35 Shocking Facts About Disturbing TV Incidents

21Tommy Cooper

Tommy Cooper

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.

22The Great Tantra Challenge

The Great Tantra Challenge

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.

23Christine Chubbuck

Christine Chubbuck

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.”

24I Have a Secret

I Have a Secret

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.

25Execution of Nicolae Ceausescu

Execution of Nicolae Ceausescu

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.



In 2011, two Dutch TV presenters literally ate each other on a show named Proefkonijnen (meaning Guinea Pigs). The two presenters of the show underwent surgery to have pieces of their flesh removed from their bodies. One of them gave a piece of his butt cheek, while the other gave up a part of his abdomen. A TV chef cooked the tiny pieces of flesh in sunflower oil, and the presenters ate them.

27Over the Edge

Over the Edge

In 1999, during a botched aerial stunt at the WWF live pay-per-view ‘Over the Edge’ event, 34-year-old WWF wrestler Owen Hart fell almost 80 feet from the rafters of Kemper Arena into the middle of the ring, where he died in front of a crowd of over 18,000 fans. The harness that was supposed to slowly lower him into the ring prematurely snapped, causing his fall.

28Alison Parker & Adam Ward

Alison Parker & Adam Ward

In 2015, reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were gunned down on air by a disgruntled former colleague near Roanoke, Virginia while broadcasting live. The perpetrator was Vester Lee Flanagan, who once worked as an on-air broadcaster for WDBJ in Virginia. He killed himself a short time after the murders occurred.

29Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

In 1998, an HIV-positive maintenance worker from Los Angeles named Daniel V. Jones parked his truck in the middle of an interstate, unfurled a banner that read, “HMO’s are in it for the money!! Live free, love safe or die.” That's when the SWAT Team and news helicopters showed up, giving Jones the world stage to light himself on fire with a Molotov cocktail, before shooting himself with a shotgun.

30Budd Dwyer

Budd Dwyer

In 1987, Budd Dwyer who was the former Treasurer of Pennsylvania called in a press conference and committed public suicide live on national television. He had been convicted for accepting a bribe and just before he shot himself, he claimed that he had been framed. After his suicide and further investigation, Wiliam T. Smith, whose testimony was largely used for Dwyer's conviction, admitted to lying under oath.