Five Families Who Are All Too Familiar, Thanks to TV

Dramatic turn: The fate of the A&E series was in doubt after a recording of a profanity-laced racist rant by Dog surfaced on the Internet in October 2007. Chapman apologized, but A&E suspended production of his show. To add to the Chapmans' woes, an ongoing legal case in Mexico could have potentially landed Dog in jail. Even though bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico, the Chapmans captured Max Factor heir Andrew Luster there in 2003. However, in January 2008, the case against the bounty hunters was dropped.

The Louds

Show: An American Family, PBS

The clan: Dad Bill, 88, mom Patricia, 82, sons Lance, deceased, Kevin, 56, and Grant, 55, and daughters Delilah, 53, and Michelle, 51

The plot: This 1973 series might be called the granddaddy of the modern-day reality TV show. The weekly documentary followed the suburban Loud family. In 1983, HBO broadcast a follow-up, which examined the family's reaction to instant celebrity resulting from the PBS series. It was called An American Family Revisited: The Louds 10 Years Later. And then in 2003, filmmakers Alan and Susan Raymond returned to TV with a third follow-up for PBS. It was called Lance Loud!: A Death in an American Family.

Dramatic turn: During the original run of the series, episodes featured real-life drama, including Patricia's demand for a divorce and the coming-out of son Lance. The most recent PBS follow-up documented his life until he died of AIDS and hepatitis C in 2001.

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