Love them or hate them, reality shows have truly taken over television. The boom in these shows has been a result of people wanting to escape their own lives and live vicariously through these real people. From drama and major arguments to over the top personalities and the super rich, reality TV truly presents people from all ends of the spectrum.
We hate to break it to you, but despite viewers getting invested and taking to social media to voice their strong opinions, so many of these reality shows are scripted and present contrived situations to keep a storyline riveting.
Say Yes To The Dress
The famous bridal reality show Say Yes To The Dress follows brides-to-be in finding their dream wedding dress at the Kleinfeld boutique in New York. Through 16 seasons we have watched brides overwhelmed with happiness, while others have had meltdowns as a result of a demanding family member or overall wedding stress.
Producers vet the people attending the appointment with the bride and will ask the outspoken individuals to repeat or stress a comment to make the scene more dramatic. The bridal boutique is much smaller and more crowded than on TV, giving the wrong idea to others who go and visit.
Just about the only real part of Pawn Stars is the fact that the shop and people are real, but everything else is totally fake. The stars including Rick Harrison will never be seen working the counters, instead working from private back rooms and all of the customers that enter the shop are pre-arranged.
Prior to filming, potential participants fill out a form with their needs and producers choose the best ones to film. The industry itself is quite questionable, so why would a TV about it be legit?
Celebrity chef Gordon Rmsay is known for his potty-mouth, hilarious yet incredibly rude insults and ability to make people crumble in the kitchen. Despite Hell’s Kitchen appearing to be legitimate with real diners in the restaurant, it turns out that these people are actors who are paid to be there.
Ramsay also has bodyguards hidden around the place in case anything gets really hot in the kitchen. Participants never stop filming which leads almost all of them to take up smoking for stress and in the end, the prize to work in one of Ramsay’s restaurants can sometimes not even work out.
Today, they are recognized by their long beards and patriotic bandanas, but if you look at photos of the Robertson family before they were famous, you would see some clean-cut men that look more like golfers than hunters.
While the characters on the show are real, the drama is very much thought up by producers and the characters are inserted into it. To make you squirm even more, bleeps are added in post-production to make it sound like the family are swearing at each other much more than they really are.
Contestants from cupcake wars come from bakeries all over the United States to compete. Being experts in their field, you would think that a cupcake baking competition would not require any assistance.
However, it is said that in some of the rounds where a mystery ingredient must be incorporated into the cake, the contestants are told what it is beforehand and have to act surprised for the cameras when they are rolling. What happened to old-fashioned healthy competition?
Long Island Medium
Theresa Caputo has made a living out of being a medium and connecting people with their loved ones who have passed. However, everything is not as it seems in this case and Caputo has been at the center of scandals which claim that all of the information about her clients and audiences in the shows have been given to her.
Producers find out all of the information through social media, questionnaires and background checks and then feed it to Theresa on stage. Certain people are said to be sat in particular places in her audiences too.
TLC’s Cake Boss became a fan favorite through the years, watching the amazing cakes produced by Buddy and the Valastro family, as well as their interpersonal family dynamics. However, it turns out the show is largely staged and Buddy is never at the Hoboken shop and only goes for filming.
In addition, the big reveal of the cake is totally staged and producers have to request it from the customer first. Worst of all, most of the incredible, inventive cakes are inedible as they have to stand up with cladding. Sheet cakes are given with the cakes which are edible.
The Biggest Loser
Every weigh in, audiences eagerly await to see how much weight the contestants have lost. But it turns out that the fancy technology which shows their weight loss is all fake and they are weighed and measure a full two-days beforehand.
In addition, the medical professionals authenticity has been questioned numerous times, with some claiming they are not qualified to hand out drugs. The show is contrived to show the contestants as much lazier and lethargic than they actually are.
The Bachelor/ The Bachelorette
The Bachelor and Bachelorette might be incredibly entertaining, but so much of the show is planned ahead and lines are fed to the cast. Producers weed out the dramatic girls and coax them into making dramatic sequences with others.
Scenes where two girls go and talk to each other are thought up by producers and they are given a subject to talk about. The rose ceremony is all planned out by producers and casting is done very carefully to know who will end up as the winner or in the top 3.
The Real Housewives
While there was much speculation that The Real Housewives was scripted, Real Housewives Of New Jersey star Theresa Guidice all but confirmed this when she swore under oath in court that it was.
The meetings between the women are all planned by producers and a lot of the big arguments are talked out with producers of what will be said before the Housewives go at each other. As much as the women claim they are going on girl trips and the price tags are shown, they are always comped.
There are always those shots outside the American Idol auditions with thousands of people hyped up and waiting in line to get their time to sing for the judges.
However, these shots aren’t exactly real and contestants have to make it through a few rounds with producers before even making it to see the judges, this is what the crowds wait for. Also, producers often invite contestants in after scouting them online and they don’t even have to apply.
MTV’s The Hills was the spinoff from Laguna Beach and was a hit with audiences. There was always so much speculation whether the show was fake and producers decided to end the whole series by having Brody Jenner stand on a Hollywood set as they rolled it all back behind him in the closing scene.
So basically it was all fake and cast members admitted it was scripted when they were no longer contracted. The reboot of The Hills in 2019 has come under the same questioning.
The Simple Life
Audiences couldn’t get enough of watching socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie tackle menial jobs in small towns in the U.S. while staying with local families. The show was undoubtedly hilarious, but Paris Hilton later admitted producers had them play roles of the ditsy blonde and the troublemaker.
Hilton admitted she found playing this airhead with a baby voice quite funny and she would often revert back to this character voice after using it on the show for five years.
The Jerry Springer Show
Who doesn’t know the famous chant “Jer-ry, Jer-ry”? The Jerry Springer Show was very controversial, focusing on real family problems, many of which were exposed through paternity tests. While real people would go to the producers with stories, many of the stories taken on weren’t exactly real.
Some participants admitted they were actors while others told producers before they would start a fist-fight to get more ratings. Producers would encourage guests to fight and would coach them on when to do it. Jerry always had to be out the way when a fight started.
With 38 seasons since 2000, there is no doubt Survivor was a very popular reality show. Contestants come together to form two tribes and are taken into the isolated wilderness and have to survive by themselves. They take on challenges for rewards and every week the tribe kick someone out.
Despite being in the isolated wilderness and are said to fend for themselves, past contestants have admitted to being given food and fire by producers. In some cases, body doubles were used for some of the contestants challenges. So basically, survival wasn’t a concern at all.
The HGTV show has been one of the channel’s biggest successes. The premise of the show is that their realtors find you your dream home within your budget. But it turns out that when people participate in the show, they already know which house they are going to purchase.
Producers have also been accused of lying about storylines to make their upgrade to a new home more urgent than ever. HGTV responded by claiming the process is much longer than a regular reality show and they have to film episodes after final decisions are made.
It seems that viewers are being catfished about the MTV show catfish. Audiences were brought in by Nev Schulman’s documentary on his own experience and stayed for the crazy stories that followed.
However, it seems that the show is a little too contrived and the catfishes are already found by producers before Nev and Max open their laptops. In addition, the catfishes are already have mic’s on before the men meet them, questioning the premise of being totally surprised when their victim confronts them.
Breaking Amish aired on TLC from 2012 until 2017. The reality show focused on five Anabaptist adults who ventured out to New York City and try out a different way of life.
However, it turns out that the participants on the show already knew each other well and weren’t strangers, two of them already had a child together. Also, some of the characters were said to have already decided to leave the Amish life behind when the reality show approached them to star in the show.
Britain’s Got Talent
The British counterpart to America’s Got Talent got outed as being fake in a very public scandal. In 2015, a dog act came on the show named Jules and Matisse. Audiences and judges fell in love with the adorable dog and the wonderful relationship with her owner, Jules.
With the double act getting through all the rounds with amazing routines, in the final the dog, Matisse, ended up being too scared to take on the high-wired stunt. Instead, producers brought in a very similar looking dog to do the stunt and the act ended up winning. It was rigged and viewers were furious.
What Not To Wear
While the premise of the show is that participants get $5,000 dollars to redo their closet and get a total makeover. While past participants have confirmed that they are given this amount, what they don’t tell you is that producers get rid of every piece of clothing they own and give it away to charity, they don’t have much of a say.
They have to pay tax on all of the clothes and also have to pay for tailoring which is why they look so good. Many people admitted they were upset to see some pieces go and didn’t have enough money to replace everything.
Pimp My Ride
MTV’s Pimp My Ride was one of the most popular reality shows during that time. Rapper Xzibit would turn up at people’s houses who had really terrible cars that were in desperate need of a revamp.
As it turns out, the car makeover was totally cosmetic for the cameras, and the team at West Coast Customs didn’t do anything to change the engines or power of the car. In fact, someone who was on the show noted that their car barely even ran after getting it back.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians
While Keeping Up With The Kardashians is a guilty pleasure for so many, watching the wealthy Kardashians live a rich and crazy lifestyle with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
After much speculation about the show being fake, the rumors were all but answered when Kim stepped out of a studio in Los Angeles in the same hair, makeup and outfit she was supposedly wearing in a car in Dubai, talking about how she was going to divorce then-husband Kris Humphries.
Another MTV show that was very popular was Cribs. Celebrities would show off their insane homes as audiences gawked at their luxurious life. Running for 13-years, many recognizable celebrities were featured, showing off not just their houses, but also their jewelry, closets, cars and more.
However, MTV was exposed when a woman named Janette Verla sued the channel for featuring her leased house as rapper Ja Rule’s crib. After this happened, fans started to question which other celebrities showed fake houses.
Storage War follows a group of bidders who purchase abandoned storage units at blind auctions. Traveling through different states, the team place bids on different units, sometimes they are worthless and other times they end up striking gold.
However, in 2012 things turned sour when one of the stars of the show, David Hester, accused the producers of the show being fake. He claimed that certain bidders were set up to fail while helping the other bidders to win.
90 Day Fiance
From the get-go there are so many things about 90 Day Fiance that are so off. The show is essentially made so that someone from each couple can emigrate to the U.S. on a K-1 visa.
The problem with this is that the couple have to get married before the 90 days otherwise the tourist visa will expire. Of course, this causes plenty of drama between the couples but the producers stir the pot in order to get better reactions for the show, often asking participants to say or do certain things.
Reality TV thrives on drama, and what more drama is there than a divorce and marital disputes? Divorce Court focuses on the drama and issues in marriage, hearing both sides of the story and coming to an eventual conclusion on a resolution.
However, someone outed the show as being fake, revealing that her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were recruited to take part in the show. The couple were not married at the time and were given a backstory by producers that they could lie on the show about.
Before the Kardashians, there was The Osbournes. Ozzy, Sharon, Kelly and Jack Osbourne. Their show was no holds barred with plenty of cursing at each other. Viewers couldn’t get enough of their bizarre but loving family dynamics and had some belly laughs from antics that seemed so real.
But unfortunately it wasn’t and it later came out that much of The Osbourne’s was actually scripted. Producers would allegedly have conversations with the family going through what would happen in each episode.
MTV isn’t known for having the most real of reality shows, and Teen Mom wasn’t any different. The show followed 16 and Pregnant, showing the young mom’s lives after they gave birth.
There is no denying much of the drama, arrests and breakups on the show was very much real, but it was also claimed that the producers would carefully edit conversations between different family members to make it more dramatic and fiery than it actually was in reality.
Beauty and the Geek
Reality TV fans will never forget Beauty and the Geek, pairing beautiful women with nerdy guys to compete in couples challenges. The geeks on the show are portrayed to be socially awkward and unable to talk to the opposite sex, but this was not the case in real life.
It turned out that one of the guys from the show had a girlfriend back home that he met when studying for his PHD. In addition, the show was rocked by accusations that some of the contestants were paid actors.
I Am Cait
I Am Cait followed the gender transition of Caitlyn Jenner, documenting her journey in becoming her true self with all the trials and tribulations along the way.
The first season of the show was very much real, however, once the viewers learnt all about Jenner’s transition, there wasn’t much more to show in the second season. As a result, the producers started faking scenarios for Caitlyn to react to on camera, giving each episode a different, fake focus.
Famously Single is the E! Networks reality show that features multiple single celebrities who the coaches try to set up with different people. The celebrities live together while going through therapy sessions and recaps in their quest to find love.
However, the celebrities are not the best actors and it is evident that many of the situations we see them in are contrived and the celebrities are uninterested. Different celebrities and people from their past are brought in to stir the pot.
Considering that WWE is totally fake, of course a reality show based around the Bella Twins is going to be less than real. The series followed Nikki and Brie with their respective partners, Nikki now ex, John Cena, and Daniel Bryan.
Much of the scenarios in the show were thought up by producers and plenty of the drama between Nikki and John Cena was played up for the cameras too. If the can fake wrestling, they can fake a reality show too!
WAGS quickly became one of E!’s most popular shows, documenting the lives and drama of the wives of sports stars. The show was heavily reliant on fake reality and producers often created drama between the women to make it more exciting for viewers.
While the marriage breakdowns were very much real, the conversations and competitiveness between the women was anything but real. There were certain women who were not even dating sports stars who were brought on the show to make it more interesting.
Jersey Shore followed a bunch of guidos and guidettes in a house on the Jersey Shore. Despite claiming they were all Italian-American, only one of the cast members was actually of Italian descent and the rest simply fell into this lifestyle due to the people around them.
While the physical fights on Jersey Shore were very real, there were certain situations created by producers to make it more interesting. In addition, producers would allegedly encourage excessive drinking to get the most wild footage.
Audiences couldn’t get enough of wife swap and it was so popular that it ran for nine years. Watching wives enter new households and change their rules to their own always caused conflicts among the husbands and children.
It was later revealed that producers tell contestants to act in a certain way and that the manuals shown were actually created by producers. The show is also edited to portray families in the way they choose. One contestant even admitted he wasn’t even with the partner they showed on the program.
Prior to becoming the President, Donald Trump led the TV show The Apprentice which saw many professionals compete for a place high up in Trump’s business empire.
However, when it comes down to it, the actual prize is just to become a spokesperson in the public eye who can promote Trump’s brand. In defending it, Trump claimed that it wouldn’t be a responsible business decision to put someone in charge of a multi million business just because they performed well in a challenge.
Naked and Afraid
Naked and Afraid is quite the extreme reality show, based on survival with nothing in the wilderness. Despite seeming real, there have been many claims that the show is scripted and producers will often plant things to add to their storylines.
Also, people will intervene in the process to ensure the episode has the outcome that the producers wanted. So while someone is put into nature, naked, the show is much more contrived than it makes out.
The CBS show puts strangers in a house with cameras everywhere, making them participate in challenges and each week the public votes one person out, usually based on their personality.
Apparently, production favor certain people and will edit footage to work in favor of them in the show. There was also an incident in the British version of the show when viewers accidentally saw lights go on for bedtime, then coming back on and being given instructions by big brother, showing it wasn’t actually time for lights out.
Dancing With The Stars
Dancing With The Stars is one of the most popular reality TV shows and draws in audiences of around 8.5 million per season. However, it seems that the dancing might be one of the only real aspects of the show. Some celebrities have an unfair advantage with a dancing background, Hope Solo revealed her dancing partner decided to create drama on the show after seeing a memo from producers to cut the couple.
Alfonso Ribeiro commented that the show is more about personality than dancing and Wendy Williams was kicked off in the second show of her season after refusing to follow producers’ script. There have also been reports of fake voting.