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When you think of Below Deck it would be pretty hard to imagine the series without mainstay Captain Lee Rosbach, however, it turns out he was never actually supposed to be on the show.
That's right, the Stud of the Sea wasn't part of the initial cast – in fact, they had their very own captain ready to take the wheel – Lee just came with the boat.
Producer Mark Cronin told Metro that the original captain had a captain's licence, but apparently didn't have enough hours out on the sea for it to be safe.
"We got down there and Lee let us know that that was not the way it works in yachting, that just because you have a captain's licence does not make you qualified to run a charter yacht, and take 150ft yacht off the dock, anchor it and bring it back to the dock. You need real experience, you need real time on the boat," he explained.
"Aleks [Taldykin] didn't have any of that, he just had the licence. We realised that Lee was right, that this wasn't going to be safe and we'd be in danger if we let somebody who didn't have enough experience handle the boat in this kind of situation."
Lee offered to sail the boat but have Aleks be the frontman for the cameras, but bosses quickly realised that wasn't going to work. That's when they approached Lee to see if he fancied being on the telly after all.
"Bravo wasn't really big on it, they were like, 'Oh God, we're a channel that's trying to be young and attractive,'" Cronin continued.
"I was like, 'Guys you don't get it, Lee is a silver fox. I think every woman in America is going to love him. He's the real deal!'"
He was right, of course, because Captain Lee proved a big hit, with Cronin admitting with him around looking out for everyone (and not being afraid to scold) it makes it much more like a family.
"He is the real captain, that's really the way he is, that's really the way he runs his boats. It's almost like a father figure," he said. Captain Lee has appeared on every season of the show to date.
He added: "In this way, you had this family structure, where there really was a patriarch and he wasn't going to go out drinking with you, but you were going to have to answer to him if you weren't able to do your job after doing that.
"That dynamic is perfect, it really worked well."
All seasons and every episode of Below Deck (including the new season 8) will be available to stream and download in the UK and Ireland on hayu and hayu on NOWTV from Tuesday, November 3, following its premiere on Bravo on Monday, November 2.
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