Reality TV interrupted by Osama bin Laden death news; reality stars comment as one denies news

Reality interrupted reality TV last night as news of the death of Osama bin Laden interrupted the broadcast of The Celebrity Apprentice on the east coast and The Amazing Race on the west coast.

This was actual breaking news, unlike the typical pretend breaking news that cable news networks advertise constantly, but for those on the west coast, the coverage of the aftermath–including incredible spontaneously gathering crowds at The White House, ground zero, and Times Square–did not interrupt their television after President Barack Obama confirmed and elaborated on the news that leaked to the media shortly before his statement.

That’s because NBC and CBS cut away from news coverage to air The Apprentice on time and The Amazing Race an hour late, respectively. On the east coast, NBC stayed with Donald Trump until about 15 minutes of the show remained, and did not mention what would happen to the conclusion. However, the full episode will be online soon and also will be rebroadcast on CNBC this Friday night at 8; NBC could also reair the full episode.

As the news broke, reality stars weighed in, on live TV (Andy Cohen was live on Watch What Happens Live with Alexis Bellino and kept up the inane chatter while referencing the breaking news) and on Twitter. Bachelor and pilot Jake Pavelka, for example, wrote, “Osama bin Laden will never take part in a US airplane being used as weapon again!”

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest is a very talented host, but as his tweets about the news proved, he is also unbelievably annoying, giving himself credit and acting as if he is the center of the universe in order to create a bigger following. It’s genius, but obnoxious. First he reported the news without citing any actual sources, as if he had some inside information. Then, before Obama’s speech, he announced that the speech was about to happen by writing, “I’m being told…” as if he has some kind of hotline to the White House. Yes, we were watching the news too, asshole.

But the most horrific responses came from–surprise!–an MTV reality show cast member. As this was unfolding, Real World Las Vegas cast member Trishelle Cannatella insisted (in a tweet she later deleted) that bin Laden was not killed by American forces: “Whoever found Osama Bin Laden after he died of being OLD is a lucky person. US govt obv paid lots of $$$ for the rights to that info.” She defended this as “Commenting on current news” and said Bin Laden was living in Palm Springs. She also claimed again that while Bin Laden is dead, the military had nothing to do with it: “Hes dead not from ‘us'”.

After I quoted her repeatedly on Twitter and called her a “moron” and her tweets “fucking unbelievable,” Trishelle responded and told me (exclusive!) that she was just kidding: “you clearly have no sense of humor.” One of her followers suggested my response was because I “still [don't] get laid.” Earlier, Trishelle wrote, “I mess around on twitter and my following goes up drastically. Thanks people! And please stop taking me so seriously. Geez! Lol”

Nice try, but wild and stupid accusations and theories aren’t jokes, and it is not easy to dismiss a Real World cast member who repeatedly brags about being drunk to tell her more than 10,000 followers to deny the historic work of the United States military and intelligence agencies.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.