These Reality TV Shows Are Not As Real As They Want You To Think

Published on 08/31/2020
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It feels like reality TV has gotten more popular than ever before! We are talking about everything from home renovation shows to Pawn Stars to competitive game shows. Allegedly, these programs show us real people doing real things and leading real lives. But this is not the case! The truth is that producers work hard to craft these reality shows and hide the truth from the viewers. In case you did not know, they stage scenes, write scripts, and edit the clips for extra drama. They like to make rude people seem nice and good ones look bad. Trust us, you are never going to watch your favorite reality TV show the same way again once you are done reading this! Are you ready? Let’s get to it.

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These Reality TV Shows Are Not As Real As They Want You To Think

Love It Or List It

A lot of families on the show do not seriously think about moving out of the house. Well, why would anyone if HGTV is going to fix it up for you? It turns out that the producers ask the couples to argue on the show. On top of that, everyone on the set is already aware of the “structural problem” twist that seems to happen without fail. Next, the alternative houses that they explore are not for sale either. The craziest part in our opinion is that some couples with “listing it” endings are still living in the houses! On top of that, David and Hilary do not do much during the renovation process. They are essentially just actors.

Love It Or List It

Love It Or List It

Duck Dynasty

Here are a couple of photos of the cast members of Duck Dynasty before the show went on the air. They had been clean-shaven and sharp-dressed fellows who looked more at home on the golf course than in the wilderness. When it comes to the arguments that they have, they spew out scripted lines. The stars have even revealed that the producers would invent tense situations for the members of the cast. Who would have ever guessed that they also add in “bleeps” in the middle of these fake arguments even where there were none? They do this to make things seem tenser than they were!

Duck Dynasty

Duck Dynasty

House Hunters

When it comes to this show, it is all about looking for the perfect spot to live in. All of us can relate to this problem, be it in our dreams or from experience. Sadly, the premise of the show is built on a lie since families have already bought a house before they are done taping the episode! You ask, “What about the other houses they visit?” Sorry, but these are nothing but lies and fake houses. The producers also make up the unbelievably huge budgets and stage almost all of the interactions that we see.

House Hunters

House Hunters

Jersey Shore

We doubt that it is possible to stage every single obnoxious shenanigan on the show. Even so, witnesses have said that they exaggerate some of the scenes for effect. For one, the producers vetted anyone who stayed overnight, which means that they were not nameless pickups from the club. It turned out that even the brutal fight between Pauly and Vinny in Italy had been staged. What is truly shocking is that the majority of the cast do not even come from New Jersey. Another surprise is that Nicole LaValle did not go by “Snooki” before Jersey Shore. It might have started as a joke, but it stuck.

Jersey Shore

Jersey Shore

Long Island Medium

As the old saying goes, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Over the years, many TV shows have used fake psychic mediums. Theresa Caputo of Long Island Medium fame is one such example. When researchers looked into the methods that she uses, they found out that she first does her homework on people prior to the actual “reading.” You see, she uses social media to spy on them. When you combine this with misdirection, you get impressive “psychic” readings. This is not to say that there are no real psychics out there, but we doubt that she can be considered to be among their ranks.

Long Island Medium

Long Island Medium

Fixer Upper

Fair enough, Fixer Upper is not quite as staged as the other entries on the list. Sadly, it is still nonetheless staged. Do you remember when Chip and Joanna Gaines impressed the family when they see how their house has been renovated? It turns out that the high-quality furniture and the rest of the decorations went back into the moving truck as soon as taping was over. The whole thing is just for show! On top of that, reaction shots and conversations are filmed live, although guests have revealed that they were asked to repeat what they said to get a clearer recording or a better angle. This is less of a “documentary” and more like it was just “based on a true story,” if you catch our drift.

Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

It is pretty ridiculous of that couple to be so picky about the house that they turned down! In reality, they already decided on the home that they planned to buy. There are just walking through all of these “potential” homes without really considering them. This explains why they had so many silly reasons to reject the houses. A realtor who went on the show explained that the clients were required to either already be locked in a contract for a house or to be a new homeowner. How sad is it to hear that?

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

Mountain Men

Let us just say that exaggeration is not rare at all when we talk about Mountain Men. The stars of the show have all admitted that they are nothing like the rough and tumble people they portray on TV. Aside from that, they pretend they have more money than they have in their bank accounts! Many of the risky things they do on the show are nothing more than scripted recreations of the stunts. Do you remember the close encounter with the wolves? Apparently, the pack was actually made up of nothing more than friendly dogs!

Mountain Men

Mountain Men

Designed To Sell

What are you meant to do on a “renovate and sell your house” show if you are not really thinking of selling the house until one more year at the very least? This did not seem to bother HGTV. The truth is that the open houses on the show are staged and filmed with the help of friends and family posing as potential buyers. Aside from that, the producers also ask guests to shoot several endings for different scenarios. The repairs are not the best either, but the sloppy work is concealed by careful camerawork.

Designed To Sell

Designed To Sell

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Did you know that the Mediterranean house shown in exterior shots of the show is not owned by Kris Jenner? This house had been empty when they filmed those clips and simply stood as a stand-in until it was sold two years ago. However, this is not the only instance in which the show has diverged from reality. The truth is that the family members sometimes stage fights to keep the ratings up! This is not limited to feuds either because they staged at least two of the marriage proposals on the show.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Catfish

Viewers of this show are made to think that the victim contacts the producers because they think that they are getting catfished. Supposedly, it is up to the hosts to get to the bottom of things for their sake. The truth is that the catfisher is the one who reaches out to the producers. The catfisher undergoes an investigation, signs release forms, and agrees to be edited in a way that will fit the storyline. When you find a catfisher who seems surprised to be caught, the truth is that they are simply acting once more.

Catfish

Catfish

American Pickers

It is always fun to watch the cast members haggle on the show, but the prices have already been set in advance. This is what the guests who previously appeared on American Pickers said. On top of that, the producers are the ones who seek out the rundown locations instead of the pickers. The team sends representatives to check it out one month before the day of taping. Did you know that Jack “Hobo Jack” Sophir is not a hobo in real life? The truth is that he is a successful collector with several buildings to his name. He only started to use the nickname when the TV show started.

American Pickers

American Pickers

Cake Boss

There is something funny about the existence of a reality show all about cake! It does not matter since Cake Boss has a lot of fans anyway. Sadly, the storylines on the show are mostly staged. The customers always seem to be super surprised by the cakes that the team made for them. However, they already indicated how they want it to be done before the filming starts. This makes a lot of sense to us. After all, why would you pay hundreds of bucks for a cake if you don’t know what it will be like?

Cake Boss

Cake Boss

The Biggest Loser

Some viewers suspect that the medical personnel on The Biggest Loser do not have the proper credentials. This might explain the rumors going around that they give illegal drugs to the contestants. The scale used by the contestants does not exactly tell the truth either. As a matter of fact, it is nothing more than a fancy prop that does not do anything. The real weigh-ins take place two days before taping! The dramatic moments on the show have been edited in a way that would make the contestants appear lazier. Over the years, this has been the subject of a lot of criticism.

The Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser

The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway

The truth is that HGTV gives away a fancy house to someone on a yearly basis. This is not the reason it made it to the list, however. Viewers do not ever hear about a consequence of the amazing prize: high taxes. You might get the house of your dreams, but you will have to pay the IRS 40 percent of its value. In the end, most of the winners of the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway have no choice but to give it up. You can think of it as a lovely vacation that turns super stressful all of a sudden.

The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway

The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway

Deadliest Catch

It is already bad enough that this show is fake, but the methods it uses to create drama are bringing the fishing industry real problems. The producers pay the TV fishing crew, which means that they no longer need to reach their fishing quotas. They end up pricing out the average fisherman, making it harder for others to earn a living. On top of that, the show likes to edit the clips to make dramatic storylines. It once combined footage from two different storms to make it seem like just a single big storm.

Deadliest Catch

Deadliest Catch

Bridezilla

Are you blown away by how dramatic the women on the show are? You are actually on the right track if you think that it is too dramatic to be real. Some of the women who appeared on the show revealed that producers constantly pushed them to act more dramatically. They are asked to cry, get mad, and do multiple takes. It felt like the rule was that the more swear words they use, the better. On top of that, they only get more stressed out thanks to the presence of the cameras no matter where they go.

Bridezilla

Bridezilla

Pawn Stars

Isn’t it sad to hear that Pawn Stars is fake? To be fair, they are real people who work at the pawnshop in question. However, the customer interactions are not all that genuine. For one thing, Rick Harrison does not work the counters himself and only does it when the cameras are rolling. On top of that, the customer interactions have been scripted before taping! If a person plans to buy something from the pawnshop, the crew cleans the item. The customer also has to sign the consent form. This is not a surprise considering that many people do not trust pawn shops in real life, much less one on TV!

Pawn Stars

Pawn Stars

Ice Road Truckers

Do you remember the opening of its first season? It had a truck that dropped through the ice and fell into cold water. This scene was actually rendered with miniature models! It is pretty bad enough, but the members of the cast also revealed that their lines were scripted. Apart from that, the editing of the clips also helps make them seem either like villains or heroes. Even though ice road trucking is indeed pretty dangerous, the show has gone out of its way to make this activity appear riskier than it really is.

Ice Road Truckers

Ice Road Truckers

The Bachelor

When it comes to reality TV, it feels like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette have been around for the longest time. Despite its premise, the game show format does not lead to true love. In fact, many of the couples formed on the show go on to divorce. That is if they even married in the first place. A lot of the sequences on the show are either edited or staged to add more drama to the storylines. The producers have been working on the shows for a long time now, so they know how to pick the suitors that the fans will love. The events are also arranged carefully before they pick a winner.

The Bachelor

The Bachelor

The Real Housewives

Is there really anyone on the planet who thinks that this is the real deal. Teresa Giudice, one of the cast members of The Real Housewives, revealed that it was indeed scripted. We will take her word for it since she swore under oath! The majority of the fights had been planned, dramatized, or staged for the small screen. All of the cast members are actresses, after all. On top of that, the show likes to show off their fancy lifestyles even though some of them are suffering from crippling debt. It looks like they got into this mess because they lived above their means.

The Real Housewives

The Real Housewives

Naked And Afraid

You might think that the whole thing was unscripted since they really are naked in the wilderness. Sadly, former contestants have revealed that civilization was not as far as it is made out to be. A season three contestant even said that they heard club music playing an entire night. They also ran into local kids playing soccer at one point. The show is not natural at all since it is full of staged events, scripted lines, and heavy editing. There was even a contestant who said that a crewman poisoned her food prior to taping. They then edited the clips to make it look like she fell ill after drinking untreated water instead.

Naked And Afraid

Naked And Afraid

Property Brothers

The truth is that Drew and Jonathon Scott are TV stars. Even though they really do have experience in real estate, they only act for the cameras and smile for photos nowadays. The sad truth is that they get real contractors to perform the actual labor involved in fixing up a house. Like other HGTV shows, the “looking at houses” part of the show has been staged. Prospective clients are meant to be own a house under contract before they are allowed to go on the show. If any of the clients appear stressed out on TV, you should keep in mind that they are simply acting just like the brothers are doing.

Property Brothers

Property Brothers

American Idol

You are partly correct if you think the people that we see on the show waited in line for hours to audition. The truth is that the main characters have already been chosen months in advance. This is also true for the people who are super terrible but stay on for comic relief. We are sorry to say that the long-running talent show is just as scripted as the others! Talent scouts pick the actual contestants and hold auditions months before the real judges drop by the city. From thousands of hopefuls, they narrow it down to a couple of hundred and then several dozen. The participants need to travel several times before they meet the judges if they are not eliminated. The Daily Beast reports that they are told, “Some of you are here because you are really good. Some of you are here because you are really bad.”

American Idol

American Idol

Storage Wars

There was a time when Storage Wars reigned A&E as its most popular show. The show is about people who bid on abandoned storage lockers in the hopes of discovering valuable things in them. David “The Mogul” Hester, one of the stars of the show, ended up suing the network and revealed that the production was mostly fake. ABC News reported that his lawsuit alleged that the producers of the show would plant items and memorabilia to spice things up. In the end, he accepted to settle once he reached an agreement with A&E. He also got to return to the show, but it is worth noting that the producers have yet to ‘fess up to planting things in the storage lockers.

Storage Wars

Storage Wars

Breaking Amish

This TLC show allegedly follows Amish youths interested in leaving their conservative communities to go to New York City. They want to experience what it is like to have cars, cellphones, and electricity. Sadly, the network did not work hard enough to make things seem more natural. According to two stars of the show, they only met each other at the airport! Social media posts, however, show that they had actually been in a relationship for some time already and even have a kid together. Abe was also arrested for public intoxication in Kentucky four years ago. This means that he had not been part of the Amish community for much longer than he claimed. Other cast members are in the same boat. It is really quite shocking to hear that TLC had not been more diligent about this when they were faking a reality show.

Breaking Amish

Breaking Amish

Mystery Diners

The owner of a restaurant normally gets in touch with Charles Stiles, who sets up a sting operation to catch bad employees in the act. However, former employees have revealed exactly how fake it all was. Some of them said that the misbehaving “employees” are nothing more than paid actors. The real employees and servers at the restaurant were made to sign NDAs to stay quiet about it. In an episode of the show, Radar Online found out that “Chef Dave,” the new “hired” cook at the Grove Bar and Grill was really an actor by the name of David Gilbert. He also happens to own a production studio.

Mystery Diners

Mystery Diners

South Beach Tow

The companies featured on the show are real entities, but the events that South Beach Towing and Tremont Towing experience on the show have either been fictionalized or dramatized. This is what the former employees on the show revealed. It follows the adventures of two towing companies as they go about their jobs. Many of the incidents might have been based on real-life scenarios, but truTV made sure to inject more drama to make the whole thing more exciting. The “rival” towing company that shows up to hurt their employees and steal their tows is totally made up, apparently.

South Beach Tow

South Beach Tow

RuPaul’s Drag Race

One of the most famous reality TV shows lately, RuPaul’s Drag Race shows off drag queens battling it out. They need to impersonate celebrities and lip-synch to the best of their abilities. The show is full of drama, quips, and side-eyes, but a former contestant revealed that some of those are faked. Jaremi Lee Carey, also known as Phi Phi O’Hara, was declared the fourth season runner-up in 2012. Four years after that, he returned to appear in the second All-Star season and received a redemption story arc of sorts. He said that the producers like to provoke them behind the scenes and goaded them to say ridiculous things. When this happened, they would get the soundbite and use it out of context to make the contestants seem worse than they really are! It looks like drama is truly the name of the game here.

RuPaul's Drag Race

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Basketball Wives

In case we really had to elaborate on this one, the title of the show describes the show perfectly. It revolves around the wives of famous NBA stars such as Shaunie, who is the ex-wife of Shaquille O’Neal. There is also Tasha Marbury and Jackie Christie, who are married to Stephon Marbury and Doug Christie respectively. Matt Barnes, a former member of the cast, has revealed that the show is staged and scripted. He also expressed his regrets about participating in it. Aside from him, Tanya Young also decided to talk about these issues. According to her, producers would amplify the drama behind the scenes so that the tension would end up spilling over onto Basketball Wives.

Basketball Wives

Basketball Wives

Southern Charm

This reality TV show from Bravo wants the “charm” will distract viewers from how it is just like other Real Housewives shows. It has nearly the same format, but it revolves around socialites in South Carolina instead. We are not surprised to hear that it is not real. Reports have said that Cameran Eubanks and Craig Conover, its original dramatic couple, did not even really live in Charleston when they were filming the first season of the show. This then begs the question: was anything they said or did even true? On top of that, a different recurring star called Danni Baird has revealed that certain scenes had been “cut and pasted” in an effort to pretend that they happened earlier even though they did not really take place until later. All of this was done to amplify the drama on the show.

Southern Charm

Southern Charm

The Voice

Do you consider yourself a fan of The Voice? If you just said yes, this one might come as a shock to you. Even though the decision ultimately lies in the hands of the viewers, they pre-plan who would actually reach the stage level. In 2015, a Philly-based band called Low Cut Connie talked about how they were approached to appear on the show. Why did he turn the offer down? Here was what he said:

“A couple months ago the TV show The Voice contacted our agent and said they wanted to cast me… they checked out various Low Cut Connie videos and they wanted to have me as a contestant on the new season. I spoke to them a couple times, and they told me that they had seen everything they needed to see, no need to audition, and that I simply needed to get to L.A. in about ten days time to shoot for a month or more, depending on how far I got in the contest. I really thought it was a joke, but after many conversations it became very clear that they were serious.

The Voice is entirely ‘pre-cast’ and they had an opening they wanted to fill with me. I guess they really wanted that classic ‘big-nosed, greasy looking, Fonzie piano-player type.’ They wanted me to perform ‘modern pop’ songs but in my style, at the piano… but also be open to other duets, group performances, sharing sessions, vocal coaching from the musical genius that is Blake Shelton etc. etc. I would have had to cancel some Connie shows and clear my life for this fall in the hopes of that ONE shot to impress Adam Levine, the famous acne-survivor. Anyway, long story short… I said NO.”

The Voice

The Voice

MasterChef (USA)

Who would have thought that a cooking show needed extra heat? MasterChef is a pretty old show that started in the United Kingdom back in the ‘90s. The original version has since spawned spin-offs in various countries across the globe. For some reason, however, the U.S. version is full of bakery fakery! Ben Starr, one of the former contests on the show, said that they needed to agree to possibly being “fictionalized.” This includes humiliating portrayals that did not ring true to their personalities when the cameras were not rolling. He also explained that the producers faked their lines and spliced dialogue together to make it appear like they said certain things even though they did not. If you want to enjoy a more authentic version of the show, it is said that the Australian version is much more real. It also focuses on the cooking instead of added drama.

MasterChef (USA)

MasterChef (USA)

Chopped

This Food Network hit TV show makes chefs battle it out in timed kitchen battles. The cooks are each assigned a set of ingredients that they need to use to whip up dinner courses for a panel of judges. The weakest dish is eliminated one by one. The timed cooking challenge is real, but not everything on the show can say the same thing.

There are sources that claim that the producers purposely short common ingredients in the pantry in an effort to create drama and tension among the chefs. However, it is said that they have since stopped doing that. By the way, part of all the “drama” is when the chefs have to scamper to the pantry to retrieve their ingredients for the challenge once the “secret” ingredients are revealed. But the truth is that the chefs are given enough time before taping to go through the ingredients. They are free to make and formulate the dishes that they can cook.

When it comes to the “best dish winning” each round, this is not always true. The chefs really do taste tests and judge the dishes right away, but they do not always get rid of the worst one. Some reports claim that if a chef has a very compelling story, they tend to stay on the show. After all, it is a good way to keep the ratings up! This explains why they eliminate certain dishes even though it looks even better than the others.

Chopped

Chopped

Geordie Shore

This is the British version of a reality TV show that we have previously mentioned. The British answer to Jersey Shore is as fake as the original iteration of it. We bet that MTV was humiliated when they released a particular trailer for an upcoming episode back in 2018. It showed Marnie having her 26th birthday bash. However, the problem here was that the trailer was released on the actual day of her birthday, so the episode must have been filmed a couple of months before the actual day. Confused, viewers and fans took to social media to ask, “I don’t understand how it was @MarnieGShore birthday [sic] in the house a couple months ago and it’s also Marnies [sic] birthday today????” Marnie responded with a tweet that was gone almost as soon as she posted it. It said, “It’s coz [sic] it’s fake and scripted.”

Geordie Shore

Geordie Shore

Made In Chelsea

Up next, we have a different British reality show that is not based on reality as much as it claims. For the sake of clarity, the Chelsea in the title is not about the one in New York City but the posh area of London. There is plenty of drama that follows the wealthy youngsters on the show, but they are all generally fake. Former stars of Made in Chelsea have said that producers scripted scenes and created drama with a snap of their fingers. A former star even said that they would receive a call in the morning and instructions on what to do, where to go, and how to behave. Tina Stinnes also informed Daily Star that they used to film dinners at 7 o’clock in the morning! The producers also asked them to say “what you really think” to draw out their reactions.

Made In Chelsea

Made In Chelsea

Alaskan Bush People

Do you think that you will be able to survive in the Alaskan wilderness? This is essentially the premise of Alaskan Bush People. The Discovery Channel show follows the Browns, who the network called “a newly discovered family who was born and raised wild.” Not long after the show premiered, the story started to fall apart. First of all, their neighbors informed Radar Online that they did not really live in the wild but at the Icy Strait Lodge in Hoonah, Alaska. Locals also revealed that their “bush home” was not used for anything other than filming. On top of that, the Brown family had to go through legal troubles when the Anchorage Daily News learned that they lived outside the state from 2009 to 2012. This meant that they should not have gotten Alaskan residency dividends!

Alaskan Bush People

Alaskan Bush People

The Island

We are sure that it is not easy to live on a deserted island and try to survive for a month. This is the premise of an American show called The Island. Based on The Island with Bear Grylls, the contestants have to look for food, water, and shelter. Things often start out difficult, but they somehow find a body of water and some food at exactly the right moment. There is no miracle here, just well-timed twists. Fans started to question how authentic the show is, so the producers had to release a statement. It read, “We had to ensure the island’s only water supply, a muddy pool, would last through filming in the dry season and that there was enough native animals and native vegetation that could sustain the men for 28 days — as long as they had the ingenuity to find it, catch it and kill it.”

The Island

The Island

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