×
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Reality TV shows canceled because of an idiot mistake

Whether or not you enjoy Big BrotherSurvivor, or Keeping Up With the Kardashians, there's no denying that those reality shows have figured out a winning formula when it comes to sticking around for years and years. Things can go wrong on set all the time, and when dealing with regular amateurs instead of professional actors or experienced showbiz vets, that risk is even greater. When reality TV does something brainless, it really goes above and beyond. Some of those stupid disasters — the kind that a well-seasoned momager like Kris Jenner would have never allowed to happen — have been enough to land an entire series on the cutting room floor, never to be rebooted again. From photo leaks to failed background checks, these seven series all got canceled due to an idiot mistake.

Pretty little lawbreakers

It isn't easy keeping up with the Kardashians, which Alexis Neiers and her family found out the hard way while making their reality series Pretty Wild, which ran for only one season in 2010. The show followed Alexis and her sisters Gabrielle and Tess Taylor as they lived in Hollywood. Their mom, former Playmate Andrea Arlington, stepped into her momager heels and tried to launch modeling careers for the girls. The show was packed with drama: Alexis was arrested for participating in the infamous Hollywood Bling Ring, and jailed for robbing Orlando Bloom's house, all in the first episode! While the legal trouble so early on should have been something of a red flag, the clincher came later when photos were leaked of Alexis and Tess smoking heroin. The show was canceled for good, and both girls attended rehab. 

This story does have a happy ending, both girls are now sober, and Alexis is actually working as an addiction recovery counselor. In an interview with VH1 in 2015, Alexis explained how important her work with young, abused women is to her current mental health. "My intention isn't to fix them or help them," she said, "but to talk to them and really hear them. I acknowledge their feelings and relate to them. I just go there out of love. I learned that helping others helps me. My heart is working with young, addicted moms."

Armed and foolish

You'd think the only idiot mistake in a show called Armed and Famous was the premise: training celebrities to be police officers, and actually making them do the job while being filmed for a TV show. The stupid doesn't stop there, though. The 2007 series starred Erik Estrada, La Toya Jackson, Jack Osbourne, Jason Acuna, and Trish Stratus as the famous officers in question. It isn't easy learning how to be a cop, however, and Estrada in particular lost his cool with a suspect that kept referring to him as Emilio Estevez, according to E! News.

Unfortunately for all parties involved, the show was canceled after just four episodes when a woman filed a lawsuit against CBS Broadcasting for $1 million. Apparently the famous cops had ransacked her apartment looking for two suspects before realizing they were at the wrong address (oops). Ultimately, however, the network also cited the show's low ratings as part of the reason for the cancellation.

Background check optional

After several forays into reality TV, Megan Hauserman finally landed a gig as the star of her very own reality series, Megan Wants to Marry a Millionaire. The point of the show? Seventeen different financially suitable bachelors vied for Megan's attention each week, and she eliminated them one at a time.

When Megan eliminated 32-year-old Ryan Jenkins, there were no hard feelings, she told People. The pair even managed to stay in touch after the series. Jenkins wound up hastily marrying swimsuit model Jasmine Fiore a few days after Hauserman sent him home from the competition — and after only 48 hours of knowing Fiore herself. Tragically, in August 2009, Fiore's murdered body was found, and Jenkins was the primary suspect. He eluded the police for weeks, and was eventually found in his motel room, having hanged himself.

According to ABC News, Jenkins already had a record of violence toward women when he appeared on the show — he'd assaulted his previous girlfriend, Faern Jewell, in 2007. The producers of Megan Wants to be a Millionaire said they were "reviewing all vetting procedures" after discovering they had allowed a man with a violent past onto the series, but the show was quickly canceled after the news of Jenkins' murder/suicide. "I try not to think too much about all this," Hauserman told People. "But it's hard not to. This was such close call. Jasmine and I could have been interchangeable."

Extra naked dating

There's nothing quite like stripping contestants of all their clothing to raise the stakes on a reality series. This was the simple concept behind VH1's Dating Naked. Contestants disrobed down to their birthday suits and went on "dates" such as sipping cocktails by the pool or engaging in some light mud wrestling. Romantic, right?

Although the participants needed to bare it all during filming, they were apparently promised that their breasts and genitals would be blurred out when the show aired (bums were fine to show, though). Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of the blurring made a grievous error during the July 31, 2014 broadcast. Then-28-year-old model Jessie Nizewitz was wrestling with her date on the beach — as you do — when viewers noticed a clear flash of her crotch area. According to Entertainment Weekly, Nizewitz quickly became the target of ridicule across social media, and filed a lawsuit against VH1 owner Viacom along with two of the show's production companies on August 19, 2014. Unfortunately for Nizewitz, Deadline reported that the case was dismissed in March 2015 — suing Viacom was a violation of Nizewitz's contract.

While Nizewitz might not have been vindicated right away, eventually the Parents' Television Council, who were staunchly against the show, managed to wrestle 90 percent of Dating Naked's corporate advertisers away from the series. The show was canceled shortly after its third season in 2017, with poor ratings cited as one of several reasons for the decision.

Dropping the deuce

Reality stars have to wade through a lot of crap before finding the right series to launch their careers. In the case of Trish Schneider, that meant literally. Schneider competed in season 5 of The Bachelor, and although she didn't wind up with a rose from Bachelor Jesse, she did manage to snag a deal participating in E!'s reality series Kill Reality, which followed 12 former reality stars as they filmed horror movie The Scorned together, all while living in the same house and filming a reality series about making said horror movie.

Among the other players was former Survivor contestant Johnny Fairplay, who had a reputation for causing trouble with elaborate "pranks," which Reality Blurred explains were pretty much just destruction of other people's property. In the final episode, after Schneider pranked Fairplay by taping all of his stuff to the ceiling, Fairplay decided to one-up her. Or rather, number two her. Fairplay defecated in Schneider's bed and was promptly asked to leave the show, although he didn't go without a fight. While he argued that his contract should protect him from being kicked off the series, producers reportedly told him, "We didn't think to put in the contract, 'Do not s*** on another cast member." Live and learn!

The multi-millionaire that wasn't

In the first — and only — season of Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire, 17 women competed to win the affections of the allegedly wealthy Rick Rockwell, entering various contests lifted straight from beauty pageants, including the infamous swimsuit competition. Rockwell judged each of the women, while the women themselves never even saw his face. In the final episode, Rockwell chose ER nurse Darva Conger to be his lawfully wedded bride; she saw Rockwell's face for the very first time during their on-camera, legally binding wedding ceremony.

Producers ran a background check on Rockwell covering the previous seven years of his life, but that turned out to be insufficient. The Smoking Gun reports that Rockwell's ex-fiancee had filed a restraining order against him 10 years prior for domestic abuse. What's more, it turns out that Rockwell may not have even been a millionaire at all. According to the New York Post, he had only $750,000 in liquid assets. A network exec claimed that the combined value of his real estate holdings did add up to $2 million, but she wasn't sure whether executives had verified the authenticity of that property or whether it was mortgaged.

The program had gotten such good ratings that it was originally going to be rebroadcast on February 22, 2000, but after this news surfaced, the network decided to pull the plug. "Fox has become aware of information regarding Mr. Rockwell's past," the network said in a statement. "In light of that new information, the network feels that to rebroadcast the special would be inappropriate, and consequently we have removed it from our schedule."

Funeral fail

If you thought the world of funeral homes was an untapped treasure trove of reality gold, well, there might be a reason for that. In 2014, Lifetime was set to produce Good Grief, a reality series that centered around Dondre and Rachel Johnson, the owners of the Johnson Family Mortuary in Fort Worth, Texas; however, the series wound up six feet under before it ever got off the ground. On July 15, 2014, the landlord paid his tenants a visit and discovered eight rotting bodies hidden beneath the funeral home. When reporters and paparazzi showed up, Dondre initially told the spectators, "That's great advertising, because in a few days from now we'll be on a reality show so I want all this media."

Ultimately, according to CBS, Dondre Johnson was found guilty of theft for stealing money from customers and neglecting the bodies of their loved ones, and sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Unsurprisingly, the network pulled the plug. "The program featuring the Johnson Family Mortuary has not and will not air on Lifetime," said network exec Les Eisner. "The allegations are deeply troubling and our thoughts and prayers go to the families affected by this situation."