Why Below Deck Sailing Yacht Didn’t Bring Jenna MacGillivray Back After Season 1

Jenna MacGillivray Below Deck Sailing Yacht

Jenna MacGillivray Below Deck Sailing Yacht

(Image credit: Bravo)

The first season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht had Bravo fans hook, line and sinker. It took the original premise of Below Deck and intensified it into a more confining space. Oddly enough, though, none of the crew (save the captain) returned for the highly anticipated Season 2, which premiered on March 1. Fans were left wondering, why was chief stewardess Jenna MacGillivray not brought back?

Ahead of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2 premiere, Captain Glenn Shepherd and executive producer Jill Goslicky revealed in an AMA on Reddit why Jenna MacGillivray did not come back. What it, essentially, boils down to is exactly what MacGillivray was accused of not having last season: professionalism. Goslicky said,

The short is answer - we absolutely wanted Jenna to have the staying power of Kate and Hannah. In our dream scenario, every cast member we bring on board is such a hit they carry on for seasons and seasons. I also genuinely loved working with Jenna - she gets a lot of flack on social media, but she truly was great to work with. I think if I’m being truly honest… Jenna got swept up in a boatmance… and I think in that way, she didn’t allow herself to shine and show how amazing she truly is.

The relationship between chief stew Jenna MacGillivray and chef Adam Glick on Below Deck Sailing Yacht was the key drama of the season. They would often make out in front of the crew and talk smack in private about them. Though it was often a little over the top, and not to mention nauseating, it made for great reality television as they isolated themselves from the group.

Captain Glenn Shephard reflected,

I think the situation with Adam [Glick] - they would have been better postponing getting involved until the season was done. If I can see everything happening between Adam and Jenna in real time, I would probably tell them to tone it down and focus more on work than their personal lives.

The assertion that Jenna MacGillivray’s boatmance is the reason why she didn't return for Season 2 sounds more like MacGillivray's own reason. Fans were critical of her emotional entanglements while working, but they no doubt have always loved a stone-cold chief stew with an attitude. Hannah Ferrier and Kate Chastain set this precedent on Below Deck.

Jill Goslicky said that when the Below Deck producers and Bravo discuss bringing back previous crew members, the main question is: “Do they have compelling reasons for their story to continue on in the show?” Jenna MacGillivray has the most compelling reason out of the whole first season crew to come back on the show. At the reunion show of Below Deck Sailing Yacht, fans awkwardly learned that the two lovebirds were no longer together.

A similar occurrence happened on Below Deck: Mediterranean. Stewardess Aesha Scott got hot and heavy with Jack Stirrup on Season 4, only for fans to find out about a brutal breakup that involved cheating with an ex-girlfriend. But she had the last laugh when she came back for Season 5! Then again, Scott maintained a hero's role throughout her season, not MacGillivray's villain one.

Jill Goslicky teased that there is still potential for a Jenna MacGillivray comeback story. She hinted at the fact that many times crew will take off and return in a later season.

As for Below Deck Sailing Yacht, the new season just started, with promises of drama, cheating, and COVID complications. Tune in to Bravo on Mondays at 9pm EST to watch.

Lauren Vanderveen
Movies and TV News Writer

Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.