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Top 10 Most Dangerous Reality Shows Ever Made

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
Please don’t try anything you see on these shows at home. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dangerous reality shows ever made. For this list, we're looking at reality shows where contestants were deliberately put in potentially dangerous situations. We’ll be excluding any nature documentary shows because they’re a completely different beast.
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Please don’t try anything you see on these shows at home. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most dangerous reality shows ever made.

For this list, we're looking at reality shows where contestants were deliberately put in potentially dangerous situations. We’ll be excluding any nature documentary shows because they’re a completely different beast.


#10: “Jackass” (2000-02)


Even if you’ve never seen an episode, you’ve probably heard of this reckless MTV classic. “Jackass” followed a team of friends who performed crazy, immature stunts. When an act was really dangerous, editors would add a skull and crutches logo to further discourage viewers from attempting what they saw. The “Jackass” stars have fractured bones, been knocked unconscious and needed surgery. One of the cast members, Ehren McGhehey, reportedly broke his back multiple times during the show. Although their antics certainly entertained the youthful masses, maybe it’s for the best that the cast stays retired instead of finding new ways to hit each other in the junk.


#9: “Tumble” (2014)


Gymnastic routines may look graceful, but they still come with a high risk of injury. A few celebrities learned that the hard way on BBC's “Tumble”. The famous contestants performed athletic routines weekly for the judges. During rehearsals, several celebs found themselves with nasty bumps and calluses. Actor Bobby Lockwood went to the ER after bruising a bone in his knee. And Fitness Guru Mr. Motivator was pulled from the competition before it began because he dislocated his knee during a bad landing. As an added insult to all the injury, “Tumble” got beaten up in the ratings and was canceled after its initial run.



#8: “I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!” (2002-)


On “I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!” -versions of which exist in various countries- celebs are dumped in the wilderness, where they compete to be the last one standing. During filming, crew members and contestants have to watch out for deadly wildlife around the camp. Outside of nature, the special challenges known as the Bushtucker trials add even more risk. A challenge involving snakes had to be altered after two celebs were bitten. In 2005, actress Kimberly Davies suffered a rib injury while diving during a Bushtucker trial. While viewers are told that safety measures are taken, reported injuries in the 2018 series indicate the show is still risky.


#7: “Susunu! Denpa Shōnen” (1998-2002)



“Susunu! Denpa Shōnen” is a Japanese reality show that torments its participants with outrageous challenges - like living naked and confined in an apartment for a year, and surviving solely off of write-in contest winnings. Their hitchhiking episodes were arguably their most treacherous however. In one edition, contestants Tse Chiu-Yan and Takashi Ito were forced to travel from South Africa to Norway without spending money on travel. They went days without food and were subjected to harsh weather conditions. When traveling through the Sahara Desert with little water, Takashi Ito collapsed. While we considered Japanese reality show “Za Gaman” for its painful endurance challenges, “Susunu Denpa Shōnen” makes the list because of how long it left people in perilous scenarios.


#6: “Naked and Afraid” (2013- )


Participants of this stripped-down survival show are fully exposed to the elements, and that has resulted in some nasty health complications. Season 7 competitor Jason Gassaway got badly sunburned, watched his foot swell and risked internal damage before being evacuated. A season 8 participant, Sam Ohl, was rushed to a hospital after getting stage 2 hypothermia that could’ve caused organ failure. Manu Tiago wasn’t even aware of her major health issues until after finishing the challenge. Tiago began experiencing strange symptoms, and doctors diagnosed her with internal hemorrhaging from dengue fever she likely contracted on the show. Fortunately, Tiago and her fellow participants recovered from their “Naked and Afraid” experiences.

#5: “Born in the Wild” (2015)



The risky premise of this Lifetime show drew criticism even before its first episode debuted. “Born In the Wild” followed pregnant mothers who wanted to deliver their children surrounded by nature instead of hospital walls. There were strict rules for all the participants. First-time mothers were not permitted, and emergency medics were on standby. Despite Lifetime’s careful safety measures, “Born In the Wild’s” critics were concerned about the risk of complications that could arise during childbirth. Thankfully, throughout the show’s run, every mother and baby made it out okay, but their success didn’t translate into high ratings for the controversial series and it only lasted one season.


#4: “Dancing on Ice” (2006-)


Celebrities can show off their skating skills on “Dancing on Ice” ...if they don’t get too injured during rehearsals. Vanilla Ice took a nasty fall that left him bloodied. Actress Jorgie Porter was horrified when she sliced her partner’s face with her skate in a practice run. But one of the most shocking injuries took place during the competition itself. While performing her routine, dancer Jennifer Allison cut the back of her head with her own skate. Although she finished the performance, her partner immediately called for help as soon as they were done. The frequent incidents on “Dancing On Ice” make us question if amateur celebs should compete in difficult sports.

#3: “Splash” (2013)


Come on, ABC! We just talked about this! ABC's “Splash” trades in ice for water as its contestants competed in weekly diving competitions. During its first and only season, most of the celebrity competitors got hurt. Comedian Louie Anderson bruised his ribs, actor Chuy Bravo injured his heel and former Nick star Drake Bell received a concussion during a bad dive. Model Katherine Webb and actress Nicole Eggert both hurt their backs. Skier Rory Bushfield rounded out the injury list by rupturing an eardrum. Despite being told not to compete, he went in feet-first and won the competition. We’ll give him an 8.0 for determination and the show a 10.0 for its danger level.

#2: “Survivor” (2000-)


For nearly two decades, ordinary people have competed to become the “Sole Survivor”. And the show’s physical challenges and remote settings have led to a history of medical incidents. In the 32nd season, three people were medically evacuated due to emergencies that ranged from an infected knee to heat stroke. As recently as 2018, survivor Pat Cusack suffered a spinal injury on the 3rd day of competition. Although there have been a few close calls, no survivors have died on the show. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for its French counterpart “Koh-Lanta”, which canceled its 13th season when a competitor died of a heart attack shortly after a physical challenge and was followed the suicide of the on-site doctor.


#1: “The Jump” (2014-)


If you thought combining celebs and diving was dangerous, wait until we tell you about “The Jump”. On this British program, celebs competed in a variety of winter sports. Within a span of four seasons, 34 contestants were injured. The gruesome injuries included torn muscles, dislocated joints and broken arms. Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle fractured her some vertebrae after crashing into a barrier. Doctors had to use part of her hip to fuse the vertebrae together again. As the number of injuries rose, angry viewers demanded that the show be taken off the air. In 2017, the show as taken off the air for a one season break, with plans to return in 2019. However, many speculate that this hiatus will prove permanent.

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