Being on live TV can be somewhat nerve wracking and dangerous, because anything can happen. You never know when someone might fall over, become a victim of a wardrobe malfunction or say something that they wish they would immediately take back. Unfortunately, once it happens on Live TV it will have been broadcast to the nation or even the world and there is no way to erase the mistake. No pressure…

So what are some famous and memorable live TV mistakes that have lived on in our collective TV-watching conscience for many years?

Janet Jackson’s Nip Slip

Otherwise known as “Nipplegate”, this controversy took place during the SuperBowl halftime show in 2004. During the live broadcast, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were doing their dancing and singing thing and all was going well, until Justin ripped away part of Janet’s outfit to reveal her tassel-covered nipple. According to an interview with Jackson after the incident, Timberlake was supposed to pull away the bustier she was wearing and reveal a red-lace bra – but he went a little too far.

The Federal Communications Commission fined CBS a record breaking amount of $550,000, (although the fine was ultimately appealed and voided) and the wardrobe incident made it certain that MTV was never asked to produce another halftime show ever again.

“Nipplegate” is thought to be the most controversial media event to ever take place. The event also made “Janet Jackson” the most searched for person in internet history and coined the phrase “wardrobe malfunction”. However, something good did come of the incident. According to Jawed Karim, the Janet Jackson boob scandal led to the creation of YouTube – so that now we can look up all of those precious TV moments whenever we want.

Kathie Lee Gifford’s Accidently Insensitive Questions

Actor Martin Short was being interviewed on the “Today” show when Gifford started to go down a line of questioning that had him a little bit confused. She started to talk about his long marriage and began to ask Martin Short how he and his wife had managed to stay sweet on each other and in love after so many years.

Unfortunately, Short’s wife had passed away in 2010 after a battle with ovarian cancer. Yikes! However, he realised that Gifford meant no ill will and he didn’t reveal her blunder on the air, simply answering her questions and stating that he was still madly in love with his late wife.

Afterward when Gifford had realised what she said, she made an apology and Short accepted, saying that people make mistakes on live television. That’s for sure.

Girl Interrupted… by Kanye West

While Kathie Lee Gifford made an innocent mistake, some live TV blunders are made via incredible rudeness. At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, pop singer Taylor Swift got up on stage to make her acceptance speech for winning Best Female Video. Just as she was enjoying her wonderful moment in the spotlight, rapper Kanye West took the microphone from her and said that he was happy for her, would let her finish her speech, but by the way… Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video was one of the “best videos of all time”.

The cameras then panned to Beyonce, who was sitting there with her mouth open in shock. West was then booed off the stage, flipping off the audience after handling back the microphone to the bewildered Swift. West was later removed for the rest of the show.

Luckily, Beyonce is a classy lady. When she won her award for “Best Video of the Year” for “Single Ladies” she called Swift back to the stage, gave her a hug and let her finish her speech then.

Live television moments – you never know when they will happen but when they do they are cringe-worthy and always entertaining. Make sure that you have your satellite dish installation to fix your TV reception problems so that you won’t miss the next big one.

Chris Hoole is a blogger who writes about culture, film, television and media. He loves to watch live broadcasts, because of the excitement of never knowing what will happen. 

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