfortunately, the TV bods in the UK just had to go and make their own version. it’s called Geordie Shore (natch). I think it aired on MTV. The natives of Newcastle are shaking their heads in sorrow and shame.

  • Adam S.

    Great interview.

    • JackieB

      I agree, they asked the perfect questions (especially #1 and 2 about Ronnie and Sam). I really liked what the producer had to say about the relationship, because that’s so true – no one can tell them to break up, they have to realize it on their own. And 14 hours of fighting a week? Lord.
      The only thing is… shouldn’t the producer make Ronnie stay home for 1 season? It’s obvious they are in an abusive relationship (Ronnie’s pushed her, destroyed her belongings, screamed within 1 inch of her face) — I feel that Sam will never, ever be able to move on when they LIVE together. Trust me it’s hard enough when you DON’T see the ex. Maybe if they spent 1 season apart she would gain her strength and confidence back and be able to move on. It just doesn’t seem responsible letting them remain in the house this way.

      • Stephen

        That would ruin the show. This cast all has chemistry together, and quite frankly this show is starting to burn out. If anything they need another person on the show, Ronnie and Sammi fighting is always awesome to watch and it is one of the most entertaining parts of the show

  • JS

    I just send many thanks to the powers that be over at MTV that there is no Situation spin-off…After the Trump Roast im surprised he would show his face again. Whattadoosh.

    • Heather

      It is laughable he thinks he can be a movie star. He should ride the Jersey Shore train as long as he can.

  • Liz Lemon

    Lol. I can’t believe I actually watch this and even worse I actually love it. It’s not like other reality shows. You can tell it’s not scripted. These people are being themselves 100%. The conversations are not staged. I think that’s why they’re interesting to watch and why the fights are so insane. But Ronnie and Sammie need to break up and stay broken up forever. I can’t take it anymore.
    But them adding Deena has made the show so much fun. She’s got great chemistry with all the cast mates. Love this show. lol. I can’t wait to see them in Italy.

    • Karate Pants

      Liz, the fact that you enjoy Jersey Shore (as do I) as mindless entertainment fluff should give you pause next time you feel like freaking out on Twilight fans. Fluff CAN be fun, and it’s okay! Just sayin’.

      • Heather

        The main difference is Twilight fans take that sh*t seriously. They DO NOT look at it as fluff.

      • Karate Pants

        Oh, most of us DEFINITELY see it as fluff.

      • Mike

        Lies Karate Pants, lies. I have empirical proof to prove it, too, just not on me. But it’s there.

  • tracy bluth

    This is actually a pretty great interview. Although I slightly hate myself for actually enjoying this show so much.
    I can’t believe the season is ending- I’m going to miss Darren’s recaps way too much!!!

    • Heather

      Darren’s recaps are awesome. They will be missed.

  • Fog cue

    When’s that stupid Asian version of Jersey Shore called K-Town going to air?!

  • MaRz

    Ronnie and Sam abusive relationship is now being given another season of the Jersey Shor in Italy. Seriously, how can the MTV and the producers of the show think that emotional,mental, and physical abuse is entertainment. Why don’t they put in a disclaimer that they at MTV , does not condone any type of abusive behaviour, (with exception of drinking, catching STDs,etc). Must we endure watching the Italy season with Ronnie and Sammy cruel and sad co-dependency.

    • Lean Cuisine

      I agree with you — it’s a strange country. Ron and Sam are going to hole up in their room and fight all. the. time. They should make them get separate rooms and maybe even a separate house for Ronnie. Sammi would so grow on her own.

      • Gustavo

        Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I in fniidng It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to provide one thing again and help others such as you aided me.

  • Chris

    I’m a fan of the show but there were some bits that were obviously staged. But I am looking forward to the spinoffs. I love JWoww and Snooki and as long as Vinnie stays off of Paulie D’s show I’m good. That guy is beyond not interesting.

    • Liz Lemon

      Yeah. Now that I think about it. There are definitely staged moments like the part with the ball on one episode this season and I’m still not convinced that Snooki and Deena didn’t know that cab was taking them to NY.

  • Sanity

    Why in the world can’t this magazine ever just say, “This is crap and we’re not going to write about it?” Hell, there are shows watched by far more people, and far smarter people, that you DON’T write about.

    • Vince from NYC

      Quiet Troll! If you don’t like then don’t read and certainly don’t comment..

  • WifeBeatnPusCeater

    I want Snooki gagged and fu cked from behind by the hole gang! That would be awesome. Crocodilly should even get a strap on and join the fun!

    • ew

      the hole gang sounds like a pretty terrifying group of sodomists

    • mmb

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA i love crocodily

  • Claude

    Hoards of gawkers? or Hordes of gawkers?

  • ununfriended

    Jersey Shore. It’s like porn, but dirty.

  • susan

    i like the interview, but find it sooooooo weird that the producer keeps refering to them as kids, when they all look like they are in their late 20′s (at least!). they are adults, who act like teenagers.

    • @susan

      Here are their ages:
      Pauly D–30
      Situation–29
      Ronnie–25
      Vinny–23
      Snooki–23
      JWOW–25
      Deena–23
      Sammi–24

      • Martin

        dude!! it was crazy! I saw it in the preview and i was shkeocd!! I also watched it in slow mo and it looked like it hurt! It hasnt aired yet, but it seeing the preview after todays episode, it looks like it is going to air next week.. i can’t wait!!

  • Christian

    They need to get rid of Rammi, Vinnie and Deena and add some new guidos and guidettes to freshen the show up!

  • Joselin

    I love dem their cool i wil love to meet them

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