‘Jersey Shore’: Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino’s Audition Won Over Producers With This 1 Move

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino was once the least-liked member of MTV’s Jersey Shore franchise. Though Sorrentino has done a full 180 (the comeback is always greater than the setback, right?), his former self certainly wasn’t what one over the producers during his audition — it was something else that had never been done.

Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino and Paul ‘Pauly D’ DelVecchio in 2018 | Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino was the first person to be cast for ‘Jersey Shore’

When Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano began casting for the show, Sorrentino wanted to audition right away. Prior to the development of Jersey Shore, the show was a VH1 reality competition show titled America’s Biggest Guido, which is what initially attracted so many auditions.

Back in 2008, Sorrentino was attempting a career in underwear modeling, though he wasn’t having much luck. When a friend told him about the audition, he was interested. “Someone told me that VH1 was trying to do a show about guidos from the East Coast,” Sorrentino told Vulture. “It was supposed to be a Challenge-type show at first. I did the pilot.”

Sorrentino took his shirt off and won over producers

Sorrentino’s audition differed from the rest; his confidence led the way into securing him a position on the show. Salsano revealed that Sorrentino entered the audition room and immediately told the producers, “Let me take my shirt off.” It was surprising, but it worked.

“I have never in my life met someone that felt more comfortable upon not knowing you,” Salsano said. “Having casted a million of these, we had never really seen anyone do that before.” Ultimately, the producers liked what they saw in Sorrentino’s looks and attitude, and he became the first-ever cast member.

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Sorrentino’s comeback has made him a fan favorite

During Jersey Shore’s run, Sorrentino quickly developed a reputation for being the least likeable in the house. He was constantly causing drama between housemates, talking about people behind their backs, and acting out at all times.

Sorrentino eventually opened up about his battle with drug abuse and how it made him act a certain way; he went to rehab and became completely sober. Sorrentino later married his college sweetheart, Lauren Pesce, and has become one of the most-liked cast members on the show’s spinoff series, Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.

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The show became ‘Jersey Shore’ upon choosing the location

Sorrentino, who was raised in Manalapan, New Jersey, proved to fit in even better once the show’s location was announced. When Salsano was searching for the perfect spot to film, New Jersey came to mind. “It was like zebras in the Serengeti,” Salsano said. “We wanted to see this in action. Where does that happen? The Jersey Shore.” 495 Productions, Salsano’s production company, settled on Seaside Heights, New Jersey, which was known for its guido-filled beaches and bars.

Salsano wanted to feature women on the show, too, and it began to stray from its original “best guido” plot to become a reality show featuring a bunch of guidos and guidettes spending the summer in the guido capital of the world. When the show’s network was switched from VH1 to MTV, the idea was reinvented to become Jersey Shore.