It seems that recently, more and more people have been uncovering scandals about the shows on the Discovery Channel. Discovery Communications, the parent company of TLC, Animal Planet, and The Discovery Channel is probably used to just about every controversy by this point. While these things cause the cancellation of a show every once in a while, we can’t help but wonder why the Discovery Channel attracts these kinds of behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the most scandalous things that happened in Discovery Channel’s history.
Bear Grylls Got Fired
We don’t think there are a lot of things that Bear Grylls can’t do. However, he almost got fired by not putting in the work on anything other than Man Vs. Wild. As it turns out, he wasn’t completely willing to work on two upcoming projects by the network. Instead of letting him stay on the show that gave him his fame, they fired him after six seasons.
The Alaskan Bush People Are Not Alaskan
This isn’t the first time that this show has faced controversy. The truth is, the people on the show aren’t even Alaskan. To top it off, their old home was only 10 miles away from the town center. The family was given citations for false statements about the residency on their hunting and fishing licenses. They were living in Texas and Colorado before they moved to Alaska in 2012.
Alaskan Bush People Were Guilty Of Fraud
It looks like the people on the show can’t stop lying about their time in Alaska. Back in 2015, the Browns admitted they lied about living there to get government checks. Billy and Bam Bam both pleaded guilty to second-degree unsworn falsification. They claimed they were from southeast Alaska, giving full-time residents a lot of money to stay in the state from the Alaskan Permanent Fund Division. Billy said he got $7,956, and Bam Bam got $1,174. They both were sentenced to a month in jail.
American Guns Got Cancelled After Controversies
Discovery decided to make some money on the firearms obsession with this show. It followed the Wyatt family, the owners of Gunsmoke Guns in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. The very last episode aired in 2012 even though both seasons of the show got good ratings. It’s been said that the network canceled it because of gun-related incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Gunsmoke Guns Was Robbed After Show Cancellation
After it got canceled, the Gunsmoke Guns were robbed through a hole in the ceiling. The police didn’t know if it was done by one person or more, but the robbers got away with 3 rifles and 12 handguns. Plenty of news sources say it was such an unfortunate incident that no one could have been prepared for what happened to the family just a few weeks later.
Richard Wyatt Did Not Have A Gun License
Another thing that’s been found out is that Richard Wyatt didn’t have a permit to sell guns. Back in 2012, he somehow lost his Federal Firearms License for violating federal laws and regulations. He kept on selling firearms through a straw license that was owned by someone else. He was accused of changing the address of a different store to Gunsmoke’s. When a person would buy a gun at Gunsmoke, they were asked to go to Triggers and fill out all the paperwork there. It might seem like nothing more than a loophole, but in 2016, he got indicted for this.
Richard Wyatt Did Not Report $1.1 Million In Personal Income
Just nine days after the robbery at Gunsmoke Guns, IRS conducted a raid for tax evasion. The investigation began in 2010 when an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives found out that Wyatt might be hiding six fully automatic weapons without the right permissions. Wyatt failed to report $1.1 million in personal income from 2009 to 2012. On top of that, he was charged with filing a false tax return. He was found guilty of 10 felony counts.
American Guns Had Criminals For Clients
On top of everything, American Guns also contributed to the sale of a stolen firearm. In the finale of the premiere season, a man named Wylie Newton wanted to sell a $20,000 antique Colt Pistol. It turned out to be stolen from the New Mexico Museum. He almost got away with it, only selling it on TV wasn’t the best idea. When someone who knew about the robbery saw the show, they called the authorities.
Kim Ford And Stephanie Hayden Were Arrested Too
The Hayden family seems to be full of criminals. After her father was arrested, Stephanie Hayden Ford and her husband Kris Ford were arrested for cruelty to juveniles. They allegedly hit their 9-year-old son with a belt and caused him bruises. While Kris was thought to be the one to perform the act, Stephanie was brought in for being present at the time of the beating.
Cody Lundin Said His Dual Survival Co-Host Threatened Him
Dual Survival, a survival reality TV show, faced controversy when Cody Lundin sued the entire network. The lawsuit said the co-host Joe Teti threatened to kill him while they were shooting the show. Lundin claimed that producers wanted him to act like he was going crazy during filming. However, Teti was waving an ice ax and threatening to bury him in a Norwegian mountain. The second time Lundin was threatened was while they were in Hawaii. Teti threatened to use a spear to impale him. According to Lundin, Teti showed him pictures of the people he allegedly killed while in the CIA.
Naked And Afraid Helps The Contestants
The popular Discovery survival show suffered when contestants revealed that the show was more or less fake. On the show, a pair of survivors team up to live off nature for 21 days. Naturally, getting help from the crew would defeat the purpose. However, the Daily Mail said that the show fed a female contestant rice, bread, and even baby food after getting sick from eating a turtle. She was given IV drips as well to avoid dehydration. While this was all necessary to save her life, the show should have owned up to it.
Naked And Afraid Contestant Claimed It Was Scripted
In season 3, Honora Bowen and Matt Struzel competed in Brazil. While Matt finished the challenge, Honora needed to leave early due to heat exhaustion. She then wrote on her blog, revealing a few interesting things. According to her, she was instructed to start a fight with Matt to make things interesting. She said the producers went as far as coaching her about what to say about her background and father. As it turns out, she had a bladder problem, not heat exhaustion. She simply faked a medical issue to quit.
Visitors At Count’s Kustoms Were Not Impressed
Back in 2012, Counting Cars went on the air. The Pawn Stars spin-off followed the world of selling, buying, and customizing unique cars at an auto shop named Count’s Kustoms. Danny Koker was a car expert on Pawn Stars, leading him to get the show. People who went to the shop might have seemed happy on TV, but plenty of visitors didn’t feel that way. They found the location rather sketchy, and the merch was overpriced.
Not The Whole Picture
American Pickers is a show that stars Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe while they look for discarded items that are actually valuable treasures. The two also get help from Danielle, the store manager. In reality, a lot of things they find don’t even make it to the screen. The producers sift through the collections and pick the best items out of the finds.
Items Are Pre-Selected In These Shows
American Pickers and Pawn Stars are from the same network, so a similar protocol makes sense. Rick Harrison seemed to be friends with everyone, but he didn’t actually find the items on the show. Truth is, the producers already bought the valuable items and then planted them on set.
Restorations Are Not Up To Par
Another spin-off of Pawn Stars is American Restorations. It follows a team that attempts to restore old objects to their former glory. If you watch it, you’ll see the results of their hard work. However, fans noticed a few mistakes. One example is in an episode named ‘Secret Fan’. A viewer noticed the wheels on the restored go-kart were put on crooked. This made the kart wobble. Considering how much they charge for their services, it’s a good idea to go somewhere else.
Pawn Stars Rarely Go To The Store
This show is famous for its stars, Chumlee, Corey, Rick, and The Old Man. Before the cameras came around, they worked in the store regularly. However, that isn’t the case anymore. Nowadays, they hardly go to the store since the camera crew gets in the way with sales and customers. Now, they only go there to shoot.
The Show Is Staged
Plenty of the collections have been planted in American Pickers, so it’s worth it to check if there is anything else they did. They found collections and then sold the focal points off of them. When they did sell, they staged the negotiations. This isn’t much of a surprise since there is no way the seller would bicker with Mike and Frank every single time. The target price is always agreed on before the pickers even get there.
Man Did Not Get Eaten Alive
We all know that misleading advertising isn’t so uncommon. However, this is a serious offense that the Federal Trade Commission has specific guidelines. When the Discovery Channel special Eaten Alive aired, fans were furious when Paul Rosolie was face-to-face with a 20-foot anaconda. For months on end, the network said he would get eaten alive, but he was rescued by a team several hours later. However, the snake did swallow his head and nearly broke his arm. The network faced plenty of backlash for this.
PETA Spoke Out Against Eaten Alive
So many angry people online claimed the Discovery Channel had misleading advertising. So much so that PETA voiced its concern about the way Rosalie was allowed to put an oxygen-supplying helmet and a special carbon-fiber suit to torment the anaconda. They also said it would have probably killed the snake if it had swallowed the man alive. They released a statement, saying, “Shame on this pseudo ‘wildlife expert’ for tormenting this animal and shame on the Discovery Channel for giving him the incentive to do so.”
Mama June Went Out With A Child Molester
Another company owned by Discovery, TLC, faced plenty of controversy with Honey Boo Boo. Suddenly, the show was canceled when Mama June started dating a convicted sex offender. Mark McDaniel spent an entire decade in jail for molesting her daughter, Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell. He was accused of repeated sexual abuse when they were in the same bed. An apology was issued only after they broke up.
Chickadee Sued Mama June For Withholding Money
Even though the show was taken off the air, it still managed to find a way to get to the headlines. Chickadee sued Mama June and TLC for withholding a $201,000 profit from the show. She said her 2-year-old Kaitlyn was also owed almost $100,000. TMZ reported that the family made $22,500 per episode, which would be split among the kids. Mama June claimed that the money got directly deposited.
Swamp People Legal Woes
This show is about the day-to-day life of alligator hunters in Louisiana. It seems like a wild ride, but wait until you hear what their lives are like off-screen. Chase Landry, Nick Payne, and Jay Paul each have their own legal battles. Trapper Joe Lafont has the most serious one out of them all. He has a history of domestic abuse that began in 2012 and happened again in 2013 and 2015.
Changes Out Of Nowhere
Television shows, mainly reality shows, always have a risk of changing. It’s very rare for one to keep going with nothing changing along the way. After its 6th season, Swamp people went through a huge change. The shift started when 12 cast members suddenly were replaced. Not to mention, the History Channel never explained the reasoning behind it. Fans only found this out in the 7th season premiere.
Not That Off The Grid
People who watched Mountain Men got to watch a group of people looking for a simple way to live. However, viewers couldn’t help but feel somewhat tricked by the cast. After all, Jason Hawk runs an online store. Not to mention, Nancy and Tom Oar have cable. These things clearly show that it isn’t all that authentic.
Even Encounters Are Staged
We’ve learned about staged events from History Channel, but even the casual encounters aren’t as real as they want you to think. Those are also set up by producers. Most sellers are found and then scheduled when to appear on the show. Rick gets time to learn about the item, which makes it easier to talk with an expert.
Fritz Is Not That Invested
A lot of American Pickers fans might be convinced that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are both devoted to what they do. However, it turns out that they aren’t exactly treasure hunters who are passionate about antiques – at least not until they went on the show. Mike might be, but Fritz is another story. He’s much more interested in business and collecting.
His Questionable Views
When he’s out of his shop on the show, Counting Cars, Danny Koker isn’t afraid to share his political views. When he spoke to The Morning Show, he spoke about hybrid and low-emission cars. According to him, they were pretty much useless. Other than this, Koker openly supported Donald Trump during the presidential race. The network doesn’t want him to use the show for politics, but he doesn’t seem to care.
Hunting Is Misrepresented
When reality shows fail to live up to their names, it can be quite frustrating. Plenty of people called out the fact that a show about alligator hunting should be more honest. These same people also reckon that the alligators supposedly hunted on the show are dead beforehand. They also believe it’s common for alligators to be that large all the time. As you can see, only experienced hunters can see the authenticity of shows like these.
Poor Buying Decisions
One enjoyable thing about the show would be the negotiations regarding the price. A lot of people have no idea they’re already staged, but they’re still amused by the interactions between the staff and customers. Most of the time, the staff comes out on top with the deals. However, there still are times when the members of the cast make poor purchases. The cast has been open about these bad decisions. These mistakes can set them back as much as $10,000 at a time!
Chumlee And His Legal Problems
If you’re like most Pawn Stars fans, you might think that Chumlee is a vital cast member. His personable approach to the job charms most of the fans. Even though he’s a laid back guy, he did get into some trouble back in 2016. When police raided his house, they found illegal firearms as well as drugs. He only got probation for these things, meaning he was able to continue appearing on the show.
Not Much Faith In Street Outlaws
A huge secret was revealed by Justin “Big Chief” Shearer. He said no one was optimistic about how well the show would do. He mentioned it began with smaller media companies and it only grew from there. The producers themselves had no idea how the show would do after its first season. However, this is the mindset that allowed them to go all out while they were filming – enough to end up getting 10 seasons!
Stopped By The Police
This show focuses on the cast that makes moonshine illegally. A lot of viewers caught on to the show. Every now and again, someone from the show would be stopped by the police with the cameras rolling. Oftentimes, they can walk or drive away, but it does make for TV drama. Once, Tim Smith said that law enforcement asked him about the show and he invited the cop for dinner.
Losing The License
If you’re a car racer, you should know that appearing on Street Outlaws will seriously help your stick. A lot of new fans are guaranteed. All the same, you risk losing the license if you do so. The National Hot Rod Association has threatened drivers in 2015 to take racing licenses if they do this. While this decision has seen a lot of backlashes, the agency remains the same.
An Undercover Sting
Sometimes, things are too good to be true. This TV show is about illegal high-end street races. Joe Woods didn’t think the show would become as successful as it did. He even thought it was a secret spy operation. He didn’t trust the producers of this show. Honestly, we can’t blame him.
Virginia Revealed The Truth About The Moonshiners
It turned out that the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said they were misled about the show. It didn’t end there, however. It also came out and was reported that Discovery was airing what was called a false show. Viewers questioned why the state allowed such a crime to happen, so there was no choice but to admit that there was no illegal moonshine.
Fake Shark Week Documentary
Back in 2013, The Discovery Channel got a lot of backlash for airing a fake documentary named “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” to start Shark Week. It was about a 70-foot ancient shark that was still alive. Megalodons mostly likely existed between 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 years ago. People complained about the hoax online. However, an incredible 4.8 million users still watched the episode.
Vetting Reality TV Stars
Seeing as so many reality stars get caught up in scandals, you must be curious about how the cast gets picked. Each reality star is expected to come with some drama. However, it’s too much to hire a convicted rapist. What makes it worse is the thought of how much money these people make through the show. Business Insider reports that the reality stars have varying salaries, but the popular ones can make as much as $10 million for a single season!
International Space Station
Back in 2006, the Discovery Channel made history after they broadcasted the first live episode from the International Space Station. This broadcast consisted of 19 minutes in which Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria gave a tour of the space station and spoke about some of their work and experience living in space.
In December of 2007, Planet Earth made its debut to the network. This 11 season series was loved by fans and exceeded any expectations. While it was on the air, it was seen by 65 million homes, making it the most-watched series in history. It was awarded an Emmy for “Outstanding Non-Fiction Series.”
Supporting Youth Education
In 1997, Discovery created the “Discovery Channel Education Partnership” now known as the “Discovery Learning Alliance,” which was aimed at supporting and educate youths worldwide. This channel helps improve education and lifestyle in certain areas. They also have a young scientist challenge that is a full library of educational video content that is available in the classroom setting. On top of this, they have online textbooks like science, social studies, and math that came out in 2010.
Discovery is catching on to Virtual reality as the next frontier in the video technology world. They even have their section dedicated to full video experiences involving nature, wildlife and outer space. There is also an app available on Apple and Android called “Discovery VR” for specific viewers interested in virtual reality.
Discovery decided to change their tagline in 2013 to “Grab Life by the Globe.” This was intended so that viewers could post their pictures/videos outdoors and in special locations. All they have to do is choose what they want to post and caption it #GrabLife.
In 1985, the channel mostly focused on educational science as well as historical documentaries. They also had a few news episodes in their 12-hour programmings, including World Monitor and Vremya. They broadcasted about 66 hours of Soviet TV every week.
Longest-Running Programming Event
Every since 1987 there has been an annual tradition where the channel broadcasts SharkWeek. It is the longest-running programming event in TV history that began as a way to educate people about animals they were not familiar with. Now it is integrated into American culture and has influenced pop culture references.
Sponsors A Museum
Discovery Channel sponsors Discovery Times Square, which is a museum in NYC that focuses on traveling exhibits and introduces a plethora of information as well as exciting and engaging activities to satsify all family members.
In 1996 the Discovery Channel was introduced as Discovery Civilization, which was a network focused on broadcasting material associated with ancient history. Five years later the NY Times invested 50% in the network and wanted to move the shows focus to current events. It was then re-established as Times Discovery. However, in 2006, the NY Times sold its share and Discovery Communications swooped in to make it a channel about crime, known as the Investigation Discovery.
Investigation Discovery president Henry S. Schleiff said in a 2015 interview with the NY Times that his desire to create a crime-all-the-time network was partly motivated by the long-running crime television franchise Law & Order CSI, and NCIS. Their mission was to make viewers feel like that at any point during the day they could come to the program to find crime and suspense.
Schleiff was influenced by the data that directed him and his partners to create an all-crime network. However, this was also beneficial because it was cost-effective. Creating programs for Investigation Discovery would essentially cost the network around one-tenth of what it would cost to create a scripted drama series.
Female Fan Base
Investigation Discovery is amongst one of five top cable networks for females, especially those 24-54 years old. This is because women love using their mystery-solving skills to get to the bottom of crime stories. They also feel like they learn from positively watching Investigation Discovery.
A well thought out series title is what engages audiences and sets the stage for a hit show. The executives on the show all get together and brainstorm together. The executive producer Schleiff told Crain’s New York that he is very proud of their process in which they get together and shout out different ideas. There is no exact order but he loves that feature.
While ID has so many loyal followers and fans, there are also many celebrities on the list. These include big names like Lady Gaga, Serena Williams, and Nicki Manag are some of the program’s most famous and dedicated fans.
IDCONis a crime convention located in New York City hosted by Investigation Discovery in 2016. Fans from all over die at the thought of attending this event and tickets sold out in less than 24 hours. Over 7000 fans put their names on the waiting list just hoping for a chance to get in. In 2017, there was the second IDCON but no guarantee of one in 2018.