Rhonwyn Newson

Weekend editor of the Herald Online and writer of The Herald List

Most memorable reality TV moments

Jeff Probst, presenter of Survivor. Photo / file
Jeff Probst, presenter of Survivor. Photo / file

Reality TV as a genre emerged in the mid-1990s, but exploded with the success of Survivor and Big Brother in the late 90s, early 2000s. I was at a rather impressionable age at this time, and found myself hooked. Oh the shame. But it's a voyeuristic vice I share with millions around the world.

As far as shows go, I tend to forget the cast and the show as soon as the next one comes along. But there have certainly been some memorable moments. These are my top seven, not necessarily in order.

Punk'd: Justin Timberlake cries a river


During the 2002 premiere of MTV's Punk'd, Ashton Kutcher arranged for "IRS agents" to approach Justin Timberlake and repossess his everything he owned because he was apparently owed back taxes. Timberlake's response was not very dignified - he called his mum and cried until the joke was revealed.

America's Next Top Model: Tyra's tirade

When model wannabe Tiffany laughed off her elimination in the fourth season, Tyra Banks lost it.

It was definitely one of those awkward moments, watching Tyra shriek at the poor girl.

The Real Housewives of Washington: White House gate-crashers

In November 2009 Tareq and wife Michaele Salahi caused a massive stir when they charmed their way into President Barack Obama's first state dinner in The White House. The couple were filmed arriving at the White House and then the following morning when they recounted their night. The episode aired on 30 September 2010.

Newlyweds: Jessica Simpson and the tuna / chicken debacle

These days the Kardashians are world famous from allowing a team of cameramen (and various other production staff) to document their every movement. But back in 2003 when MTV debuted Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, the idea of prying on a couple was novel. Poor Jessica. In the debut episode, Jess couldn't work out whether it was fish or chicken in the can of tuna she was eating.

Britain's Got Talent: Susan Boyle dreams a dream


The YouTube clip of Susan Boyle singing Les Miserable's I Dreamed a Dream went viral in 2009, and it's easy to see why. Hopes weren't high for the frumpy, unassuming Boyle as she walked onto stage. As soon as she began to sing, the judges and audience were stunned. She has since enjoyed great recording success.

Survivor: The rat and the snake

At the end of the first season of Survivor, contestant Sue Hawk didn't hold back on her feelings towards the final two contestants - Kelly Wiglesworth and Richard Hatch. Hawk compared Hatch to a snake, and Wiglesworth to a rat. The worst part of the rant, however, was when she told Wiglesworth she would not give her a drink of water even if she was dying of thirst.

The Bachelor: Getting dumped on live TV


In 2009, during the 13th season bachelor Jason Mesnick proposed to contestant Melissa Rycroft during the finale. Six weeks later, during the post show special, Mesnick dumped Rycroft for fellow contestant Molly Malaney. All class.

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