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Mexican police probe slaying of TV producer's wife

April 8, 2010 |  3:52 pm

Bruce Beresford-Redman is a successful reality TV show producer, and his wife, Monica, owned a popular Brazilian nightclub and restaurant on the Westside.

Over the weekend, the couple left Los Angeles for a trip to Cancun. Family members said they were trying to repair a marriage that had been fraying in recent months.

Then on Tuesday, Beresford-Redman reported his wife missing. He and Mexican authorities launched a search. On Wednesday night, he was optimistic in an interview with a Los Angeles television station. "I'm very hopeful someone will find my wife very soon,” he told KCAL-TV Channel 9. “She still hasn't been located and we're looking.”

On Thursday, police found her body in a sewer at the resort where they were staying. Mexican prosecutors said she appeared to have been strangled.

Beresford-Redman has been detained for questioning and is a suspect, authorities say.

Beresford-Redman, who grew up in New Jersey, found a great deal of success in reality TV in recent years.

He worked closely with Mark Burnett, the executive producer behind CBS’ hit "Survivor." Beresford-Redman helped produce the fourth season of the series, set in the Marquesas Islands, which premiered in 2002. For season 6, "Survivor: Amazon," he was promoted to a supervising producer, a senior role charged with overseeing a show’s creative direction and the work of lower-ranking producers. He performed the same task for an all-stars edition of "Survivor" in 2004.

With longtime friend Rick Hurvitz, Beresford-Redman went on to create "Pimp My Ride," a reality hit about car restoration that ran on MTV from 2004-07. The show was broadcast in more than 100 countries and at one time was the network’s highest-rated show internationally.

In 2007, Beresford-Redman and Hurvitz were selected to develop and produce unscripted TV shows for IMG Entertainment, a division of the sports and media conglomerate. More recently, they formed a production company called Mindcrime, which developed a stunt-driving show for ABC called "Crash Course." [Update, 3:54 p.m. The show aired four times] However, the series never aired.

Burnett’s office referred calls Thursday to CBS, which declined to comment. [Update, 3:54 p.m.: MTV declined to comment]. An MTV representative could not be reached for comment.

Monica Beresford-Redman is  the owner of Zabumba Bar & Restaurant on Venice Boulevard in Palms. The restaurant is known for serving Brazilian specialties like tri-tip steak and for hosting lively salsa, reggae and bossa nova nights.

-- Kate Linthicum, Jeff Gottlieb and Scott Collins in Los Angeles, Ceclia Sanchez in Mexico City