The Ten Most Scandalous Reality Shows of All Time (So Far) 

Last Updated on November 4, 2022

There are three types of audiences when it comes to TV drama and scandal: those who love it and thrive on the controversy, those who hate it but can’t look away, and those who see it and change the channel. Many of TV’s most talked-about reality shows are specifically geared toward the first two types of people, and if you’re one of them, you’ll love this list of the ten most scandalous reality shows so far. However, if you’re in the last group, keep reading anyway, and you may find yourself intrigued enough to check these shows out for yourself!

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

Aside from the obvious scandal and general distaste for forcing children to do tricks in frilly outfits while a group of adults judges them on how cute they look, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was one of those shows that everyone knew about, even if they never watched it.

During the two years it was on-air, the show seemed to mock lower-class families and anyone from the south, and, in the words of many millennials today, it was super cringy. The show was finally brought to a close when the mother started a relationship with a rather unsavory partner, and the studio decided to bow out before the scandal became too damaging.


Hailing from Denmark, Blachman was deemed the “most sexist show in history” and still holds that reputation since it was canceled after only one season in 2013. This show was comprised of two men: the host, Thomas Blachman, and a different male guest in each episode. The show had a woman in a bathrobe that displayed her naked body to the men, and the men spent the show discussing her figure and judging her based on her physical attributes.

The conversations would typically gravitate towards gender roles and the man’s place in the world and nearly always turned into a chauvinistic display of manhood. Gross.

My Husband’s Not Gay

This show clearly missed the memo when the world said, “It’s okay to be gay.” In My Husband’s Not Gay, camera crews followed Mormon couples around and documented the clearly romantic affection and desire some of the husbands showed toward other men. However, since these men didn’t act on these desires physically, they were seen as heterosexual by their wives and community, who expressed strong implications that being gay would be wrong.

This show was so widely frowned upon that a petition containing over 100,000 signatures had it removed after only one episode.

The Bachelor

As an ongoing reality TV series, one bachelor has 25 women competing for his love and, ultimately, his marriage proposal. This one man gets physically intimate with each woman during the course of “dating” each of them, and the women are eliminated one at a time based on the bachelor’s personal preferences and interactions during these dates.

While some think the show is romantic, any man who tried this in real life would be dumped on the spot. Additionally, the controversy between the women as they compete for one man’s engagement ring leaves much room for scandal on and off camera.

Sister Wives

While it’s common knowledge that other religions and beliefs exist worldwide, Sister Wives makes a spectacle of polygamy and polyamorous relationships. The show attempts to show the daily lives and goings-on of a polygamous marriage, but instead, it reveals the scandal and airs the dirty laundry of anyone trying to live a normal life in their own polyamorous relationship. The show begs for scandal from the outside world, and some even describe the patriarch as a cult leader.

The Moment of Truth

Based on the premise of bringing scandal and controversy out, The Moment of Truth has contestants being asked numerous questions while undergoing a polygraph test. While the lie-detector show has the opportunity to be fun and entertaining, the questions became increasingly personal and even destroyed a marriage at one point. For example, contestants were asked, “Have you cheated on your spouse” or “Have you been fired for stealing money at work?”

The results were so controversial that even the host didn’t want the show to air.

Teen Mom

The scandal surrounding this show was and is endless. It glamorizes teen pregnancy while giving teen moms fame and popularity. The show ended up encouraging many teens to get pregnant, so they could be featured on the show in its early years. Thankfully, the show began showing the difficult parts of motherhood, too, so teen pregnancy numbers have decreased among viewers.

Fear Factor

A show based on contestants facing their deepest fears and phobias had every opportunity to be encouraging and empowering. Unfortunately, Fear Factor went in the opposite direction in its broadcast and bordered on the edge of torture. Contestants were dropped into the water and had to not panic and drown or were asked to eat live roaches or raw animal brains. Between the potential need for therapy and the animal welfare questions, the show was canceled after only a few seasons.

Born in the Wild

When the premise of a show centers around whether or not a mother and her newborn will survive the birthing process, the potential for scandal is pretty apparent. Born in the Wild documented mothers giving birth in the middle of the wild, unassisted by doctors, modern medicine, or even a source of clean water. With the lack of sterilization, the potential risk to the newborn took them back to medieval times and may have resulted in later infections and illnesses. The mothers wouldn’t have had to worry about this, however, if showrunners had, at least, considered bringing along a doctor.


Nothing screams “scandal” or “trashy TV,” quite like airing your dirty laundry out for the world to enjoy. Cheaters followed the Cheaters Detective Agency as they followed partners suspected of cheating on their significant others. Sometimes this entailed the cheater being monitored and tracked, and other times a staged situation was set up to catch the cheater in the act.

The show thrived on controversy so much that one of the “detectives” was stabbed during a confrontation with the cheating partner. Later investigations, however, proved that the arrest shown after the stabbing was staged, which made the show appear to be less reality TV and more of a poorly scripted act.

Is that really all of them?

There are so many poorly made reality TV shows that narrowing them down to a top-ten list is challenging. These are the most scandalous, drama-filled reality shows we’ve found thus far, but we’re sure there are plenty more train wrecks to come!

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