A&E is one of those networks that cater to whatever mood you are in. Maybe you're feeling sentimental and you want a show that will tug at your heartstrings, A&E has you covered. Maybe you want an action-packed crime show, there is something for that. Or maybe you just want to watch mind-numbing reality television; guess what? A&E has something for that, too. It is no wonder that many of their shows have high ratings for multiple seasons. Shows like Storage Wars and Live PD have proven to be winners for the network. It is safe to say that A&E have carved their own little spot for being a network you can watch when you have nothing to do at home and just want to escape for a few hours. Being the “Arts and Entertainment” channel – bet you forgot what A&E stood for – it is no wonder they know more or less what entertains us.
But, of course, sometimes these shows have better drama behind the scenes than they do on camera. And, of course, many people at A&E probably wish the things that happen backstage would stay backstage and not make themselves known. Things like criminal records, fraud, lawsuits and death have all occurred on multiple shows at A&E. These 15 things are just some of the unbelievable secrets A&E probably wishes would have stayed a secret.
15 No One Believes In 'Intervention' Anymore
“Intervention” is definitely one of those shows that break my heart. They definitely know how to pull at the heartstrings and keep us wanting more. From the heartbreaking stories of families who so desperately want their addict to get better, showing how the addict has literally thrown away their lives for their addiction, the letters each loved one has to write when it is finally revealed to the addict that they are on “Intervention”; everything about this show is just so sad. I can say I always find myself pulling for the addict to beat the addiction and I can’t wait for the end of the episode where they reveal the fate of the addict. But, many viewers have stopped watching the show. Many feel that the element of surprise that comes with any effective intervention is no longer a part of the show. Many people think the addict definitely knows that he or she is on “Intervention” and exactly what is happening.
14 New "Fake Assets" On 'Storage Wars'
Dave Hester was clearly on a roll with his lawsuit against “Storage Wars”. “The truth, however, is that nearly every aspect of the Series is faked, even down to the plastic surgery that one of the female cast members underwent in order to create more ‘sex appeal’ for the show, the cost of which was paid for by Original,” he said. Apparently, he alleged that one of the female characters of the show received plastic surgery – paid for by the producers – in order to raise the sex appeal of the show. Of course, with Brandi Passante being the only female at that time on the show, it was simple for people to realize he was talking about her. Man, who knew a show about auctioning off storage lockers could be so dramatic? I sure didn’t.
13 "We were betrayed by the producers and A&E."
“Escaping the KKK”, an eight-part docuseries, was supposed to air January 10 of this year but was pulled off the air. A&E says they were notified that cast members were being paid to let in producers outside the project to film them. Regardless of this, just the idea of the show caused a big controversy. The public hated the idea of the show. They felt this show would celebrate hate. First, there were issues with the title. Originally, it was set to be called “Generation KKK” but was changed. After the name change and eventually A&E canceling the show altogether, members of the KKK were saying the show was fake. They said the producers would tell them what to say and they were told to distort parts of their lives to fit the A&E narrative. KKK members alleged they were told to say derogative terms towards black people. They were told to burn crosses. They even said producers built the wooden crosses they were told to burn. With so much controversy and alleged fakery, it is no wonder the show never made television.
12 The 'Beyond Scared Straight' Petition Called For The Show To End
We all know the show “Beyond Scared Straight” can be pretty intense. You have the teenage girls or boys who are on the brink of a life of crime. Whether it is theft, breaking and entering, gang activity, whatever it is, these teens have done it. They have a horrendous attitude and have zero respect for anyone. We see the parents or guardians tell their tearful tales of how they can no longer control the teen and how they fear for the teen’s future. Then they are separated from their families and put in jail. Many viewers hope they changed their lives after they come out but most do not believe this show helps.
In 2011 a petition on change.org came about calling for A&E to tell the viewers the truth about the show. The petition lists tests and studies done by credible sites that show these types of shows do not actually help. The petition was directed to the president and general manager of A&E, Robert DeBitetto.
11 A&E Says "[Hester is] converting a garden-variety breach of contract claim into a tabloid-worthy drama."
Fans will tell you, "Storage Wars" can be pretty dramatic. The bidding process easily leads to heated fights. The show definitely knows how to keep the viewers interested. As it turns out, "Storage Wars" has taken their drama from the screen to the courtroom.
The drama all started when cast member Dave Hester began saying the show is rigged. “The truth is that (producers) regularly salt or plant the storage lockers that are the subject of the auctions portrayed on the series with valuable or unusual items to create drama and suspense for the show,” he said. He also alleged that cast members were told which lockers to bid on and how much to bid. Lastly, he said producers would finance the weaker bids. Since making these allegations, Dave was terminated from the show. In December of 2013, Dave and A&E went to trial, where Dave lost the first round. A&E brought an anti-SLAPP motion to court and said "Storage Wars" was protected by the First Amendment, making Dave unlikely to win. They also said Dave was “attempting to portray himself as a crusading whistleblower when really he was upset at how contract negotiations were going to return to the series”. He was ordered to pay A&E’s legal fees. Dave came back to court with allegations stating he was wrongfully terminated. The judge accepted this claim and the proceedings continued. The lawsuit was eventually settled in 2014 for an undisclosed amount.
10 'Billy The Exterminator' And His Substance Problem
"Billy the Exterminator" may not be the most glamorous show on A&E – but it is still popular. Debuted in 2009, the show kept us on our toes with their dangerous – and often disgusting – episodes in which cameras follow William “Billy” Bretherton as he assists exterminators in catching vermin and wildlife from homes. While everything onscreen seems crazy and exciting, there is quite a bit happening behind the screens.
In 2012, after answering a 911 call from a hotel in Louisiana, police officers found what they believed to be synthetic mary jane and a device commonly used to smoke. In June, after it was confirmed that the device had substance on it, a warrant was released. Whose hotel room was it you ask? None other than Billy Bretherton and his wife, Mary. Billy and Mary turned themselves in shortly after they heard about the warrant. Luckily for them, the judge was lenient and gave Billy a suspended 60-day jail term and a fine of $500. He also had to undergo substance abuse treatment, community service and regular testing.
9 Money Troubles On 'Storage Wars'
If A&E ever wants a new idea for a show, I think they should go with “Storage Wars: Behind the Scenes” for a good drama-fix. Aside from their courtroom showdown, they apparently are facing budget cuts and cast members are starting to feel the effects. First one on the chopping block was Brandon Sheets. He was let go from the show after being on all six seasons. He wrote on Twitter his thoughts after being let go. He wrote that he was told it was because of budget cuts that he was fired. “I was fired due to budget… some people just didn’t appreciate what I brought to the table so I am free to be me now. No holding back!” he wrote. Another one who threatened to walk away was his father, Darrell Sheets. Darrell was also a season regular and he holds the record for having the biggest profit off of a storage unit he bought. As a season regular, he makes $30,000; after the cut, he would be making $15,000. They also cut down on his appearances. He was set to only appear in four episodes, making him a recurring character and not a season regular.
8 The "Guided Reality" Of 'Duck Dynasty'
This one isn’t really all that shocking. We all know that “reality” television shows bend the truth a bit. They like to add in more drama and eliminate the boring parts of everyday life. Whatever they can do to get views up, they’ll do it. That’s the case with “Duck Dynasty”. The show follows around the Robertsons and their duck-call business. What sets them apart is they don’t deny that their show is heavily scripted. They call it “guided reality”. They said their real lives are nothing like what is portrayed on camera. The producers would sketch out how they want a situation to go and the Robertsons would live it on camera. They did so well acting out what the producers wanted. Many news outlets say that, although we would categorize them as country or “hicks”, they are actually great at improvisation.
7 A Rush To Judgment Changes Two Lives
I’ll admit, I love “The First 48”. This show provides the right amount of entertainment while showing the ins and outs of more or less what goes on the first 48 hours of a crime investigation. But, of course, wanting to pack in as much action as possible for views can lead to sloppy work. Take the case of Erik Elizarraraz. He was shot during an altercation late at night at an apartment complex. Later in the episode, three witnesses pointed to Cameron Coker’s photo and said he was the shooter. Cameron spent several years in custody.
Another rush to judgment happened in the case of Taiwan Smart. Two of Taiwan’s friends were murdered in Miami and he turned out to be the only suspect. The detectives asked him again and again to take a polygraph and he refused every time. Without investigating further, they arrested him and put him behind bars for more than a year. He went on to sue Miami and won $860,000.
6 Criminal Past On 'Storage Wars'
Again, behind the scenes at “Storage Wars” is proving to be more dramatic than what happens on screen! Apparently, two of their characters, Jarrod and Brandi, both had tough paths before landing on the show and opening their thrift store. In 1997, Jarrod was arrested for felony possession. He was in possession of a controlled substance. He ended up pleading guilty and was given a 60-day sentence. A little bit after he got out of jail, he found himself in trouble once again! He was caught driving while under the influence of alcohol and transporting narcotics. He was given a 16-month sentence.
Brandi also found herself in some trouble with the law. In 2007 she was arrested for driving under the influence. Her punishment was lenient; she was given a fine and forced to attend a program. Luckily for these two, since being on the show, they have managed to stay out of trouble with the law.
5 Accidental Shooting Of Aiyana Stanley-Jones
This case is truly sad. A Detroit police officer, Joseph Weekley, fatally shot seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones when he led officers on a raid into her apartment. Aiyana was sleeping on the couch when the officers threw in a flash grenade, confusing her grandmother and others in the apartment. The officers were trying to find a murderer. The officer said he accidentally shot Aiyana. He says the trigger was accidentally pulled when her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, and he fought over the gun. The grandmother has since denied ever interfering with any gun. Other officers on scene also corroborated the grandmother’s version of the story and said there was no struggle over the gun. The entire raid was captured on camera for an episode of “The First 48”. The grandmother said she felt the officers were more focused on portraying the right amount of drama for the camera and not properly doing their job. On June 18, 2013, this case went to trial and the judge declared it a mistrial because the jurors could not agree on a verdict for Joseph.
4 “This show, these people, it’s a disaster in my life."
I’d imagine A&E wants us all to pretend “8 Minutes” NEVER happened. This show struck a nerve with pretty much everyone. It never received high views and the criticism was always harsh. It was so bad, A&E decided to cancel it all together. This show was supposed to be about police officer-turned-pastor, Kevin Brown, helping “women of the night” get out of that lifestyle. The show would start with Kevin trying to persuade these women to leave their current situation for a better life. He would pose as a client and meet these women in a hotel room. He would then reveal his true intentions and the woman would have eight minutes to decide whether or not they want to leave with Brown and his team.
Many women came forward on and revealed that they did not receive any help after the cameras stopped rolling. The producers promised them dental, medical, housing and employment help but those promises were never seen through. The women were given $200 dollars and never contacted again.
3 Cops Walk Out On 'Live PD'
“Live PD” has become quite popular on A&E. It has gained solid views and positive comments from many viewers. More episodes have even been ordered for 2018. The show gives us an almost-live look into what goes on in a police department. A dashboard camera and other cameras follow police officers as they handle every type of case. From the mundane like traffic stops or handing out warrants, to high-speed chases and even deaths have been shown.
With such a popular show, you might be asking ‘what could possibly be the problem?’ Well, many people feel as though the show only portrays things from the police officer’s point of view. We do not get to hear from the community and a lot of the things shown are from communities that are poorer or black communities. People also feel they shouldn’t be judged by one bad thing they do. The show puts them in a bad light. Even some police departments are starting to feel like this show is making their communities look bad and not painting a correct picture. Places like Tulsa and South Carolina have decided not to renew their contracts with this show.
2 The 'Meltzer and Bell' Mistake
A&E’s show “American Takedown” follows highly specialized tactical law enforcement units all around the country working to take down the worst criminal enterprises. They’ve hunted things like dog-fighting rings, drug smugglers, insurance fraud and other crimes. There was one episode in particular that landed them in hot water with a lawsuit on their laps. They were hunting a lawyer and a chiropractor who were both involved in an insurance fraud. The names of the criminals were Meltzer and Bell. The issue? They televised a sign for a Meltzer and Bell on their show but the Meltzer and Bell they televised were not the same people they were hunting down. These two individuals were lawyers and they were definitely not pleased their good name was dirtied up by this sign mix-up. Even though the network apologized, the two lawyers went on to sue them.
1 Shady Armando On 'Flip This House'
Now this one I bet A&E definitely hopes we all forgot about. The lawsuit against the one-time star of “Flip This House” was definitely a big one. Armando Montelongo was sued by over 100 students. Why? Well, they say the real estate seminars he held taught them absolutely nothing. He provided them worthless advice and they feel as if they wasted their money and time listening to anything this man has to say. They originally were suing him in San Francisco but he began alleging San Francisco had so jurisdiction in this issue. A judge signed to dismiss the case to allow the students to file in Texas, where Armando does his work. They spent thousands of dollars for his training and are suing him for more than $12 million in damages from him and his businesses.
Sources: thethings.com, New York Times, Daily Mail, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Hollywood Reporter, iBid4Storage.com, change.org