Such has been the case on a handful of famous shows, which faced unexpected tragedy and turmoil at crucial moments in their histories.
On the heels of contestants being left in the wilderness on the UK's Eden without being told the show had been secretly canceled, it's clear the reality industry can't shake its snafus all these years later.
Of course, on some occasions, those haywire moments lead to all the more entertaining television, but in other instances, the results are purely devastating.
Here's a look back at some of reality's terrifyingly real moments:
The fist-pumping cast of the Jersey Shore got themselves into plenty to of trouble in between gym, tanning and laundry, but the cast's tiniest member, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi ran into real problems with the law in the course of the show.
First, in 2010, the drunk star was arrested in Seaside Heights for disorderly conduct and was ultimately fined. The arrest ultimately made it into the show as well as when she collided with a police car in Florence the following year.
2. A Flaming Arrow Gone Haywire on America's Got Talent
Canadian comedy daredevil team AmberLynn Walker and Ryan Stock took the America's Got Talent stage in August 2016 ready to shock and awe, but they ended up mostly shocking.
After swallowing the base of a lamp, Stock held it in his mouth as his fiancée aimed a flaming arrow at the target stamped on the bottom of the base. Scarily, the arrow narrowly missed the target and hit the daredevil in the neck. Suddenly realizing the stunt had not gone as planned, Stock fished the lamp base out of his mouth and fearfully fanned away at his neck. Fortunately, the stuntman was not seriously harmed.
In a devastating example of reality gone wrong, a Cops crew member was fatally shot by a police officer during a robbery shootout in Omaha, Nebraska in 2014. The victim was the first member of the longtime show to be killed in its history.
5. Every Other Day on Jackass
As a show based around dangerous stunts and pranks, the men of Jackass were destined to experience a few unexpectedly scary—and painful—moments, including when Johnny Knoxville fell off his motorcycle mid-air and it landed back on top of him or when a boxing match left him with a concussion and bloody scalp.