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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

10 Dangerously Real Moments in Reality TV

Tyra Banks, Steve-O, and Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi (Getty Images) Reality TV shows are often more "show" than "reality," but there are still some programs that manage to offer up real, completely unscripted moments that leave audiences stunned. Whether it's a fainting contestant, a life or death battle with mother nature, or a chainsaw accident, sometimes reality television can get just a little bit too real. Read on to learn about 10 of the most dangerously real moments in reality TV.

1. Mythbusters: Cannonballs Away

Damage from the 'Mythbusters' cannonball ('Contra Costa Times'). MythBusters likes to push the envelope on wild science experiments, but in 2011 one experiment went dreadfully wrong. A rogue cannonball plowed through a family home in Northern California, hitting the roof of another house and eventually crashing through the window of a minivan. Luckily, no one was hurt. “We had some tremendous bad luck and some tremendous good luck,” a Mythbusters safety expert commented after the incident.

2. Deadliest Catch: Fishing for Injuries

'Deadliest Catch' (From Discovery Channel) Deadliest Catch, the Discovery Channel series about the men who work in the dangerous field of commercial crab fishing, has featured numerous work-related injuries over its nine seasons. Crew members have been swept overboard, hit on the head by chunks of falling ice, and injured by various pieces of fishing equipment. During the first season, the Big Valley vessel sank in the Bering Sea, killing five members of the six man crew. Talk about truly real reality TV...

3. Jersey Shore: The Punch Heard Round the World

'Jersey Shore' (From MTV) During the fourth episode of MTV's Jersey Shore, pint-sized guidette Snooki got punched in the face by a guy at a bar. The clip immediately went viral and skyrocketed Jersey Shore (and Snooki herself) into superstardom. Under pressure from domestic violence groups, MTV eventually cut the punch from the Dec. 17, 2009, broadcast and aired a PSA about violence against women after the episode.

4. Survivor: Fire Fainter

'Survivor' (From CBS) Survivor takes place in a remote location and features contestants hunting for food and engaging in various physical challenges, so it makes sense that it has racked up a fair amount of injuries. Contestants have suffered from infections, leg injuries, dislocated shoulders, and much more. During Survivor: The Australian Outback, contestant Michael Skupin became the first contestant ever to be evacuated after he fainted into a fire and suffered severe burns to his hands.

5. America's Next Top Model: Model Down

'America's Next Top Model' (From CW) America's Next Top Model hasn't produced too many real models, but it has created some intense reality TV moments. ANTM Cycle 4 contestant Rebecca Epley fainted during the judging panel thanks to a malfunction with her vagus nerve. The judges and the other model wannabes freaked out as Epley's body stiffly crashed onto the floor, and she was immediately rushed to the hospital, where she quickly recovered and rejoined the show the next day.

6. Fear Factor: Rat Retch

'Fear Factor' (From NBC) Fear Factor hasn't led to any specific contestant injuries (unless you count the intense shame they must feel after eating cockroaches and live worms), but it has resulted in a viewer injury. A man from Ohio sued NBC for $2.5 million in damages after an episode featuring a rat smoothie (YES, A RAT SMOOTHIE) caused him to become so ill that he ran into a wall and vomited. The suit was eventually dismissed.

7. Wipeout: Contestant Tragedy

'Wipeout' (From ABC) During filming for the ABC game show Wipeout, 33-year-old Tom Sparks began to complain of knee pain and shortness of breath so producers pulled him from the competition. He was transferred to Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, where he died two weeks later of a stroke brought on by an existing medical condition. Wipeout conducts full physical screenings of all its contestants but Sparks' medical condition — a fairly rare disease called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome — was not detected by the show's doctors. ABC offered a statement of condolences after Sparks' passing. "We offer our heartfelt condolences to the family. This is a tragic loss and our thoughts are with them at this time."

8. Surviving Nugent: Clumsy Chainsaw

Do not give this man a chainsaw. (From VH1) Musician and all-around wackadoo Ted Nugent had a short-lived VH1 reality show called Surviving Nugent: The Ted Commandments, in which he took city dwellers like Tila Tequila to his ranch and taught them outdoors skills like how to skin a boar and build an outhouse. During one such lesson on the great outdoors he injured himself with a chainsaw, which resulted in 44 stitches and a leg brace.

9. Wetten Dass?: Stunt Gone Wrong

'Wetten Dass?' During a live broadcast of a popular German game show a contestant was severely injured during a stunt that went terribly wrong. Samuel Koch, 23, was attempting to jump over a moving car driven by his father on Wetten Dass?, but the spring stilts that he was wearing malfunctioned and he fell onto the floor of the stadium. Wetten Dass? immediately cut the live feed (for the first time in the show's 20-year history) as the motionless contestant was rushed to the hospital with multiple back injuries and fractures. Koch is a permanent paraplegic as a result of the on-air accident.

10. Killer Karaoke: Drenched Disaster

Killer Karaoke' Jackass star Steve-O is used to injuring himself in the name of reality TV, but now he's being sued for an incident that occurred during the taping of his upcoming reality TV series, Killer Karaoke. The show features contestants singing karaoke while being distracted by various diversions and contestant Susanne Ohman was repeatedly doused with water while she tried to sing. This caused the floor of the studio to allegedly become dangerously wet, and when Ohman tried to leave of the stage she slipped and fell on the steps, fracturing her tibia, patella, knee, and other bones in her legs.

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