Before the world had the Kardashians, another reality TV family ruled the small screen. In 2005, WWE legend Hulk Hogan and his family welcomed cameras into their home for the VH1 series Hogan Knows Best. With cameras ready to capture their every move, it was a newer concept for a TV show.
There were no rules in Hogan’s drama-filled environment and tense moments changed the family’s dynamic. The show ran for four seasons before it was canceled and ended with a real-life divorce. The show broke the family, but there were warning signs that the family would crumble.
The Show’s Original Concept
While the show turned out to be about Hulk Hogan’s family, that wasn’t the original idea for the series. Initially, VH1 wanted to document Hulk’s return to the ring before encountering The Rock at WrestleMania X-8. It might have been a better decision looking back on the series’ outcome.
Ultimately, Hulk wanted the show to be centered around his family and his daughter Brooke. It was a time when people like Hilary Duff were rising to superstardom, and Hulk wanted Brooke to have that opportunity. Maybe he should have let her flourish on her own because the show only hurt her.
It Was Slightly Scripted
Even in the early days of reality TV, you couldn’t believe that everything was happening naturally. Hulk admitted in an interview that the show had a soft script. While some moments were genuine, the family loosely followed a script to keep the drama going. Nothing is ever truthful on TV.
Hulk revealed that the show’s producers would give them scenarios, and it was up to the family if they wanted to act them out or not. Every scene viewers watched was decided on behind the scenes by the crew, without input from the Hogan family. You can’t believe anything you see.
Hulk Hogan Left the WWE
The show might have been about his family, but it also showed Hulk’s return to the WWE. However, the show’s inevitable cancelation had a ripple effect on his life. Not only did he lose the reality show, but he was also released from the WWE after a backstage argument with Vince McMahon.
Hulk continued his wrestling career with TNA instead of the WWE. It was his second time being employed by TNA. Brooke also took her shot at working in wrestling, but it turned into a massive failure. That wasn’t the only thing the show ruined for the Hogan family.
The Premiere Was a Success
Although it turned into a disaster, the Hogan Knows Best premiere was the most successful debut in VH1’s history at the time. The first episode brought in close to two million viewers. It garnered respectable ratings, but fans started to tune out as the seasons went on because of the toxicity.
The first season had many people excited, and people were anxiously waiting for the episodes each week. While the drama was entertaining, it took a dark turn towards the end. Hulk’s son, Nick, was involved in a serious car accident that injured someone else, and people stopped watching.
The “Protective, Strict Father”
When the show premiered, Hulk was supposed to represent the protective and somewhat strict father. His story would follow him being protective of his daughter and the guys she hung out with. However, it took a weird turn.
They had a competition to find Brooke the right boyfriend, and Hulk wanted to win so badly that he encouraged Brooke to be with the man he chose. Hulk’s role was also to discuss his former life as a wrestler and how that took a toll on his body.
The Animal-Loving Housewife
Meanwhile, Linda, Hulk’s wife, had a small part in the show. She was the one who raised their children when Hulk was away during his wrestling career, but that was not how she was shown. Instead, Linda was portrayed as an animal lover who loved shopping.
Linda was the more lenient parent. She had serious reservations about Hulk returning to wrestling because she didn’t want her son to get the same idea and become a wrestler. Linda didn’t seem that important to the storylines until later seasons.
Brooke, Linda and Hulk’s teenage daughter, started the show ready to kick off her music career. She had signed a $1.3 million recording contract when she turned 18 and was excited to become the next music star. But her dad had more control than she expected.
Hulk often referred to Brooke by her nickname, “Brooke-tini.” In regard to the boyfriend competition, she didn’t like the guy her dad picked for her. Brooke made rude remarks about the boy’s appearance, and they never hit it off. She just wanted to be a pop star.
The Black Sheep
As the youngest of the Hogan children, Nick was almost seen as the “black sheep” because he was always getting in trouble. He was two years younger than Brooke, but the two always had an amicable relationship. Like any other siblings, they liked getting each other in trouble.
While Brooke was the focus of the family, Nick expressed his desire to become a professional wrestler. However, Hulk encouraged him to take acting lessons to improve his showmanship. The show also featured him getting his Formula-D license.
As the final cast member of Hogan Knows Best, Brain Knobbs was Hulk’s longtime best friend and former wrestler. He was half of The Nasty Boys tag team. Knobbs was often shown staying with the Hogans, but Linda didn’t like him.
He would come to babysit Brooke and Nick when Hulk and Linda left town even though they were old enough to take care of themselves. Brooke and Nick referred to him as “Uncle Knobbs” because he was part of the family. He was known for his sarcastic comments and jokes.
They Started Filming a Fifth Season
VH1 canceled Hogan Knows Best after the fourth season, but they had already started filming the fifth season. The show came close to including the extra season, but there were too many disputes behind the scenes between Hulk, Linda, and Nick.
The family was making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and the producers decided to halt filming. They thought a break would allow the family to settle their differences but ultimately canceled the show because there were too many issues. The aftermath was even worse than people thought.
Brooke Almost Got a Spin-Off
Despite the show’s cancellation, VH1 wanted to keep the idea going without the rest of the family. In 2008, Brooke Knows Best made its debut. Producers expected it to carry the momentum from Hogan Knows Best, but that was far from the truth.
Although it didn’t receive anything close to the ratings of the original show, Brooke Knows Best lasted two seasons with 20 episodes. She got her few minutes of solo fame, but it wasn’t worth it. She had to deal with the fall-out of her family drama on camera.
Not Many Episodes
While four seasons may seem like a lot, the show only had 43 episodes. It seemed like the Hogan family was on TV for years, but in reality, the show was only on TV for two years. A lot of the episodes and footage had to be thrown away.
The number of episodes per season was low compared to other shows on the air at the same time. Each season had about ten episodes, so people missed a lot of what really happened in their lives. The producers mostly showed drama.
They Weren’t Genuine
Besides following a soft script, Hulk admitted that his family acted differently when the cameras were rolling. He compared his family’s roles on the show to portraying gimmicks as he did in wrestling. It was as if they had completely different personalities.
Hulk said it was hard to act natural around the cameras because it felt like they had to be certain people to entertain the viewers. He said Linda would wake up early to put on makeup before filming began to create the illusion that she woke up looking perfect.
His Accident Destroyed the Show
In August 2007, Nick was involved in a car accident while speeding in Florida. He was sent to the hospital and released the following morning. However, his friend was seriously injured as a result of the crash. Subsequently, Nick was charged with reckless driving and underage drinking.
He faced major lawsuits and backlash from the media. It didn’t look good for VH1 because Nick’s friend eventually died from his injuries. The Hogan family also said they were saddened by the charges against Nick because his friend wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
Linda Went Off the Rails
Initially, VH1 planned to update viewers on the Hogan family after the show ended but decided against it. They didn’t inform viewers what happened because the family members went down dark paths. Linda, for example, started dating someone 30 years younger than her.
After the separation, Linda started dating Charlie Hill, a 19-year-old, while she was about to turn 50. He was barely an adult, and the network felt embarrassed to show what happened to the Hogans in the aftermath. It was disappointing to see how far they fell.
Brooke’s Music Career Flopped
The show featured Brooke trying to make it in the music industry, but Hogan Knows Best did nothing for her career. Hulk hoped the show would help her become the next big thing in music, but it had the opposite effect.
Brooke’s first album, Undiscovered, only sold 127,000 sales in the US. She thought changing labels would make a difference, but it made things worse. Her second album, The Redemption, barely 15,000 albums. Let’s just say she isn’t appearing on the top hit charts these days.
From A-List to B-List
Before the show, the Hogans were barely A-list celebrities. However, after Hogan Knows Best, the cast could only book low-level B-List gigs. They barely spoke to Nick, and Linda was running around town, telling her story to every B-list talk show.
Since Brooke’s music career floundered, she also fell into the B-list category. Brooke could only get booked for B-list shows and films with little success. Hulk’s wrestling career took a back seat with Impact Wrestling, and it was a forgettable run. They barely made headlines anymore.
It Was Also on MTV
The series wasn’t exclusively on VH1; MTV also held the show’s rights to broadcast it internationally. It got plenty of exposure on MTV in Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Norway, and Finland. It’s no surprise that other countries have a skewed view of how Americans act.
Maybe if the show lasted a little longer, it would have made it to MTV in the US. MTV might have down a better job marketing Hogan Knows Best, and it would have been on the air for more than 43 episodes. However, we will never know.
Their Divorce Was Rough
Along with Nick’s car accident, the show ended because of Hulk and Linda’s divorce. While most couples would sit down and discuss a divorce, Hulk found out about it in an interview. Their split caused a family divide and led to the series’ cancellation.
It might be a selfish opinion, but just imagine how high the ratings could have been if the show continued and showed the demise of their marriage. The drama from this storyline could have been enough to keep the show afloat.
He Went to a Dark Place
There were many negative things going on in Hogan’s life following the show. In a CNN interview, Hulk said he was in a dark place, and it was the lowest point in his life. He started to think about taking his life because he was so depressed.
Hulk admitted that he practically begged her not to file for divorce. He said, “Our son just had this accident. If we do this now, it’ll make us look like Britney Spears’ family. Please, don’t file for divorce.” But Linda didn’t want to stay together.
The Show Ruined Them
VH1 might not want to admit it, but Hogan Knows Best ultimately caused more harm to the family than anything else. The Hogans thought fame would bring them opportunities and success, but it ripped them apart and strained their relationships.
In the end, Hulk saw his money depreciate drastically after the series. Linda wanted 70 percent of their assets during the divorce, leaving him with nothing. The other family members struggled to rebound and fell out of the public eye to deal with their issues privately.
The Final Nail in the Coffin
Some may not have discovered the secret as to why everything crumbled. Brooke’s former friend, Christiane Plante, was the final nail in the coffin of the family. She was linked to Hulk, claiming they had an affair. The incident took place on camera.
In an interview with the National Enquirer, Brooke said she could never forgive Plante’s actions. She said, “I think she should have thought about what kind of press she would get when she slept with her best friend’s famous father. Nothing will ever put my family back together.”
Hulk Played for the Cameras
There were many red flags throughout the series that pointed to the looming chaos. One of them was Hulk speaking to his wife and kids in the third person. Early on in Hogan Knows Best, Brooke asked if she could go on a date, and Hulk interrupted her.
Hulk shouted, “…Or my name isn’t Hulk Hogan.” It made no sense in the context of the conversation. He liked to refer to himself as Hulk even though his real name is Terry Bollea. He was too into his persona.
He Wasn’t a Good Father
Hogan Knows Best made it seem like Hulk was around often and a devoted father despite his busy career. However, he admitted that he wasn’t present for a large portion of Brooke and Nick’s lives. He was on the road a lot and traveled for the WWE.
While he was back home, Hulk expected his family to treat him like an authority figure after years of being absent. It put an emotional strain on his children, who barely saw him when he was working. Maybe Hulk’s presence caused him and Linda to resent each other.
They Had Weird Rules
The show revealed Hulk’s overbearing influence on his daughter’s life and career. It was one of the running storylines, and it came to light in the first three episodes. Hulk took over Brooke’s music career, paid for everything, and helped her with his connections.
While it seems like a nice gesture, there were problems with his control over Brooke. In one episode, Hulk shames Brooke for almost having a cookie. It could have turned into a big problem if Brooke had taken the comment seriously.
Close Father-Daughter Bond
Not only was Hulk controlling, but he also did strange things with Brooke. There were a few uncomfortable scenes where he and Brooke got a little too close. He once rubbed lotion on her butt while she sat by the pool.
Following the divorce, Hulk married Jennifer McDaniel, who happens to look exactly like Brooke. It’s almost weird how similar they look. Hulk even uploaded a picture to Twitter, captioned, “Brooke’s legs.” Most fathers would do anything to keep their daughter’s body off social media.
He Was Overbearing
Brooke wasn’t the only one who dealt with Hulk’s controlling ways. Nick also paid the price of his dad’s creepy and controlling ways. It was weird that he decided to discuss his daughter’s romances minutes after having sex and screaming the n-word.
Like Brooke, Hulk was jealous of all the time Nick spent with his girlfriend. Hulk wanted to set Nick up with an older woman who was more physically advanced. He tried to show Nick what it would be like if he broke things off with his girlfriend.
He Was Racist
It’s surprising that VH1 would want to continue working with Hulk despite his racist tendencies. Not only did he go on a rant and say the n-word during his leaked sex tape, but he also openly voiced his controversial opinions.
While spying on Brooke, who had a few friends over for a party at their beach house, Hulk sees that some of her friends are Black. He assumed they must be rapping because that was the stereotype he had about Black people. It was bizarre and offensive to African Americans.
Brooke Has Regrets
Once the show ended, Brooke was sad about her family’s dynamics. The divorce tore the family apart, and Brooke felt that she and Nick were left to implode. They all went in different directions, and she moved about 16 times. She was stuck in the middle of her parents.
Brooke felt that she lost her youth because she was always trying to please everyone around her. She no longer speaks to her mom, but she reconciled with her father. Brooke wants her family to heal and blames the show for their problems.
Linda Didn’t Hold Back
Brooke might have difficulty reconciling with her mother because of the tell-all book Linda released. Linda wrote a memoir about her marriage following the divorce, calling Hulk abusive and volatile. She also claimed he used drugs and steroids throughout their marriage.
Linda went on to describe how Hulk would strangle her, break furniture, smash lamps, and hurt the family dog. She said she feared for her life. She also said Hulk had many affairs, and she didn’t realize he was sleeping with other women until ten years into their union.
Linda Was Arrested
The Hogans each fell on hard times after their reality stint. In Linda’s case, she was arrested for drunk driving in 2012. She spent nearly a year swearing that she was not intoxicated and only had one glass of champagne. However, she blew a 0.084.
Linda eventually admitted that she had a little more to drink because Hulk’s sex tape leaked the same day. She was later sentenced to three years of probation and three months of alcohol education classes. It wasn’t the best time in Linda’s life.
Brooke Almost Had a Happy Ending
After years of struggling with the fallout from Hogan Knows Best, Brooke thought she had found the light. After dating a few frogs, she thought she had met her Prince Charming. Brooke and Dallas Cowboys player Phil Costa started dating and got engaged.
Unfortunately, just as she was preparing for a happily ever after, Brooke’s dreams were put on hold when they called off the wedding. Sadly, Brooke still hasn’t found “Mr. Right,” but she hasn’t given up hope. She is taking her time after seeing what her parents went through.
So Much Drama
The drama between Linda and Terry was ridiculous. It’s hard to believe some of their arguments were real, but they were made for reality TV. In 2009, long after the show ended, Linda and Hulk battled it out in court over who was responsible for paying the gardener.
Hulk ended up paying the man, but before he could, Linda made a wild claim. She said Hulk used the gardener to spy on her. Linda believed the gardener would watch her more carefully than the plants and tell Hulk what he saw. Hulk denied the outlandish claim.
Nick Paid the Price
After being charged for the 2007 car accident, Nick spent eight months in jail. His family also had to settle a lawsuit with his friend’s family, who was severely injured. Nick always had a taste for the fast life, but he took it too far when he got behind the wheel.
Nick was like the “black sheep” of the family and got into trouble frequently. After his time in jail, he retreated out of the public eye and hasn’t been seen in a few years. Nick had to live with the outcome of his friend’s injuries.
He Lied About the Show
Linda said Hulk lied about why they did the show. He said he only did Hogan Knows Best to make Linda happy, but she said that was not the truth. Linda said Hulk wanted the show for his own reasons that had nothing to do with her.
It seems they had problems in their marriage before the show. Why would they think doing a reality show would help their marriage? However, people who have good relationships probably wouldn’t put themselves in front of cameras in the first place.
Boy Toy’s Revenge
The 19-year-old guy that Linda dated after her divorce decided to get his revenge. Linda used to say that Charlie Hill was her soulmate, but she later called him a leech after he sued her for $1.5 million when they broke up.
Hill said Linda forced him to do humiliating chores around the house. He claimed only to have spoken up to prevent other young men from meeting the same fate. The lawsuit was dismissed, and Hill was banned from talking about Linda again. This is what happens when you date people 30 years younger.
If you were a fan of Hogan Knows Best, don’t get your hopes up about a reunion or “where are they now” episode. These four will probably never be in public together again. Everything was fine before the show, and now they don’t speak to one another.
Maybe if they kept a mellow life and didn’t put themselves in front of the world, they could have solved their problems privately. They also wouldn’t have faced the same problems (like arrests and bankruptcy). Hulk and Linda most likely would have gotten divorced anyway.
The Marriage Was Always Doomed
With or without Hogan Knows Best, Hulk and Linda’s marriage would have been doomed. They had a strained relationship from him being away most of the time. She also knew about his extramarital affairs but stuck by his side and ignored it.
However, she couldn’t take it anymore when Brooke’s friend told Linda about the affair. On top of their violent fights, Linda decided it was time to leave Hulk. She said he was an alcoholic and abusive to the children. They should have divorced long before the show.
Hulk Was a Liar
Hulk was known for telling tall tales on and off the show. He once claimed Metallica asked him to join them on tour, but the drummer said that never happened, and he didn’t know Hulk. Once they were separated, Linda told the world about Hulk’s lying ways.
She said Hulk told lies about everything. He once said he almost got into the UFC. It would be easier to believe if Campbell McLaren, who co-founded the UFC, didn’t deny Hulk’s claims. He didn’t care that people always caught onto his lies.