Cheaters is a weekly syndicated American hidden camera reality television series about people suspected of committing adultery, or cheating, on their partners. Investigations are headed by the "Cheaters Detective Agency". It began airing in 2000, and has aired 15 seasons so far. It was previously hosted by Tommy Habeeb and Joey Greco, and is formerly hosted by Clark James Gable.
Cheaters airs on Saturday nights on The CW Plus. It also aired on G4TV from 2006–2012. The CW Plus airs two episodes: a one-hour-long episode followed by a 30-minute episode. A 10-minute version of the show called Cheaters: Amazing Confrontations is available through on-demand services. Actor Joey Greco was the show's longest-running host, hosting from late 2002 to mid-2012. On season 13, he was replaced by Clark James Gable, grandson of Clark Gable.
Cheaters has been rated TV-14 due to strong language, and sexual and potentially violent situations. All uncensored pay-per-view episodes of Cheaters are rated TV-MA as they contain nudity and explicit language.
The show's complainants can be either married or long-term significant others, and have included both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
Each episode begins with a brief interview of the complainant, detailing how the complainant met their partner and what has led them to believe that the partner is cheating. Next, the narrator (originally Robert Magruder, then Ken Eaken since 2015) describes the progress of the investigation of the partner (referred to as "the suspect"), including surveillance footage of the suspect's actions with their alleged paramour (dubbed "the companion") recorded by the show's private investigators and a recorded telephone conversation between the complainant and suspect, in which the suspect often says he/she is busy or at work.
When the investigation turns up enough evidence of the suspect's infidelity, the show enters its second segment, "the confrontation." The host meets with the complainant and shows them the evidence collected; graphic footage from the investigators—for example, the suspect and their companion engaged in a sexual act—is shown uncensored to the complainant but digitally blurred to the show's viewers; however, uncensored versions of the trysts have been released on DVD.
This meeting takes place when the suspect and their companion are being observed together elsewhere; the intent is to allow the complainant to catch the suspect in the act of infidelity. The host and the complainant, along with a full crew of production and security personnel, seek out and confront the alleged cheater. The confrontation often takes place in public, with the complainant and host both trying to get an explanation out of the suspect for their behavior. In very rare cases, animals unwittingly featured will have their heads blurred out for humorous effect.
The final segment, "the conclusion," presents parting thoughts from the complainant, the suspect and their companion as they depart the scene of the confrontation. Next, updates from previous cases, including interviews from suspects and their companions, are presented. Lastly, the narrator describes what became of the complainant, the suspect and the companion (and in rare cases, others that may also be involved) after the show.
The show was created by Bobby Goldstein, an attorney in Dallas, Texas. It made its debut in 2000. The original host of the show was actor Tommy Habeeb aka "Tommy Grand" (2000-2002). 2004 brought syndication reruns of previous seasons, edited into a half-hour Monday-through-Friday strip format with new intros by Joey Greco as host. In 2006, G4 began showing the strip version with faster-paced editing and music due to complaints that the show seemed boring and contrived, as well as a different narrator, for weekly airings on its Midnight Spank block. On December 9, 2009, G4 moved this show to the short-lived "Junk Food TV" block. G4 stopped airing the show December 2012.
With the premiere of its 13th season, the show began airing in 1080i High-Definition. The show's titlecard, used for eleven seasons, was altered to 3D, and more high-definition graphics were placed onto the show. The format in the very beginning has also changed to having the announcers read before clips of the episode are shown. On the shows fifteenth season finale, longtime host Joey Greco hosted the second case of the first run episode.
As of October 2016, Cheaters has started its seventeenth season.
On January 2017, the syndicated half-hour strip format version of Cheaters has return to cable television, this time on VH1 during late Friday nights/early Saturday morning slots.
In 2002, the Houston Press tracked down several people who said they were paid $400 per show by one of the detectives of the agency to act on the show, and were paid $50 per referral of other actors. One performer said, "What [the show's private detective] told me was that some of the episodes are real, but... they would do these ringer episodes to supplement the show." The show's private investigator denies that he staged anyone's scenario and further added that the number of inquiries the agency receives made this unnecessary. The producers of Cheaters currently reiterate the reality of each episode in a legalistic message at its end, though a Federal Communications Commission representative confirmed to the Houston Press that "there's no law or regulation against presenting acted-out scenarios as reality on television."
On December 16, 2005, four employees of the show, the host Joey Greco, director Hunter Carson and two security guards, were indicted on charges of restraining a woman. On November 9, 2006, the four were acquitted. In another episode, Greco was detained at the scene of a bachelor party while helping a man confront his cheating fiancée. After Greco explained the situation about the couple to police, he was given a short talk about disturbing the peace and released with a written warning.
On November 3, 2009, Inside Edition reiterated the claim that the show was staged, citing several more actors who said they were paid to appear. One of them appeared in the Greco stabbing episode and claimed it was staged. Despite the depiction of a male being placed under arrest for stabbing Greco, Inside Edition found that no actual arrest matching that description was made by the Rowlett, Texas police department, where the episode took place. The ambulance shown, along with the EMS personnel appeared to be from "Greater Dallas EMS". Greater Dallas EMS was a private transfer ambulance in the Dallas area but would have never been dispatched for a 911 emergency. They are now out of business after being raided by the FBI in an investigation known as Operation Easy Rider. Physician–patient privilege would prevent the hospital that treated Greco from releasing records to Inside Edition. Nothing prevents the producers of Cheaters from voluntarily displaying the records, yet they have not done so. Despite the lack of records, Goldstein denied in an interview that the episode was staged. In a follow-up, aired on Inside Edition the following week (November 9, 2009), Greco was interviewed by investigative reporter Matt Meagher about the previous week's accusations. Greco declined to respond, claiming that he could not legally do so.
On August 8, 2010, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press release reported that Bobby Goldstein Productions, Inc., and Cheaters II, Ltd. (Civil Action No. 3:08-CV-1912-P) paid $50,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit was brought on the behalf of two female office assistants who were the target of frequent sexual jokes and comments, unwanted physical advances, and propositions for sex. The alleged perpetrators included members of upper management. Says attorney Robert A. Canino, a regional attorney from the EEOC Dallas District Office, "just because the creator of Cheaters promotes a TV show business which thrives on featuring sexual transgressions, it is no justification for engaging in sexual improprieties which violate the employment rights of his female employees behind the scenes."
Visual Entertainment of Canada has released several best-of collections of Cheaters on DVD in Region 1. In addition the Cheaters Spy Shop was launched in September 2011 to sell items used on the show and has been promoted in episodes beginning in the Season 12. Cheaters DVD releases are uncensored, with language and sexual content (including occasional views of acts such as fellatio and penetration) shown unfiltered.