This is How TLC Dealt With the Suicide of a Next Great Baker Contestant

Sgt. Wesley Durden died in late October from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. TLC did not announce his death until he was kicked off the show. His elimination happened on the fourth episode on the show, which aired on Monday night.

Durden’s death was announced with an “In Memoriam” that ran after the episode. It did not say anything about the cause of death. According to Eater, it also has a promo for another TLC show that displayed over it.

Some fans are upset with how it was revealed, while others think the channel handled the situation appropriately. When it comes to competition-based reality shows, there’s very particular ways you have to keep secrets…and in the case of a tragic death such as this one, there are even more producing technicalities to consider.

What do you think TLC should have done?

By Kiera Wright-Ruiz

Writer. Photographer. Cook. Not afraid of trans fat. Kiera lives for the things that inspire her to write -- food is one of them. She has a much greater appetite than just for good grammar. Her writing experience includes time at the Independent Florida Alligator, HOME Magazine and Foodbeast. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in journalism.

14 replies on “This is How TLC Dealt With the Suicide of a Next Great Baker Contestant”

As soon as I saw the memoriam statement, I knew something was up…hadn’t enjoyed the tone of the entire show based upon the usual humiliation theme that fuels most reality shows and potentially the world these days. So sad. These are real people with real feelings and real lives. Doesn’t Buddy and his family have enough money these days without needing to expand upon their empire at the expense of others’ dignity? Ugh. Hope they at least set up a college fund for the children. Can’t quite believe TLC and Buddy and family feel comfortable continuing with the show. Horrible news to hear on Christmas evening.

I think TLC handled this appropriately. Apparently, his untimely death needed investigation and respect for the family’s privacy is priority. Wesley appeared to be a good man. This is a travesty but I don’t see how this would ne buddy fault. Im sorry. I disagree. Its a reality show. That’s all. I think buddy and his family are have good intentions. I enjoy watching them. My thougWhts an prayers go out to. Wesley family. Hope u all have a happy holiday, Leslie NC

Food for thought…My husband and I just saw this show yesterday. Our first impression of Buddy was that he was rude and arrogant. I stand by that. You can get your message across to someone without acting like he does. He and his family are the most classless individuals I have seen in a long time. I get this is a reality show. However, was it worth all of this? You say he is not responsible. I look at it this way: I was not in Iraq with him and I don’t know what he went through, but I don’t see how this was a positive experience for him.
If you research this bakery of Buddy’s deep enough as I did today you will find many negative reviews from not just occasional customers but long term customers as well. Hair in the food, rude behavior, cancelling wedding cake orders at the last minute, promising one price and then giving another are just a few examples. Now, it seems to me that he is not in ANY position to be judging how anyone else bakes. I would rather eat a cake made with a mix fixed by a decent person than a fancy cake made by a rude, conceited person any day of the week.
Buddy’s family most certainly should set a fund up for Wesley’s kids if they have an ounce of decency. My heart goes out to Wesley’s family. As far as Buddy goes, someone should splat him right in the face with a cake. Now there would be something to watch.

I was extremely surprised. I dvr’d the shows just tonight & watched for the 1st time. It saddens me … He had a future, but understandably he was affected by the war. Let us all remember every soldier that comes home, & Let’s keep this from happening. Our deepest condolences go out to all who knew & loved him.

First, my condolences to the family for losing a good man, husband, and father !!!    Suicide is always very hard on everyone close to the person !  I am so very sorry this happened.
TLC handled it the best they could have, I think.  Those of us who wanted to know more, are here finding out the truth.  He was so young, and talented, and I do believe his experiences in Iraq were the main problem, even though I didn’t know him. 
This is a very sad story, indeed.

Joline Cosman, Burlington, VT

TLC handled this awful tragedy as best they could.  He seemed like an absolutely wonderful man.  When I saw his final episode and the tribute, I grieved for someone I felt I knew a little about.  My heart goes out to his children.

it is sad of what he did.He seemed like a strong man that can handle anything!I wish that his kids and family feel better and that they know it is going to be okay. I also want to send a shout out to Buddy from cake boss and the next great baker… nicer buddy they don’t need ALL that screaming they just need some help on their cakes remember NOBODY’S PERFECT                                                          

p.s. i am not saying u caused the suicide buddy.  just be nicer 

its buddies fault!!!!!!!!!! that crazy buddy ugghhh i hate this show now i hate buddy wesley was the next great baker u mofos thats so sad its all buddys fault he died of suicide cuz buddie didnt think he was good minverva should have gotten kicked off!! i hate her and buddy so you know what i might sue you just for wesley because we looved him and to us he will always be the next great baker in our hearts you should end the show because of that sooo yea we will always love wesley ton us hes the next greatest baker

It’s not buddy’s fault,, you act as if buddy knew Wesley was going to commit suicide. And I really don’t think he committed suicide because He got kicked off the show.

i always believed in wesley and always will he should have won because he fought for us he saved our lives and what does buddy do bake cakes and saves nobody!!!! he just makes them fat like the wesley would be alive if it wasnt for buddy and his stupid show i am so sorry for wesleys family and i hope they all get along and live happily and always have wesley in there heart like i always will i believe in his family and if you are wesleys family member reading this i want you to go along go on that show and win for your dad your husband or your brother and i hope you will always remember him as a great man 

Hello i am 13 years old and my father passed away March 6, 2011. i no how it feel to be left behind like wesleys wife and kids, i know how it fees to no that he is not coming back. My father also committed suicide i know just how bad it freakin sucks. After death i have had to see a therapist and and many other personal doctors. My whole life changed 🙁 new house, new school, new personalities. My entire family changed my mom went from so peaceful to so stressed, my sister only comes to our house only 2 days a week sometimes less, and my two other sisters and my brother i have never met until March 23, 2011. My dad had a dream to bring my family together. PLEASE if you are reading this Durden family then please no that he did not mean to do you any harm and if he were still hear i bet that he would tell your the same thing and that he loves you. You guys didn’t do anything i assure you. I am going through the same pain i give you my full condolences and i no for a fact that that dosent make anything ay better but still i hope you can get through this happily and i hope that all the changes you go through are not bad changes. Live Long Happy Lives

I feel really really bad. I was literally crying after I watched this episode. No guys it’s not Buddy’s fault, it’s just a reallity show, why the **** would anyone commit suicide because they got kicked out of a tv show. Like really would you kill yourself because of that? He should’ve stayed, but it’s all a certain someone’s fault. *cough cough* MINERVA ! I HATE HER!!!!!!! She should’ve gone home. Well, anyways he’s The Next Great Baker in my heart like most of you said. (: and I wish the best for his family & friends. R.I.P Wesley Durden 🙁 you’re in a much better place now.

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