The History Channel Scandals That Completely Changed Its Course of Action
Back in the day, when the popularity of the internet was still being born, we had programs and channels like the History Channel. Which featured - surprise surprise - history and supposedly true facts. Alas, those days are now over and have instead been replaced with an abundance of reality TV shows. With millions of viewers worldwide tuning in to the lives of reality stars, here are some of the biggest scandals that hit the History network.
11. ICE ROAD TRUCKERS
One of History’s most popular reality show, ‘Ice Road Truckers’ shows the dangerous lives of drivers in the iciest regions of Canada and Alaska. Naturally, the show received its fair share of criticism from actual trucker media for over exaggerating and possibly even faking some of the danger they’ve depicted on the show. But, the real scandal happened in 2013.
A CBS report revealed that the show’s star, Tim Zickuhr, abducted Lisa Cadeau after he hired her for escort work in Las Vegas because she overcharged him by $1,000. After she agreed to meet with him, he took her back to his apartment, tied and beat her up, and stuffing her into his closet. After doing some quick thinking, Lisa gave Tim the number of an undercover cop, saying that he’ll pay her ransom. Zickuhr did so and ended arranging his own arrest.
10. THE KENNEDYS MINI-SERIES
The History Channel really blew it with this one. After commissioning a $30 million mini-series about the Kennedys, the channel ended up abruptly canceling the show. An early draft of the series leaked, which ended up causing lots of controversy and negative feedback from Kennedy family allies. The programmers spent months rewriting and filming the project but ultimately pulled the entire thing. Apparently, people believed the script was full of slander and lies.
Conspiracy theorists believed that surviving members of the Kennedy family were the reason behind History Channel dropping the show. However, the series eventually came out elsewhere - and let us tell you that the reviews really weren’t favorable. The Hollywood Reporter called it “dull”, “unwatchable”, and “a ham-fisted mess.”
9. SWAMP PEOPLE
This series just got way too messy. The show follows the lives of alligator hunters that live in Louisiana. Although it might seem like alligators would be the biggest threat and problem of the cast members, it simply isn’t so. According to TMZ, ‘Swamp People’s stars Jay Paul Molinere and R.J. Molinere attacked a man with a beer bottle, resulting in their arrest. And that’s not where it ends. Trapper Joe was arrested for punching his girlfriend in the chest after burning her with his cigarette, and Roger River Jr. also got in trouble with the law after selling illegal meat.
Before the seventh season commenced, the majority of the cast members were fired and replaced with a bunch of new swamp people. Fans of the show were extremely shocked and disappointed, and cast members went on massive, angry social media rants. However, the producers didn’t budge and stood their ground - it was just too much for them to handle.
8. BIGFOOT CAPTURED
This film depicted the discovery and capture of real Sasquatch. But, it ended up fooling many of its fans, leaving viewers angry and displeased. Although the show was completely based on fiction, the History Channel filmed and styled it as a real documentary.
The production screwed up royally when it came to its audience - but that’s not the only thing it did wrong. They also essentially lied to their guest experts about the production. According to Professor Jeff Meldrum, the documentary faked evidence and wasn’t working with real information at all. "Take what you can from it, and have a chuckle over the remainder."
7. HUNTING HITLER
Yet another production that left fans disappointed. According to Variety, the audience was highly upset with the show, because they felt as if the producers were trivializing Hitler and feeding into conspiracy theories about his escape to Argentina.
The most dramatic - and honestly pretty terrible - mistake that the show ended up making, had to do with one of their key sources. After promising the source total anonymity, the History Channel ended up broadcasting his face to over 180 different countries. Although they blurred his face out, for the most part, there was one shot where they forgot to do so - and his identity was clearly visible. Thanks to the History Channel, everyone knows this guy’s grandfather was a Nazi.
6. AMELIA EARHART
Hilariously, the History Channel claimed that it solved the mystery of Amelia Earhart. The documentary ‘Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence’ caused a lot of commotion after they showed a photo of Amelia after her disappearance, with her navigator, alive, an in the Marshall Islands. The documentary stated that the U.S. government covered up the fact that she survived after her infamous crash in 1937. Until a blogger swooped in and debunked the entire thing.
Japanese military blogger Kota Yamano found the published picture in a Japanese coffee table book and confirmed that the photo was actually from 1935 - two years before Earhart’s flight. Evidently, the picture says nothing about her disappearance.
5. AMERICAN PICKERS
‘American Pickers’ is based on a group of guys who travel around the country and basically look through strangers piles of junks, hoping to find something of value. Unsurprisingly, the show’s been accused of producers faking some of the moments and planting some of the most valuable stuff - but that’s not the biggest issue it’s faced.
The show’s star, Frank Fritz, recently got into trouble with the law. The reality show star pleaded guilty to charges of “operating while intoxicated” - this included driving the wrong way on the interstate. The police reported stated that Fritz was “weaving about the roadway” under the influence of alcohol and Xanax.
4. THE BIBLE
In 2014, the mini-series became a huge hit - except for that time where they cast an actor who looked exactly like President Barack Obama to play the devil. After the series first premiered, the comparison went viral.
Of course, the producer Roma Downey said it was mere coincidence, but the damage was irreversible. After ‘The Bible’ producers sat down to turn the series into a feature-length film, ‘Son of God’, they came to the decision it would be best to just get rid of Satan entirely, hoping this would focus the audience’s attention on Jesus instead.
Similar to the reality competition ‘Survivor’, ‘Alone’ attempted to outdo their rivals. After leaving its contestants all on their own in the wilderness, the show follows their journey of survival. However, audiences found many issues within the series.
The show leads viewers to believe that the contestants are completely cut off and distanced from all civilization. But, in most cases, they’re actually an hour’s walk from the nearest town. Not to mention they have the camera crew constantly following them around so they’re really not alone or isolated.
2. MOUNTAIN MEN
The show depicts the lives of people who are trying to live as if they’re in the 17th century. One of the show’s main stars, Eustace Conway, teaches people how to be self-sufficient. And, apparently, how to be pretentious while doing so. "To me, there's way too much overdevelopment in this world and I wanna do at least my part in keepin’ some of it wild.”
On the side, Eustace brings in $700 a week for teaching people how to live in the wilderness, while residing in his 1,000-acre wildlife preserve in North Carolina. Recently, the preserve was raided by health, construction, and fire officials who stated that many of his buildings were “[not] fit for public use.”
1. AX MEN
The show’s star, Jimmy Smith, did something that was either incredibly arrogant or just ridiculously stupid. Lumberjacks have to work with water from time to time, carrying their trees on rafts to float them down a river. Sometimes, however, these trees would fall off the raft and sink to the bottom. Although they could eventually be salvaged, the activity is illegal in the state of Washington.
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Jimmy Smith, completely disregarding the law, started fishing logs out of the river on national television: "I'm the first one in the northwest to do this type of logging.” He defended his actions by saying he had a good reason for doing so - and that was to protect people participating in water sports on the river. "If I can save one kid or one boater, I think it's worth it."
Judging from all the trouble these reality stars had to go through, it doesn’t seem like being a celebrity - or at least a reality TV star - is all its made up to be. Although we can’t deny the fact that we love tuning in for the spicy drama and chain of events that unfold in these celebrities’ chaotic lives. Which one of these scandals surprised you the most? And let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed in the comments below! We love to hear your thoughts.