First there was the irate woman, with long dark hair and a low-slung green tank-top; then, the hapless guy being loaded from the street into an ambulance. Between those two and host Joey Greco keeping his cool a few feet away, there was nothing about the display that hasn't played out a hundred other times on TV.
But this was the heart of downtown Dallas, a little after 10 p.m. last night, and the commotion drew a crowd. People walking to bars or to 7-Eleven stopped when they saw a man lying on Akard Street and a woman behind him in a car, looking like she'd just run him down. The crowd on the sidewalks grew and began snapping cell phone pictures, while camera and sound crews in black Cheaters T-shirts circled in the streets.
According to one Dallas Fire-Rescue driver, somebody made an emergency call about the commotion. Greg Naber, a Downtown Safety Patrol officer on his bike, said he'd been headed home when the flashing lights caught his eye.
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Either way, the emergency vehicles piled up fast, blocking off Akard Street where it intersects Elm Street. First came the ambulance from Texas Lifeline Corporation -- one the Fire-Rescue driver said had been hired out by Cheaters -- adding to a scene that then drew four police cruisers and two fire-rescue trucks.
More than a dozen officers milled around, talking to bystanders and then to one another, before apparently deciding nothing about the scene was real enough to arrest anyone over. The wronged woman ducked into a white van, followed by Greco and some crew members, and rode off.
One officer said it was the first time he'd heard of any calls to a Cheaters taping, but that Dallas police are called out to the scene of reality TV shoots all the time.
Still, if you're watching Cheaters at home, chances are you'll be well impressed by this episode's extra array of bright, flashing lights when it airs. Anyway, says Naber, who said he saw police handle a 25-person fight in the West End late Wednesday, "That was a wild frickin' night. Until now, tonight was just coma city."