Reality show scandals that rocked the world!


On Monday July 20 at 20:45, Lifetime’s new show UnREAL launches on DStv (Channel 131).  Starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, this provocative drama series is  set against the backdrop of the fictional hit dating competition show Everlasting. UnREAL is led by a young producer whose sole job is to manipulate her relationships with, and among, the contestants to get the vital dramatic and outrageous footage that the programme’s dispassionate executive producer demands. What ensues is an eye-opening take on the outrageous world of unscripted television, where being a contestant can be vicious and being a producer is a whole other reality.

Most viewers know that what they see on reality TV isn’t 100% true. It’s shaken, stirred, recut and rehashed to make the most excitement and drama out of regular lives. But what of those “real” reality shows that have astounded, surprised or outraged us?  Every now and again a scandal breaks in the world of reality TV, proving that we’re still able to be shocked by the genre.

Check out the six biggest reality show scandals EVER.

Who Wants to Be A Millionaire

We thought he was a genius – seriously, we were convinced that this calm (albeit sweaty) dude was coasting to victory on the pure power of his enviable brain cells. Until he won £1 million! They reviewed the tapes, and realised that a member of the audience was coughing in order to direct him to the right answers. FRAUD. SCANDAL. INTRIGUE. WE LOVED IT!

SA Big Brother

A contestant on this year’s South Africa’s Big Brother series was expelled from the show following allegations of sexual assault. According to the broadcaster, it was not exactly clear what transpired between the pair but they acted by removing both individuals from the house.

Project Runway

In series 3, contestant Keith Michael was caught with pattern-making books, despite the fact that they’re forbidden from a show that trades on the individuality and adaptability of its contestants. He later complained that he’d been hard done by, but nobody was having a bar of it.


Jon Dalton, who ironically called himself “Jonny Fairplay”, pulled a fast one on his fellow cast mates during season seven of the US’s Survivor. To gain sympathy, he had a friend come to the island and tell him that his grandmother had died. Jonny broke down in tears as he was consoled by his competitors. It was later revealed that he had constructed the plan before filming began and that his grandmother was still very much alive.

Pretty Wild

Pretty Wild was a show slated to become the next Kardashians – until one of the three daughters in the show, Alexis Neiers , was found to have been a part of the Bling Ring, the group of teens who broke into celebrity homes and stole their pretty things.  (Update: Neiers pleaded no contest to felony burglary charges and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, of which she served only 30. She also got three years’ probation and had to pay a fine of $600,000 (to Orlando Bloom!))

South African Idols

After the fifth season finale in which Sasha-Lee Davids of Cape Town was announced the winner, the 3 000 strong-crowd of mostly Jason Hartman supporters began to boo as Davids belted out her winning single.  But a few days later M-Net disclosed that Hartman was the rightful winner. Seems the votes had been miscounted, resulting in a miscalculation that excluded the 200 000 more votes Hartman received. It was  decided to declare both as winners and the pair became the first ever double winners of the show in the world.

So any scandals and outrageous behaviour during the filming of UnREAL’s fictitious show Everlasting?  Plenty!  But you’ll have to tune in to Lifetime on July 20 at 20.45 to find out more!