BREAKING NEWS
OK LogoPHOTOS

50 Moments That Defined Reality Television

Pretty woman toddlers

Jan. 28 2015, Updated 2:11 p.m. ET

Link to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to Email

Was there a time before reality television? If so, we don't want to remember it. These moments shocked and awed us, made us laugh and cry, and will go down in history as the most iconic scenes in reality TV.

Article continues below advertisement
Ruthie RW

The producers break the fourth wall on Real World: Hawaii to stop an alcoholic cast member, Ruthie, from getting behind the wheel while she's drunk.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson is crowned the winner of the first season of American Idol, leading to her career as one of the most successful pop stars on the planet.

Article continues below advertisement
Eva the diva

Combative Eva "the Diva" Pigford becomes the first of many memorable competitors on America's Next Top Model.

Article continues below advertisement

verne

Verne

On the appropriately titled vh1 show The Surreal Life, petite actor Verne Troyer drunkenly urinates on the floor while riding his motor scooter.

Article continues below advertisement
Amber Gary

Teen Mom star Amber Portwood attacks her boyfriend Gary on the show, and the footage leads directly to the local police investigating her home and placing her under arrest.

Article continues below advertisement
Rat snake speech

Sue Hawk gives an unforgettable speech about the snakes and rats during the first season of Survivor, encouraging the Jury to let the snake (Richard) eat the rat (Kelly) and win the game.

Article continues below advertisement

snooki

Snooki

Snooki gets sucker punched in the face during the first season of Jersey Shore, leading to a bonding session amongst the cast. It also led to this guy losing his job!

Article continues below advertisement
Lauren Conrad Mascara Tear was slowed down for The Hills

Lauren Conrad lets a blackened mascara tear escape on The Hills, a moment that is inseparable from the series.

Article continues below advertisement
Jon and kate

Audiences watch as the titular couple in Jon & Kate Plus 8 go from loving to squabbling to thinly veiled hatred over the course of the season. They eventually divorce.

Article continues below advertisement
Bridal Plasty

After plenty of reality shows examine the before and after of plastic surgery, a new low is reached with the competition show Bridalplasty, which pits brides against each other in a battle for surgeries.

Article continues below advertisement

slap

Slap

Stephen slaps Irene on Real World: Seattle as she's moving out of the house, leading to his own dismissal from the loft.

Article continues below advertisement
Pedro rw

Pedro Zamora reveals his positive HIV status on Real World: San Francisco, becoming an icon for the illness and bringing awareness to the issue.

Article continues below advertisement
The osbournes

The wacky, warm, weird Osbourne family let cameras into their home, opening a Pandora's box of future voyeuristic family shows.

Article continues below advertisement
Khloe DUI

The Kardashians love putting their crazy family out there on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but the show took a brutally real turn when Khloe dealt with a DUI.

Article continues below advertisement
Susan Boyle

Why do we love singing competition shows so much? Because every once in a great while, a talent appears like Susan Boyle's, on Britain's Got Talent.

Article continues below advertisement
Grandma Fake Death

Jon Dalton earns the nickname Jonny Fairplay when he fakes his grandmother's death to elicit sympathy on Survivor.

Article continues below advertisement
Elizabeth hair

Long before she hosts The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a fan favorite on the second season of Survivor, where she is so starved she actually loses her hair.

Article continues below advertisement
Finales the hills

Landmark MTV reality show The Hills ends with a shot of Brody Jenner on a set, suggesting the show was fake the entire time.

Article continues below advertisement
JT Punkd

Punk'd has a simple formula—watch celebrities freak out—and its genius was solidified in the first season, when Justin Timberlake got so upset he cried.

Article continues below advertisement
Joe millioniare

Dating shows get a whole lot more devious with the advent of Joe Millionaire, a show where women competed to win the heart of a millionaire... who turned out to be a plumber.

Article continues below advertisement
Teresa flips table

Teresa Giudice flips a table on the season finale of Real Housewives of New Jersey, and a reality star is born.

Article continues below advertisement
Simple life

Before she was the darling of the fashion world, Nicole Richie artificially inseminated a cow on The Simple Life.

Article continues below advertisement
Pretty woman toddlers

A mother dresses her child in a Pretty Woman-themed costume on Toddlers and Tiaras, seeming to forget that means she's wearing a prostitute costume.

Article continues below advertisement
Morgan laguna

While most of Laguna Beach focused on the love triangle drama with Kristin Cavallari and Lauren Conrad, a better, realer moment was when cast member Morgan learned that she had been rejected from her top choice of college—the only one she applied to.

Article continues below advertisement

kourt

Kourt

Is anything off limits for the Kardashians? Kourtney Kardashian pulled out her own baby on television—twice.

Article continues below advertisement

tyra

Tyra

Tyra Banks completely loses her cool on America's Next Top Model, screaming at one of the contestants.

Article continues below advertisement
Chicken of the sea

Jessica Simpson cements her numskull reputation when she asks husband Nick Lachey if she's eating chicken or tuna because she doesn't get the "chicken of the sea" concept.

Article continues below advertisement

pumkin

Pumkin

Contestant Pumpkin spits in the face of New York on Flavor of Love.

Article continues below advertisement

luanne

Luanne

The Countess LuAnn de Lesseps chides Bethenny Frankel for introducing her to a driver without using her full title on Real Housewives of New York.

Article continues below advertisement
Mike fire

Michael Skupin passes out and falls into a fire on Survivor, becoming the first contestant to have to be medically evacuated from the island.

Article continues below advertisement
William hung o

William Hung provides the most memorably terrible audition in the history of American Idol.

Article continues below advertisement
Kenya moore video 3

Kenya Moore gives the catchphrase to end all catchphrases on Real Housewives of Atlanta when she declares herself "Gone with the Wind fabulous."

Article continues below advertisement
Kyle and kim fight

Sisters Kim and Kyle Richards finally let their long-standing sibling rivalry overtake Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, with a drunk Kim inexplicably screaming, "You stole my god d*mn house!"

Article continues below advertisement

omorosa

Omorosa
Source: Getty

Omarosa Manigault becomes the first in a long line of reality TV villians we love to hate on the first season of The Apprentice.

Article continues below advertisement
Alexis neiers

Alexis Neiers makes constant phone calls to Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales to let her know her disappointment in her expose, on Pretty Wild.

Article continues below advertisement

diddy

Diddy

Diddy breaks up the actually very successful band, Danity Kane, on Making the Band just because he doesn't like the girls' attitude.

Article continues below advertisement
Gut you

Groom Charlie threatens to gut his limo driver on his wedding day on True Life: I'm Getting Married.

Article continues below advertisement
Marcel head shave

Contestants forcibly shave the head of Marcel on the second season of Top Chef, leading to charges of hazing.

Article continues below advertisement
Real world tv

Producers bring an otherwise contraband television set to the home on the Real World: Chicago to show the cast the unfolding events of 9/11.

Article continues below advertisement

tumblr_m8g3zpnpgb1ql5yr7o1_400

Tumblr_m8g3zpNPGb1ql5yr7o1_400

Honey Boo Boo is introduced on Toddlers and Tiaras, giving America one of the funniest reality characters of all time.

Article continues below advertisement

tumblr_m7wjveefz71r4ghkoo1_400

Tumblr_m7wjveEFz71r4ghkoo1_400

NeNe Leakes unleashes the all-time best romantic advice ever on the Bravo network during a reunion for Real Housewives of Atlanta.

Article continues below advertisement
Ali justin

Ali Fedotowsky confronts contestant Justin Rego on The Bachelorette to accuse him of having not one, but two girlfriends at home. Whoops.

Article continues below advertisement
Bachelor workds

The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise finds actual lasting romantic success in the the pairing of Trista and Ryan Sutter.

Article continues below advertisement
Donkey sperm

In one of the absolute grossest challenges on gross-out show Fear Factor, contestants are forced to drink donkey semen.

Article continues below advertisement

tumblr_lpq6v2pl4n1qdhz1m

Tumblr_lpq6v2pl4n1qdhz1m

Psychic Allison DuBois creepily puffs an e-cigarette after telling the women she knows how they will die on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Article continues below advertisement
Cptn phil

Captain Phil Harris suffers a pulmonary embolism and dies on Deadliest Catch.

Article continues below advertisement

alifedotowsky

AliFedotowsky

Ali Fedotowsky didn't just have to deal with a guy with a few girlfriends at home—she also had one creep-o contestant get a giant tattoo on his wrist to represent their (non) relationship.

Article continues below advertisement
Celeb rehab
Source: Getty

A whopping four cast members from Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew pass away from complications of their addiction.

Article continues below advertisement
Nev schulman catfish season 2 finale

Shocking even Catfish host Nev Schulman, a girl admitted she was catfishing someone... and then finally met her beau and learned he was lying, too. Young love!

Article continues below advertisement
1016_andy cohen 4_ob

Teresa Giudice forcibly pushes Andy Cohen over during a reunion for Real Housewives of New Jersey, proving that not even an executive at Bravo is safe.

Advertisement

Want OK! each day? Sign up here!

© Copyright 2022 OK!. A DIVISION OF EMPIRE MEDIA GROUP HOLDINGS LLC. OK! is a registered trademark. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Cookies Policy. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services. Offers may be subject to change without notice.