The end justifies the means, said philosopher Machiavelli in his composition The Prince, suggesting that morals have no value in the quest for victory. While this may have worked for 16th-century authoritarian rulers who were aided by a certain level of secrecy, these tactics have a way of coming back to haunt people who have TV cameras filming their every move.
Welcome to the era of Machiavelli 2.0, when entering a TV competition program gives contestants the excuse to be as despicable as they like, because the public will witness the horrors that unfold and understand that it was all just part of "the game." Covert tactics are expected on shows like Survivor and Big Brother, where backstabbing and deception are necessary steps in manipulating the competition, and some of the sneakiest players have been the best (Russell Franz from Survivor could teach officials at the Pentagon how to deploy psychological warfare against the enemy). Then there have been contestants who seemed to spend less time playing the game and more time turning on each other, perhaps in desperate attempts to thin out the competition, or just for the thrill of the kill.
Here are the best of the worst, the most dangerous of villains, the nastiest players whose tactics would make even Machiavelli himself blush.