There are a lot of awful things in this world—Keith Morrison, egg salad, L.A. Candy—but as terrible as all these things are, you can always take comfort in the fact that most things could never sink as low as the reality show Cheaters. "That show, truly, is the worst thing in the world," you'd remind yourself each night before sinking into a peaceful slumber. (Nothing facillitates a restful night's sleep like identifiying the world's worst thing right before bed. It gives you a sense of order, you know?)
In case you're mercifully unfamiliar, Cheaters is a "Gotcha!"-style reality show, the "Gotcha!" here being: "Gotcha cheating on your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend! He/She is in that van over there! Loose the injured party so we can catch the expletive-ridden humiliation explosion on camera!" In one infamous episode, the smarmy host of Cheaters was stabbed by a cheating boyfriend after the boyfriend was caught with another woman on a boat and the Cheaters host confronted him. The clip of this episode is below. Sorry if it's just kind of a nauseating swirl of blurred-out faces, bleeps, yells, and humiliation. That's just Cheaters:
Naturally, no one felt bad about the Cheaters host getting stabbed on a boat by one of the people who he was trying to wring camera-ready humiliation from because, well, if anyone deserves to be stabbed it's the guy who makes a living by exploding relationships on film for some reality show that airs on G4, right? It's basically vigilante justice, and who doesn't love (the right kind of) vigilante justice? It was kind of cathartic because the audience of Cheaters was mentally stabbing their television every time the show oozed across the screen, anyway. We all willed it to happen.
But according to an article on The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed, that stabbing never happened. Apparently, it was all staged, as was most of Cheaters. Those cheaters never actually cheated. The wronged parties were never actually wronged. And, gulp, Gotcha! reality shows do not reflect reality!
From Inside Edition (via Live Feed):
But the best-known episode of Cheaters, the episode that put the show on the TV map, is the episode where host Joey Greco gets stabbed by an irate man caught cheating.
"So none of it was true?
"No," says Cassandra Terrazas, a Dallas hotel receptionist who says she was paid $350 for a few days work playing a woman who is caught having an affair with the man.
She was told the confrontation would take place on a lake located near Dallas. "It was all set up," she says. "They just rented a boat for us and we were supposed to be out like we were fishing and I was supposed to be sunbathing, and then they were going to come up on another boat and catch us."
The young man was immediately restrained, and Greco, blood gushing from his wound, was rushed back to shore where paramedics fought to save his life. A police car sped away, and the viewer is led to believe the knife-wielding cheater has been arrested and taken to the Rowlett Police Station.
But according to the police in Rowlett, Texas, that never happened. "There were no arrests at all during that time period for that type of crime," says John Ellison of the Rowlett Police Department.
According to Cassandra Terrazas the ambulance was rented, the blood was fake, and everything was scripted right down to the person who fell off the boat.
A scripted reality show? Is nothing sacred anymore? If we can't count on Cheaters to present us with real cheating, what can we count on? If a reality show about chasing down cheating spouses and confronting them with cameras doesn't have integrity, does anything?
More importantly, that smarmy guy hosted Cheaters for years and didn't get injured? Where is the justice?
Then there's this exchange between the hard-hitting Inside Edition reporter and the executive producer of Cheaters:
[Inside Edition]: "If the host of my television show was stabbed and I visited him in the hospital, I would remember."
[Exec. Producer of Cheaters]: "Listen, I visited Joey. My recollection is that he was very pale, very frail, very scared, but he was very courageous. But let me say this, if it was all poppycock, it sure did great in the ratings."
Ratings? Is that all Cheaters cares about? Here I thought they were just trying to destroy people's lives for our amusement.