Don't Miss Out, Sign Up Now!
Reality series thrive off of (mostly) unscripted drama and real-life issues, but sometimes off-screen incidents become just too controversial for a network to handle. Although there were rumors that Bachelor in Paradise was coming to a complete end after a scandal during the filming of season four, the series survived, but many others have not been as lucky. While reality TV might be one of the most popular genres on television, it is also the most scrutinized and some very serious situations have led to these shows getting the axe from their network. Here are 13 reality TV series that were cancelled after controversy:
Megan Hauserman made a name for herself on multiple VH1 reality shows before she landed own of her very own called Megan Wants A Millionaire. The show featured Megan dating many wealthy men in order to complete her dream of becoming a trophy wife, making it sort of a trashier version of The Bachelorette. Things took a very serious, dramatic and complicated turn, however, when one of the men on the show, Ryan Jenkins, was found to be a wanted murder suspect in the killing of model Jasmine Fiore. Shortly after the news broke, Jenkins took his own life and VH1 promptly cancelled Megan Wants A Millionaire as well as I Love Money 3 which Jenkins was also slated to appear on.
Since HGTV focuses on home renovations and property buying and selling, it has probably the least dramatic of reality shows, but that doesn’t mean the network is free from scandal or controversy. Following the success of Property Brothers‘ twins Jonathan and Drew Scott, HGTV lined up twins David and Jason Benham for their own series, Flip It Forward. However, shortly before the series was set to air, HGTV pulled the plug stating, “HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” after it had been discovered that David Benham had made several anti-Muslim, homophobic and anti-abortion statements in the past, specifically at a 2012 prayer rally.
In 2013, singer, music mogul and The Voice coach CeeLo Green landed his won reality series with The Good Life. The series was meant to follow Green and his friends living their lives of the rich and famous, but upon the series’ second season in 2014 Green became involved in a serious lawsuit where he pleaded no contest to a felony count of providing ecstasy to a woman in 2012, who claimed that, after getting the drugs from him, he raped her. If the situation wasn’t bad enough Green went on to tweet, “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!” which caused TBS to pull the plug completely on his show.
Following the phenomenal success of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the E! Network went on the hunt for next attractive semi-famous family to base a reality series off of and came up with momager Andrea Arlington and her aspiring model daughters Alexis Neiers, Tess Taylor and Gabby Neiers entitled Pretty Wild. After the pilot episode was filmed, however, a lot more drama began than E! had bargained for when Alexis was arrested for her involvement in the ‘Bling Ring’ group which had became infamous for breaking into the homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Although the network went ahead with the series and even included some of the trial in the first season, the legal issues overshadowed the show and it was cancelled.
CBS took a big risk when they went ahead with the series Kid Nation in 2007. The reality series featured a group of 40 children ranging in age from 8 to 15 being sent to live on their own at the Bonanza Creek Movie Ranch in New Mexico with minimal to no adult interference. The children were intended to see if they could work together and create a thriving community with no assistance from adults. Immediately, critics and viewers called the show “disturbing” and before long an investigation into the children’s wellbeing was launched with accusations that they were being exploited. Although CBS initially stood by their show, the negative reactions and low ratings caused the network to cancel the show.
Television fans are well aware that reality TV will try any angle to attract fans, but Oxygen’s 2013 series All My Babies’ Mamas never sounded like a good idea. The reality series starred rapper Shawty Lo and showcased his life as the father of 11 children whom he had with 10 different women. Immediately after the series was announced it was met with a negative reaction and a petition to cancel the show was started while others slammed it for perpetuating negative stereotypes. In response to the forceful and opposing reaction, Oxygen ended up distancing themselves from the show and cancelled it before it even aired.
Following childhood and teen fame together in movies such as The Lost Boys and License to Dream, things changed for Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, and in 2007 they entered the world of reality TV together with A&E’s The Two Coreys. While the problems they had faced in the past were all part of the drama, things went too fair when Haim, who was a recovering drug addict, relapsed in the second season. When Haim relapsed, Feldman refused to work with him until he was clean and A&E was forced to cancel the series with the final episode airing in August, 2008, two years before Haim’s death in March 2010.
Border Security was one of the most interesting yet controversial reality series when it debuted in 2012. While it gave viewers an inside look at what happens during entries to different countries, many also called into question the privacy of those being questioned or inspected. Following the third season of Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, the Canada Border Services Agency discontinued their involvement in the series after several complaints from those filmed and after the federal privacy commissioner found that the agency violated the rights of a person entering Vancouver.
There is no doubt that almost every angle has been taken when it comes to reality TV, and one very unsuccessful one was CBS and VH1’s Armed and Famous. The series followed celebrities Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Jason Acuna and Trish Stratus as they enrolled in the Police Academy of the small town of Muncie, Indiana, and served on patrol. After only four episodes, the series was brought to an end after Estrada (known for his role as Frank Poncherello in CHiPs) got into a shouting match with one of the suspects and another woman filed a $1 million lawsuit naming one of the defendants as CBS Broadcasting for wrongful entry and illegal search after they stormed her apartment and tore it apart looking for two people the woman didn’t know before they realized they were at the wrong address.
Paula Deen was one of the biggest names on the Food Network with her series Paula’s Home Cooking, but the network was quick to cancel the show after Deen gave a legal deposition in 2013 confirming she had used racial slurs. In the deposition, she admitted that she had used the N-word in the past and once stated that she wanted to plan a “plantation” style wedding for her brother. Even though Deen offered an apology, the network released a statement reading, “Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month.”
Following the surprising success of Jersey Shore, MTV wanted to capitalize on the premise by introducing Buckwild. As the “redneck” version of Jersey Shore, Buckwild featured a young group of friends living in West Virginia who made their own fun out in the middle if nowhere. Unfortunately, the series was plagued with scandals right from the beginning which included cast member Salwa Amin getting arrested following a drug raid a month after the series premiered. After the series was confirmed for a second season, tragedy hit when star Shain Gandee was found dead in his vehicle from carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 21. Although production was initially only suspended, eventually the series was scrapped completely after Gandee’s sudden death.
One of the most recent and most talked about reality TV scandals concerned the Duggar family of TLC’s hit series 19 Kids and Counting. After 10 seasons, as one of the network’s most popular shows, fans were shocked when reports indicated that the Duggar’s eldest son Josh had molested several underage girls when he was 15, two of which were his own sisters. While the scandal dominated headlines and Josh offered an apology, many were livid that TLC didn’t immediately cancel the show, but a few months later the decision was made. “After thoughtful consideration, TLC and the Duggar family have decided to not move forward with 19 Kids and Counting. The show will no longer appear on the air. The recent attention around the Duggars has sparked a critical and important conversation about child protection,” TLC said in a statement.
Over the years, TLC has had no problem pushing the boundaries of reality TV while also showcasing the lives of different kinds of people in America, and that included Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Despite backlash surrounding Toddlers & Tiaras, child beauty pageant contestant Alana “Honey Boo Boo” was given her own reality series along with her “redneck” family. After four successful seasons, however, TLC axed the series when reports found that Alana’s mother June Shannon was in a relationship with a registered sex offender. To make the matter even worse, the man in question had also allegedly molested one of June’s own daughters and yet she still resumed a relationship with him after her split with Sugar Bear.