Ryan Golembeske pursues the things that scare him the most. With that in mind, the veteran reality-television producer is set to chase monsters, both personal and legendary.
Golembeske has been on the West Coast working in television since he graduated from URI. Through Press Play Productions, which Golembeske co-founded with business partner Jenna Arnold, he created the hit show Exiled! for MTV.
His next project is Monster Brothers, in which he and his brother Josh—a director/editor for MTV—will travel the country in search of various monsters, including legends like the New Jersey Devil and Bigfoot.
Monster Brothers also will portray how the brothers deal with personal issues, such as the recent separation of their parents after 32 years of marriage.
“It’s powerful, touching, and exciting,” Golembeske said. “On one hand, we are going to these locations, hoping to find monsters. On the other hand, what are the monsters in our own lives? Many people will relate to what we are feeling. Yet we are still presenting something fun and exciting.”
With Exiled! Golembeske got viewers to identify with spoiled, wealthy American teens sent to live for two weeks with indigenous families around the world.
In his pilot episode, Golembeske brought a young woman to live with a tribe near Amboseli National Park in Kenya. After flying to Nairobi and driving six hours through pothole-ladened paths, the crew was greeted by an African boy whose face was covered with flies. The boy didn’t blink as the group approached, even when a fly walked directly across his eyeball.
“I was out of my comfort zone, so imagine how a rich teenage girl from a pampered life was feeling,” Golembeske said. “We show how that person can grow and become compassionate in a short span. We are a reality-television nation, but we can use that in a way that helps people.”
—Shane Donaldson ’99