Reality shows started out being fun and enjoyable but when they turned violent and shady, it turned off a lot of people from watching the reckless TV programming.
But sooner or later TV networks and production companies had to handle death on these shows. Someone related to the show commits suicide or dies unexpectedly, and the big question is do they glamorize it or downplay it so as not to be too controversial?
When Shain Gandee from MTV’s Buckwild was found dead in West Virginia earlier this month, the network immediately halted production of the reality show. Gandee, his uncle and another man died of carbon monoxide poisoning after their truck got stuck in the mud and toxic fumes seeped into the vehicle.
There was speculation that the show had resumed filming following the death but just days after Gandee’s funeral, MTV cancelled the second season that it was touting earlier this year after a hit first run of the show.
A rep for the show said, “Given Shain’s tragic passing and essential presence on the show, we felt it was not appropriate to continue without him. Instead, we are working on a meaningful way to pay tribute to his memory on our air and privately.” MTV ran the first season of the controversial show as a tribute to Gandee.
Before the memorial service sources close to production said the funeral would not be filmed despite producers paying for the event.
The mayor of Charleston previously called for the show to be cancelled. Danny Jones made headlines after he pointed out that two previous cast mates had already been in trouble with the law and that the show isn’t giving the small Southern town a good reputation. Jones said, “I’m relieved and happy the show is cancelled, and so is everyone around here. The show does nothing for us and exaggerates every negative stereotype about us.”
While one reality show death was not highlighted, one is.
Singer Jenni Rivera was killed in a plane crash last December and as part of the latest season of the reality show I Love Jenni there were six episodes filmed prior to her death. In the final season of the show viewers will also see the impact the singer’s death had on her family and also how they mourn.
It begs the question: if your life is lived on a reality show, should your death be broadcast or is that off limits?