At one point in the mid-2000’s, no late night garbage viewing was complete without an episode or two of Cheaters. While it originally aired in most national markets on The CW Plus, Cheaters gained even more notoriety once it found a home on G4TV in 2006.
The premise was that an ostensibly spurned lover would contact the Cheaters team with suspicions that their significant other was being unfaithful. Cheaters would then send a private detective to tail the suspected cheater until enough evidence had been accumulated to confirm the initial suspicions. They would then present the footage (peppered with audio recordings of phone calls of the now-confirmed cheater caught lying about their whereabouts) to the cheatee, and then once they were sufficiently good and furious — sic ’em on the cheater and cheating accomplice and watch all hell break loose. It was a simple, yet effective formula. Kind of like your Jerry Springer crossed with Cops.
But what was going on behind the scenes? I recently went down the wormhole, and here are some discoveries that I made about the trashiest show of the aughts.
Joey Greco Wasn’t The Original Host
This was something I actually already knew, as I was a fan of Cheaters from early on. When the show debuted in 2000, the brainchild of a Dallas attorney named Bobby Goldstein, the original host was named Tommy Grand (née Habeeb). Tommy Grand was kind of a damp sponge of a host and lacked the smug, sanctimonious pizazz of Joey Greco, so he was replaced in 2002.
The Show Was Likely Staged More Than It Was Real
Before Greco even took over the three ring circus, early into the production of Cheaters, the Houston Press did an exposé on the series by interviewing participants who claimed to have been paid for their involvement on the show. At the time they wrote:
The show’s concept from the outset was a mixture of fact and fantasy, but somewhere along the road to national syndication, the temptation to use faux cheaters must have started looking sweet. Actors don’t need to be tailed by Gomez for weeks on end. They don’t present security risks, and they don’t need counseling. They also tend to be younger and better looking than real cheaters, who often will not consent to allow the show to air their faces.
It makes sense. Although it’s tempting to ignore, when it comes down to it Cheaters is about as formulaic as Full House. Every cheating assignment starts out as basically the suspected cheater meeting an unknown person, then they’re seen holding hands or some crap, then they intercept the lying phone call, and then finally they catch them in full-on intercourse — and of course the cheater is always conveniently on a date with the person they’re having an affair with when confronted.
The Stabbing Was Also Totally Staged
In a 2003 episode, during the most epic confrontation scene ever, Greco and friends track down a shirtless redneck accused of cheating on his girlfriend, who was out on a boat with his mistress at the time. Rather than wait until they came back to shore, the team rented a boat of their own and threw down some amateur coastguard action by pulling the boat over and climbing aboard, which led to the angry boyfriend stabbing Joey Greco in the ensuing scuffle.
Sure, it would have been totally great if Greco had actually been stabbed, so we could fully appreciate his stoicism in the aftermath. The episode depicted the assailant being arrested and hauled off my police, however, Inside Edition later did some poking around and found that no arrest matching the description of the attack had been made by the Texas police department where the incident allegedly took place.
Additionally, a Dallas hotel receptionist claims that she had been paid $350 for her involvement in the episode as “the other woman” who was off on the boat with the cheater.
Sorry, guys. We’ll always have this, though:
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Joey Greco Also Developed A “Pseudo-Reality Series” Called Ghostbreakers
In 2011 Joey Greco was involved in some kind of mockumentary series about a team of ghost chasers, which inexplicably has eighteen episodes listed on IMDB. It was Wiseau-level bad. (Interestingly enough, Joey Greco also worked with Tommy Wiseau on a short horror film, The House That Drips Blood on Alex.) Here’s the sizzle reel’s YouTube description:
From the guy that brought you “Cheaters” Joey Greco has come up with a new way to make us laugh…. Coming this fall on ABC, you will believe in GHOST!! [sic]
LOL Joey Greco, this was never, ever coming this fall to ABC.
Cheaters Is Still On, Now Hosted By Clark Gable’s Grandson
Contrary to popular thought, Cheaters is still alive. After kicking Greco to the curb in 2012 in hopes of bringing in some fresh, new talent, Goldstein hired 23-year-old Clark Gable III, grandson of the legendary screen actor of the same name. One thing Gable shares with Joey Greco (besides being the host of Cheaters) is that he was actually stabbed at a Los Angeles house party in 2009. So between that and hosting Cheaters, Clark Gable III doesn’t seem likely to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.