Before Tila Tequila: 7 historic on-air meltdowns

Viewers were shocked when the MTV star went loco during a recent webcast — but she's not the first TV personality to lose it live

Before Tila Tequila
(Image credit: Corbis)

During an hours-long meltdown that was broadcast live on the internet, MTV personality Tila Tequila stripped off all her clothes and delivered a series of bizarre rants that left some wondering if she was experiencing a breakdown. But Tequila — who's attributed the episode to anxiety over a lawsuit she's filed against ex-boyfriend Shawn Merriman — is just the latest in a series of famous stars and broadcasters who've lost control in front of the camera. Here are some other notable meltdowns:

1. NBC anchorwoman Jessica Savitch implodes (1983)

While anchoring the "NBC News Digest," rising star Jessica Savitch begins slurring and stumbling over her words. Rumors of drug use had dogged Savitch, and this infamous live broadcast seemed to confirm those suspicions in front of millions of American. She died three weeks later, at 36.

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2. Bill O'Reilly lashes out (early 1990s)

Last year, this video of a young Bill O'Reilly freaking out on the set of "Inside Edition" became an instant viral phenomenon. In the clip, O'Reilly directs an obscenity-laced rant at at his producer — prompting speculation that the TV personality had anger management issues. (Watch Bill O'Reilly's outburst)

3. Farrah Fawcett experiences "nerves" (1997)

During an appearance on "Late Night with David Letterman," Farrah Fawcett struggles to speak coherently and gets easily distracted by crowd noise. Fawcett's publicist later said her odd performance was the result of nerves. (Watch Farrah Fawcett flirt with David Letterman)

4. ESPN's Chris Berman throws a fit (2000)

A video of Chris Berman chastising his production crew first surfaced in 2008 and became an instant hit for sports fans. In the clip, Berman repeatedly wonders if he's the only professional working on the set. (Watch Chris Berman demand cooperation from his crew)

5. Mariah Carey strips on TRL (2001)

Showing up unannounced on the set of MTV's "Total Request Live," Mariah Carey takes off her shirt, rambles about her mother's love for the show, and hands out ice cream. (Watch Mariah Carey strip down on TRL)

6. Tom Cruise gets "jumpy" on "Oprah" (2005)

After convulsively declaring his love for Katie Holmes, Cruise leaps onto her couch and strikes victory poses. Some observers bought Cruise's teenager-in-love behavior while others called it a "desperate" PR stunt.

7. Jeff Macke breaks it down (2009)

During a guest appearance on "Fast Money," CNBC contributor Jeff Macke launches into a not-quite-coherent tirade against host Dennis Kneale. Macke repeatedly uses the word "crazy" in his remarks, leading some to worry about his mental health. (Watch Jeff Macke lose his cool on "Fast Money")

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