40 Reality TV Shows That Aren’t RealBy Barbara Norris
We have to admit, we love indulging in a bit of reality show drama now and again, yelling at our television sets while these fame-hungry people do crazy things. However, the more you watch, the more you begin to puzzle over whether your favorite shows are “genuine” and whether the “villains” are as bad as the directors and producers want you to think.
Truth be told, many of these purported “reality shows” are carefully orchestrated and foreordained. They include deliberately fabricated dramas, paid actors, and sometimes even both. To prove this point, we’ve assembled a collection of the world’s most infamous reality TV shows that have slipped and accidentally let the world in on their dirty little secret – that every twist and turn has been carefully scripted.
The Osbournes was one of the first reality shows to follow a group of eccentric people around while they took part in a ton of dramatization. Given how out-there this family is, though, who wouldn’t be curious to know what happens episode after episode?
In the long run, it came out that many of the show’s most dramatic moments were scripted. The Osbournes thought of insane plotlines before filming their scenes. We can only imagine the collaboration of crazy ideas and the effort that went into making each episode as “real” as it could be.
Given the ubiquity of reality TV, it makes sense that eventually one would pop up about cakes. Sadly, Cake Boss truly takes the cake with regards to orchestrating the drama. Indeed, the fakery extends so far that Valastro is believed to not even work in his shop when the show isn’t being filmed.
Many of the weddings have also been claimed to have been phony. Did you know that you can’t even eat those costly cakes? To make them stand up like that, they must be supported with cladding. All for the “reality” of the show!
One of the first to spawn the reality audition TV show format, American Idol emerged on the scene in 2001. The show takes its audience through a series of singing tryouts, after which a solitary champ is crowned the American Idol out of thousands of hopefuls from all over the country.
As it turns out, the producers send headhunters to ensure that, along with the wonderful singers, they select a handful of awful contestants who are given a chance only to entertain the audience with how terrible they are. The “auditions” for American Idol aren’t anywhere near as “open” as they claim.
Say Yes to the Dress
The celebrated bridal reality TV drama Say Yes To The Dress follows brides-to-be in discovering their fantasy wedding dress at the Kleinfeld shop in New York. Many people who have appeared on the show claim that the dialogue was practiced and sensationalized.
They will request that level-headed people rehash or stress a remark to make the scene more emotional. The bridal shop highlighted on the show was likewise misrepresented in its size and grandeur, leading to much disappointment among fans who visited it.
Hell’s Kitchen is a cooking show competition hosted by superstar chef, Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay utilized the show to turn into a household name and is routinely shown hollering at the less qualified participants. Indeed, Ramsay is as famous for his foul temper as he is for his culinary skills.
Though it may be engaging, it is said that Hell’s Kitchen is scripted and that the clients who eat the meals are paid performers. Though this is somewhat disappointing, it’s nice to know that the people being screamed at aren’t really being psychologically tortured!
Regardless of whether MasterChef or Hell’s Kitchen are genuine, most people watch these shows to see what inventive expletive Ramsay will come up with next. It’s worth noting that Ben Starr, a previous MasterChef contestant, penned a long blog entry asserting that the whole conduct of the cast is phony and deliberately overdramatized.
“MasterChef is entertainment. First and foremost. It is not real. It is not a competition. It is highly engineered fiction,” said Ben, a contender who made it to the final five on the cooking show’s second season.
90 Day Fiance
The premise behind this show is that an individual “imports” a potential spouse and has 90 days to wed them before their visa lapses. Countless things seem off about 90 Day Fiance. So much so that many fans don’t even entertain the idea that any of it might be real.
While a few scenes look valid enough for watchers to shed a tear, some of the show’s cast members blamed scripting for those extra-sensational scenes that made them look like monsters. Cassia Tavares said the network “produces” some flavor by “editing very well.”
Just like other famous reality TV shows, the most engaging aspect of Dance Moms is the dramatizations and fights. In a 2015 interview with USA Today, Maddie Ziegler revealed that the production team set it up so everybody was consistently distraught and shouting at one another.
“It’s hard to do a reality show when there’s so much crying and drama. The producers set it up to make us all yell at each other… The moms have a fake fight sometimes. Afterward, they just start talking and laugh about it,” said Ziegler.
Beauty and the Geek
There are many ways the makers of this mainstream MTV show twist reality in the background. Editors exaggerate everything to make the show a lot spicier. According to “geek” Nate Dern, editors fabricated a season-long romance between him and UFC ring lady, Jennylee Berns, after they drunkenly kissed.
Additionally, both the “geeks” and “beauties” weren’t as socially incompetent or dull as they let on. As a matter of fact, one participant on Beauty and the Geek Australia was subsequently revealed to be a professional entertainer.
Willie Degel gets behind the counters at failing food businesses and revamps their wrecked establishments. He does this by terminating “deficient” staff in a profoundly sensational style. One of the show’s members conceded the studio insisted that there had to be awful workers. They requested that the cafe’s staff go about their work as sloppily as they could in order to add to the drama.
The show is often reported as being fake. Mount Ivy Cafe’s proprietor said she enjoyed the experience with the exception of “having to change clothes every couple of hours, pretending it was another day.”
There’s no denying that Project Runway is a popular show. It provides a supposed behind-the-scenes look at what really happens at fashion shows. Sadly, the show has been outed by numerous individuals, including Jack Mackenroth and Daniel Esquivel.
They have freely spoken about inauthentic judging. Esquivel specifically addressed how the producers edited the show to sensationalize everything that went on between the participants. These fashion designers also suggested that the reality was far more monstrous than what was shown on TV.
Crowds have been following Judge Judy and her bizarre cases for more than twenty years. This judge is quite possibly one of the most popular reality TV stars in the US. While the cases are just about as genuine as they get, the results of each case are settled before shooting starts.
Another ‘secret’ of Judge Judy is that each case is genuine, but by appearing on the show, neither party has to pay, regardless of the decision made. The show pays for the arbitration as compensation.
Pawn Stars should be called Acting Class as most of its scenes are totally scripted but performed by amateurs. The store does exist and is owned by the Harrisons. However, it’s more of a vacation spot than a real business.
The stars don’t work the counter when cameras aren’t recording because of Nevada privacy laws. Just when we thought everything was unscripted with this engaging show! It seems nothing is real when it comes to reality TV.
The paranormal reality series Ghost Hunters turned out to be a complete fabrication, which will come as no surprise to many. Die-hard fans, however, may be sad to learn that many who have appeared on the show claim that it is scripted.
Previous case manager Donna Lacroix even did an interview which basically destroyed the show from a credibility standpoint. To be honest, it kind of makes sense that a show about ghost hunting is scripted. Fake or not, it’s still entertaining.
We would be incredibly happy if nations could really swap their weapons of mass destruction for cupcakes. For the time being, we have to settle for watching Cupcake Wars. This show begins with four contestants from various bread shops throughout America.
They go through three rounds of competition, baking treats to be presented in a showcase of 1,000 cupcakes. Though the show is quite sweet (pun intended), rumors are rife that the contestants already know what the ingredients will be before the competition.
People who like The Bachelor and Survivor presumably got fixated on Love Island right away. Basically, the show brings together a collection of singles on a tropical island. They are encouraged to pair off for romantic relationships, cash, and the possibility of winning the competition.
As indicated by a telling Reddit thread, the show is unfathomably phony. Everything from the confrontations to the intimate moments suggest that scenes are faked, with the producers going through many takes before choosing the most “realistic.”
Mob Wives took a lot of rough, extreme ladies from Staten Island, NY that were hitched to mobsters and set them in conflict with one another. Though you’d think this would create natural drama, a considerable amount of the show’s spiciest moments were orchestrated.
The vast majority of its members don’t really hang out together, so the producers fabricated different emotional situations and pitted them against each other. We hope these tough women don’t get carried away with their emotions. After all, it takes strength to master the acting skills required to be a reality TV star.
Toddlers and Tiaras
We flinch a bit when we inadvertently watch a few minutes of TLC’s reality series Toddlers and Tiaras, yet there are plenty of fans out there who truly love it. As with other reality television shows, the majority of its scenes are pre-arranged.
Individuals are advised to rephrase what they say, and even work up fights when everyone was, in reality, just fine. Well, the producers did a great job getting the toddlers to play their parts.
Britain’s Got Talent
Followers of Britain’s Got Talent generally tune in to watch Simon Cowell dole out imaginative insults to the show’s contestants (a role for which he is paid nearly $100 million a year). Like its US counterpart, the diverse competition showcases everything from singers and acrobats to comedians and bizarre performers.
Though you would think such a show would have natural entertainment value, it turns out much of it is manipulated. In 2015, it was revealed that many of the contestants on Britain’s Got Talent had fake stories, with producers doing everything they could to make sure the show remained entertaining.
Before Donald Trump became President of the United States, he was sharpening his acting skills. The Apprentice made him almost as popular as Oprah Winfrey, with the show revolving around Trump interviewing candidates for an opportunity to work for him.
Much of the show’s firing segments were highly exaggerated, and contestants knew that they were about to get the ax before it even happened. The worst part? There was no actual prize for the winner other than being declared the winner. What a sad state of affairs.
The reality of Property Brothers is a sad story. Canadian brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott collaborate to help broker the fantasy of a couple needing their dream home. However, much of the show turned out to be phony. For one, the siblings don’t ever redesign the whole house.
Furthermore, the show purportedly re-shoots scenes to make more ‘dramatization’ for those watching at home. Numerous couples pick a remodel project over a more costly alternative because the siblings show them a home out of their budget.
If you’re searching for a reality TV show that takes lying and scheming and betraying your friends to new heights, The Hills has all the gossipy drama you’re after. The thing is, a large portion of the excitement is scripted.
Spencer Pratt revealed that he and Heidi Montag needed to re-shoot the scene where they believed she was pregnant multiple times to make it as serious as the producers wanted it to be. He was told he had to appear to be infuriated.
Keep reading for more reality TV revelations!
In spite of the show’s title, real endurance isn’t as big of a worry as viewers are made to believe in this long-running reality show. Behind the scenes, producers give participants food and even assist them with lighting their fires. Though this sounds bad, it makes sense that they want to ensure nobody is severely harmed or put in danger on the show.
What’s more, stunt doubles are frequently used to get great aerial shots of the rivalries, and the showrunners mentor candidates on everything from their survival strategies to their clothing choices. It seems only the cash prize is genuine.
Duck Dynasty varies from other reality TV shows in that the stars unreservedly concede that a lot of it is orchestrated. Millions of people adore the down-to-earth family, but it turns out they’re not as genuine as they seem.
As it turns out, the majority of the show’s scenes were highly staged for ratings. One of their simplest strategies was to add bleeps in dialogue, making it seem like cast members were swearing. In reality, nothing offensive was being said.
WWE Smackdown / Raw
While many boys realize by age twelve that wrestling is phony, some grow up accepting these fights to be valid. It’s difficult to envision that there are fans who actually imagine that you can get smacked in the head by a chair more than once and simply appear the following week like all is well.
Is WWE genuine, however? The truth is a little murky. While the matches and the drama are all pre-planned and choreographed, the performers are still engaging in extreme and dangerous work. Indeed, many genuine injuries occur in wrestling, and the “sport” has a shockingly high death rate.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Over the last 15 seasons of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, there’s been a ton of drama. Many of the family’s most significant moments have been impeccably caught on film. So impeccably, truth be told, that if you’ve felt somewhat dubious, you’re not alone.
Whatever you may think of Kim Kardashian and her family, there’s no denying that they have figured out how to make billions of dollars purely by stirring up a fuss and getting noticed for how they look.
In the modern world, a subculture like the Amish truly stands out as unique. Many people are mesmerized by the journey experienced by the family in Breaking Amish. The show follows Amish individuals attempting to split away from their restrictive ways of life by moving to New York.
It’s known now that the show is actually fabricated. Indeed, these individuals aren’t even Amish. They are simply acting. If you’re a fan of this show, we understand how disappointing this truth can be. However, fiction can be just as entertaining (if not more) than reality, so there’s no need to give up on the show if you truly love it.
Here’s another show that follows breathtakingly rich socialites through their extravagant lives. Producer Whitney Sudler-Smith clearly wants you to trust it’s 100% legitimate. “People always ask … ‘How much is real?’ And all of it is real,” he said in an interview.
Could you believe that a reality TV producer might lie? Sounds outrageous, right? Sarcasm aside, Sudler-Smith revealed his own deceptiveness in that very same interview. He let slip that individuals on the reality show are altogether different from how they are depicted.
The Bachelor/The Bachelorette
Like other reality shows that focus on love, these two shows are loosely scripted. Much gossip has spread about the producers working in the background to create each episode’s drama-filled storyline. Everything from the in-fighting to the rose ceremonies is staged.
In 2012, a private discussion between contestant Courtney Robertson and a producer was recorded and leaked to the public. It revealed the producer “coaching” Robertson to fake certain feelings for the cameras.
Basketball Wives follows the lives of people who marry acclaimed basketball players. The show’s appeal lies in the sensational altercations between the primary characters, so it makes sense for the producers to stage and overstate these conflicts if they’re not naturally juicy enough.
Unfortunately for the program and the network, previous cast member Matt Barnes suggested that the show is totally orchestrated. Tanya Young supported his claims, appearing to be decidedly unsupportive of the show’s creators.
The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway
This show lives up to its title by endowing somebody a brand new home. What you don’t see on The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway is the shockingly high tax applied to the house. The individuals who win are hit with a tax bill that is worth 40% of the value of the property.
Unfortunately, it is extremely uncommon for any of the champs to actually be able to keep the house. We cannot imagine how heartbreaking it would be to have your dream home handed to you and then taken away again as soon as the cameras stop rolling.
The Simple Life
Watching rich and famous socialites attempt to live like regular people is definitely entertaining. The Simple Life put Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in circumstances that forced them to live the lives of working-class Americans. Though it sure was funny, how genuine was the show?
Brad Johnson, 20th Century Fox Television’s comedy development leader, let the cat out of the bag on this entertaining, yet semi-scripted, show. “It’s a way of storytelling that isn’t just a random slice of life. We worked with our editors and producers to impose a little bit of comedic editing and structure.”
Hardcore Pawn is a reality TV series that centers around the Gold family and their pawn shop in Detroit’s 8 Mile. While the show gives you insights about negotiations and people management, a lot of its dialogue is not legit.
Their responses and reactions are as genuine as they can be given that they have cameras in their faces, but the rest is completely pre-arranged. A significant number of the show’s former cast members later asserted that their inconceivably overstated battles with the Gold family were totally fabricated.
There’s a great deal of legitimacy behind a show about dedicated individuals at long last getting compensated for all their under-acknowledged work. Every scene follows a company’s manager going undercover and learning essential information about the staff working for the business.
We are disappointed to reveal that the reality TV show is, for the most part, fake. Indeed, many of the promises made to excellent workers were never followed through on. This is unacceptable. We can only imagine the frustration of the overworked yet underpaid employees.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
In 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race showed the world a different level of entertainment by gathering a group of drag queens in a reality TV show. Despite its fame, participants like Jaremi Carey have suggested that the show’s creators frequently amped up the drama by purposefully getting people worked up and then splicing the comments and reactions into other situations to make them look more dramatic.
This sneaky practice is known as “Frankenbiting” in the reality TV business. If you pay close attention, you’ll soon start picking it up. Sadly, the wigs and waistlines are not the only things that are staged on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
We were truly disappointed to learn that The Voice isn’t as genuine as we thought it was. Rock vocalist Adam Wiener asserted that he was invited to join the show but decided to reject their offer after he discovered how it worked behind the scenes.
He revealed that the show picks its entertainers and goes for certain melodies and music styles. According to Wiener, the show is entirely “pre-cast.” Contestants are restricted from sharing any of these details in order to protect the “integrity” of the popular show.
The Real Housewives
There have been a ton of theories as to whether The Real Housewives was staged or not. The discussion around the realness of the show reached a conclusion when Teresa Giudice, one of its stars, swore in court, under oath, that it was fake.
She asserted that everything, from the gatherings to the showdowns, is completely arranged ahead of time. “The image is little more than a carefully crafted fiction, engineered by Bravo TV through scripted lines and clever editing,” Giudice said.
Like many renovation shows, homeowners in Fixer Upper have already purchased the house prior to shooting. This means they aren’t actually choosing between the three houses at the start of every episode.
The furnishings Joanna Gaines carefully selects often aren’t included in the spending plan, so the homeowners generally don’t actually get these items. Only selected rooms in each house get a makeover, and there have been unverified claims that Chip only gets involved while cameras are rolling.
CBS’s Big Brother seems like it couldn’t possibly be faked. Cameras roll on a house full of contestants 24-7 as they face difficulties and eliminations each week. Because of its enormous popularity, there have consistently been questions as to whether the ultimate reality TV show is genuine or not.
The contestants are continually recorded, which makes totally fakery somewhat hard. However, with clever editing and the aforementioned Frankenbiting, it’s easy to create fake drama. Questions have also arisen as to whether certain contestants are given roles to play in the house.
Dancing With the Stars
Dancing With The Stars has been entertaining Americans for more than 20 seasons, and it continues to garner impressive viewership each year. You may have noticed that some of the dialogue in the show seems unnatural. Is this just nerves or something more sinister?
A few reports have revealed that the show’s creators routinely meddle with votes and use elimination as an intimidation method held over the heads of contestants who don’t meet their demands. Wendy Williams says she was dumped from the show for declining to stick to the script composed for her.