The series premiere of ABC's Claim to Fame, a new reality series featuring 12 celebrity relatives and hosted by brothers Kevin Jonas and Frankie Jonas, got off to a shocking start Monday night. Maxwell Norris, the 22-year-old grandson of Walker, Texas Ranger star Chuck Norris, was disqualified from the show for cheating. Producers accused him of breaking the rules by hiding his cell phone among his personal belongings.
Claim to Fame stars 12 celebrity relatives who compete in trying to guess each others' connections to a famous star. They also have to keep their own celebrity connection a secret from the others. Each week, a "guesser" is asked to identify a contestant's connection. If they are wrong, they are eliminated. At the end of the season, a winner will take home $100,000.
During the premiere, another contestant, Pepper, was about to guess Maxwell's link to fame. Before she could, producers told the Jonas brothers to stop the show, reports Entertainment Weekly. When cameras started again, the Jonas brothers said Maxwell was disqualified because he brought a cell phone to the set. This is against the "no electronic devices" rule. This led to the show revealing Maxwell's connection to Norris. That saved Pepper, who thought Maxwell was related to director Steven Spielberg.
At the start of the episode, Maxwell said he never told grandfather he was going to be on the show. After his rule violation was revealed, Maxwell said it is "going to be tough explaining this one" to Norris. "I'd be nervous to go home to my grandfather, and my grandfather isn't even Chuck Norris! So good luck. Have fun, Max," another contestant, Logan, joked.
Maxwell later told EW he still hasn't talked to his famous grandfather about the show yet. "I have not told my grandpa that I will be on Claim to Fame," Maxwell said in a statement. "I'll let you know when he does end up watching and share any reaction he may have to my brief appearance. Most kids don't want to disappoint their grandparents, and no one wants to disappoint Chuck Norris!"
Kevin told USA Today that Maxwell's disqualification "threw us all for a curveball" and insisted it was not staged. "This person actually smuggled another phone in. It's like, did you not see the 98 cameras just in your room alone? I don't understand it," Kevin said. He also thought the situation would endanger the entire show, but Frankie quickly realized the moment made for great television.
Claim to Fame airs on ABC Mondays at 10 p.m. ET and is available to stream on Hulu. The premiere episode also included Simone Biles' sister Adria Louise Biles and Whoopi Goldberg's granddaughter, Amara Skye Dean. The show is produced by Kinetic Content and Walt Disney Alternative Television.