In 2006, regular programming was interrupted on the Belgian public television channel with a news bulletin claiming that the Northern portion of Belgium, better known as Flanders, had declared succession and freedom from the Kingdom of Belgium. It showed interviews with prominent Belgian politicians as well as footage of the evacuation of the royal family. All of this turned out to be a hoax.
2. In 2006, a man named Guy Goma showed up at the BBC for a job interview as a computer technician. He was mistaken for Guy Kewney, a computer expert, and put on live TV to discuss a judicial verdict. Despite his amazing performance faking his way through the segment, he did not get the job.
3. A retired highway maintenance worker named Greg Packer has been quoted over 100 times by news outlets, including AP, New York Times, NY Post, and Newsday, as their "man on the streets." He has admitted to making things up to get into the paper. Many agencies in the USA now have directives against interviewing him.
4. In 1990, a controversial sitcom aired on British television which was titled “Heil Honey, I’m Home!” The show centered around the fictionalized versions of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun and their inability to get along with their Jewish neighbors. The show was canceled after 1 episode.
5. In 1994, the duo responsible for 1990s electronic band The KLF, in a performance art piece called “K Foundation Burn a Million Quid,” burned all the money they had earned, which was a million pounds. The video aired on television a year later. They swore off discussing the project for 23 years, but 8 years later, admitted they regretted burning the money.
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In 1984, a man named Michael Larson who was a contestant on “Press Your Luck” won 45 consecutive spins and earned a total of $110,237 in cash and prizes. It was at that time the largest one-day total ever won on a game show. He was able to do so by using the stop-motion feature on his VCR and memorize the patterns used in the game board.
7. On November 22, 1987, two Chicago TV station broadcasts were hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom. The video ended with the hacker’s exposed buttocks being spanked with a flyswatter by an accomplice. FBI investigation never solved the case and the perpetrators were never caught.
8. Between 2007 and 2009, a children’s program named Tomorrow's Pioneers was produced and broadcasted by Hamas. It was co-hosted by various costumed characters, including one resembling Mickey Mouse. Most of the said costumed characters were shown to be killed by Jews in some violent manner on the show.
9. Turn-On, a sketch comedy show from 1969 was considered to be so bad that one station refused to continue airing it after the first commercial break and several other stations that were scheduled to air it later that evening refused to air it all together.
10. In 2007, UK broadcaster Channel 4 announced to broadcast a season of programming called “Wank Week.” It was expected to consist of a series of three documentary programs about masturbation. The decision came under public attack and it was canceled.
St. Elsewhere was American medical drama which was aired on NBC between 1982 and 1988. Over its six-season, it had a 137-episode run. Tommy Westphall who was an autistic was a minor character in the series. The common interpretation of the show’s final episode, “The Last One”, is that the entire St. Elsewhere storyline exists only within Westphall's imagination.
12. On January 3, 2005, FOX aired a reality show named “Who's Your Daddy?” It started with an adoptee who was introduced to eight men and had to figure out which one really was her father. If she got it right, she would win the cash prize of $100,000. If she got it wrong, the “dad” who had conned her took the money. Only one episode aired and it was canceled due to low ratings and strong controversy.
13. The Intercept (Perehvat in Russia) was a popular 1997 Russian TV show. The contestant had to “steal” (actually, be given the keys to) a car and avoid the police for 35 minutes. If the contestant successfully avoided the police, he won the car. The car chase was done in the real Moscow streets and had to obey traffic laws. At its peak, the show had 60 million viewers per episode.
14. Turkey was planning a TV show in 2009 named Penitents Compete, in which a rabbi, a Buddhist monk, an Orthodox priest, and an imam attempt to convert 10 atheists each week, with any converts offered a free pilgrimage to one of the four holy sites. The country’s religious board denied permission for an imam to appear and the program was canceled.
15. In 2005, there was a TV show named Sperm Race which piloted in Germany. Twelve contestants donated their sperm to a lab where doctors observed their seed race towards an egg. The winner of the race was given the title of Germany's most fertile man and also a red Porsche.
16Interviews Before Execution
Between 2006 and 2012, millions of people in China gathered around their television sets every Saturday night in to watch “Interviews Before Execution”, an extraordinary talk show which interviewed prisoners on death row in the weeks, days or even minutes before they were executed.
17. Whisker Wars was a reality show that followed a group of American beard and mustache growers as they fought over who had the most epic beard to take out the title of Top Beard in the World Championship competition in Norway. It aired in 2011 and 2 seasons were produced.
18. In 1983, NBC launched a sitcom named Mr. Smith, which was about a talking orangutan named Mr. Smith who had an IQ of 256, who eventually went on to became an important political advisor. Only one season was aired.
19. In 1960, Inejiro Asanuma, who was chairman of the Japanese Socialist Party, was stabbed to death during a televised debate by a 17-year old with a samurai sword. The young militant nationalist rushed to the stage and stabbed Asanuma between the ribs on his left side, killing him.
20. In 1985, Richard Belzer on his talk show requested Hulk Hogan to demonstrate one of his signature wrestling moves. After being asked several times, Hogan put Belzer in a front headlock, which caused Belzer to pass out, drop to the floor and smash his head open. Belzer later sued Hogan for $5 million and settled out of court.
In 1984, British comedian Tommy Cooper had a heart attack and died on live television halfway through his act. Since his act consisted of failed magic tricks, the audience assumed it was part of his act and laughed/applauded during his final moments.
22. In 2008, an Indian news channel aired “The Great Tantra Challenge”, where a tantric practitioner named Surinder Sharma was challenged to kill a man named Sanal Edamaruku using only his tantric powers. After hours of trying, the tantric claimed that he could not kill him because the god he prayed to was protecting him. Edamaruku replied that he was an atheist.
23. In 1974, Florida Newscaster and TV personality Christine Chubbuck killed herself with a pistol on live TV. Her last words were, “And now, in keeping with Channel 40's policy of always bringing you the latest in blood and guts, in living color, you're about to see another first - an attempted suicide.”
24. In 1956, the TV game show “I Have a Secret” featured a special guest, Samuel J. Seymour, who was the last living person to have witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Seymour was 5 when he was taken to the theater the night Lincoln was shot and saw John Wilkes Booth jump off the balcony and break his ankle.
25. On December 22, 1989, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, along with his wife Elena was executed by a firing squad. A TV crew was present to record the execution and aired the footage on Romanian television on Christmas Day in 1989.