Reality shows often push the envelope, and not always in a good way. Some shows are so egregiously scandalous it’s hard to understand how they got green lit in the first place. Here are ten of the most scandalous reality shows. Some are older ones you remember watching (and cringing). But, several are still airing and one has even recently been shelved. Several of these shows became scandalous for the egregiously horrible off-camera behavior of the cast members, and the network ultimately had no choice but to shelve the show. No matter what, you probably love to hate all of these scandalous classics.
10. The Real Housewives of D.C.
Bravo’s Real Housewives of D.C. starred Mary Schmidt Amons, Lynda Erkiletian, Cat Ommanney and Stacie Scott Turner, but the true breakout star of the show was undoubtedly Michaele Salahi. What made the show so controversial? Well, Michaele and her husband Tareq, decided to crash a party at the White House and compromise National security for the sake of shocking television. What on earth is wrong with people? Well, it turned out that the show wasn’t simply scandalous, it was boring and borderline unwatchable. After just one season, The Real Housewives of D.C. was really cancelled. And if you’re wondering what ever happened to Tareq and Michaele – they got divorced and Michaele remarried Neal Schon of the band, Journey. Don’t stop believing, that Real Housewives of DC was an awful show…
9. The Swan
The Swan was a show from 2004, on Fox, that lasted just two seasons. As the title implies, they took women who considered themselves to be “ugly ducklings” and turned them into swans, through multiple plastic surgeries. Then, they participated in a beauty pageant for cash and prizes. Board certified doctors Randal Haworth and Terry Dubrow (who now is on Botched and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), headed up the surgical team. The show was not renewed for a third season because critics thought it was demeaning and in poor taste.
8. 16 and Pregnant
16 and Pregnant is an MTV show that features a new teenager every week who got knocked up, and is now the star of a reality show. In all seriousness, the show does not glamorize teenage pregnancy – from weight gain and being rejected by family and friends, to absentee baby daddies and tragic living situations with alcoholic and drug-addicted parents; these mamas go though a whole lot. The show sprung three spinoff series, Teen Mom, Teen Mom 2 and Teen Mom 3. Teen Mom 2 is still on the air and the original series, which ended in 2012, is coming back for an encore season in 2015. If you were wondering what happened to Teen Mom 3, the third time wasn’t a charm for this MTV series.
7. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
What could be more interesting than an obese moderately literate woman, who likes to expose her four girls from four different fathers (all of whom are convicted criminals)? That’s what TLC thought when they gave Honey Boo Boo (aka Alana Thompson) and her mother, June Shannon from Toddlers & Tiaras, their very own show. Straight out of the trailer to the small screen, America learned about how this wonderful mother fed her daughters the unhealthiest food ever (‘sketti, which is spaghetti with butter and ketchup) and gave them Redbull to drink. However, the show became really scandalous when Mamma June began dating a man named Mark McDaniel, an old family friend, recently out of prison for molesting her own daughter, Anna aka Chickadee. TLC realized they could no longer work with the family and pulled the show off the air, as soon as pictures of the happy couple were released to the public. There is a whole season that Americans will never see. June is currently being watched by child and family services.
6. The Anna Nicole Show
Anna, Anna, Glamorous Anna, Anna Nicole! In 2002, fallen star and former model, Anna Nicole Smith had a show on the E! channel depicting her crazy life. The show co-starred her lawyer Howard, who had a crush on her (it was unrequited), her lesbian assistant Kim, tiny Maltese Sugar Pie and reluctantly, her son Daniel. The show was a train wreck, depicting Anna as a complete drunk, drugged-out mess. But, Anna was completely hilarious and somewhat endearing. Soon after the show ended in 2004, her son died from a drug overdose and Anna died soon after.
5. 90 Day Fiancé
90 Day Fiancé is a newer show on TLC, which just premiered its second season. The show features ordinary folks who have fallen in love with foreigners. The couples have 90 days to get married in the US, or their K-1 visas will expire and they will have to leave. None of the couples have spent a lot of time together. Will 90 days really be enough? Some of the women clearly are mail order brides, engaged to very nice, easily manipulated men. However, the breakout couple of this season is Danielle and Mohamed. Despite a 20 year age difference and a huge disparity between their looks, Danielle acts truly in love with the man who is clearly scamming her. It only takes about 90 seconds for viewers to realize what is really going on, but it might take Danielle 90 days…
Buckwild was a “hicksploitation” show on MTV that lasted just one season. It centered on a group of young 20-something friends, living in the backwoods of West Virginia. After the show premiered to high ratings, despite public protest from viewers and West Virginia state officials, several cast members were arrested for drug related crimes and DUIs. Tragically, the “nice guy” on the show, Shain Gandee died of carbon monoxide poisoning, when his truck overturned after the show had finished airing. A second season was never produced. However, the formula for the show was so great, producers decided to re-tool the show, call it Slednecks and film it in Alaska.
3. Prison Wives Club
Prison Wives Club just made its series debut on Lifetime. Imagine the real housewives of the big house! The show centers on a group of women whose husbands are serving time for some pretty bad offenses, mostly murder and homicide. Two of the women were married to their husbands before they were incarcerated. The other two willingly began relationships with men in prison. Either way- it makes for a whole lot of drama around women who take being into bad boys way too far.
2. Megan Wants A Millionaire
Megan Hauserman, formerly of Rock of Love, wants a millionaire and she had 17 on the show to choose from, with a little help from her best friends. Sounds like a typical gold digger competition meets The Bachelorette. It was on until contestant Ryan Jenkins was questioned by the police for the murder of his wife, Jasmine Fiore after the third episode aired. Spoiler Alert: Jenkins killed her and himself. The rest of the season never saw the light of day and hasn’t been released on DVD.
1. Duck Dynasty
Another “Hickspolitation show”, Duck Dynasty which is still on A&E’s schedule, is about the Robertson family, who made a lot of money in the Duck Call business. The patriarch of the family, Phil Robertson made headlines when he said in a December 2013 GQ interview, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. B*****lity, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” A&E temporarily banned Robertson from filming, but shortly thereafter, reversed their decision. In October 2014, his son Alan compared America to Nazi Germany in a radio interview. A&E has yet to comment.