No matter how you feel about reality television, the genre isn’t going away anytime soon! Since the first major reality shows hit the air, like Survivor or Big Brother, literally hundreds have followed in their wake. Unfortunately, it appears that with each iteration, the ‘reality’ aspect of the genre has begun to vanish. Are you ready to have your favorite guilty pleasure exposed?! Keep on reading to find out why these reality shows are completely bogus!
As one of our favorite reality shows in recent memory, learning that Duck Dynasty was more false than fact was a heartbreaker. Despite how wholesome and likable the family is, there are serious production elements that take away the ‘reality’ aspect of this show. Storylines are curated by producers and many times the family isn’t even swearing when the production team throws in random ‘bleeps’. The effect is just for television, sadly.
As one of the flagship providers of reality television, the History Channel is responsible for curating quite a few hits. Unfortunately, their biggest program, Pawn Stars, is a little more staged than they’d like to let on. In the show, customers are handpicked for filming based on how interesting their piece is. Additionally, very few items are actually sold. To round out the complete sham? Rick and his family never work the counters.
We have good news and we have bad news. The good news is that Fixer Upper is probably the least fake reality show out there. The bad news? Well, it’s still fake. After Joanna and Chip are done renovating homes, all of that amazing furniture and decor gets loaded in a truck and taken away. The home renovations are still real, so at least we got that going for us!
As the, ahem, more hardcore version of Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn gave a slightly more realistic look into the life of a busy pawnshop. The show’s driving force was the bizarre conflict between Les, Seth, Ashley and their customers. As it turns out, the most interesting thing about the show was inorganic with reports stating that all the television show’s drama was scripted.
Buddy Valastro made Cake Boss one of the sweetest reality shows of all time. Viewers got to come along as Buddy made ornate cakes while showing them the entire process. While the cakes are real, the truth is that Valastro doesn’t actually spend time at his shop when the cameras aren’t rolling. We can forgive him for that, right?
Are ghosts real? Do spirits still roam our Earth as forgotten memories, vapors of a past that once was? We can’t answer that question and neither can the team at Ghost Hunters. Despite essentially inventing the concept of paranormal reality shows, numerous members of the team, including founder Grant Wilson, have been caught faking evidence for the program. One such moment was captured during a live Halloween episode and it depicted Grant triggering his own false paranormal activity.
Love It or List It
Who doesn’t love a good piece of property based drama? Unfortunately, Love It or List It is more fiction than reality. The show’s primary thrust is the drama between couples as they explore the idea of moving out of their homes. That drama, it turns out, is largely engineered, scripted, and rehearsed with the production team.
We are always going to be for a fun conspiracy theory. Unfortunately, the History Channel’s Hunting Hitler is about as fun as it is real. The show features several individuals trying to hunt down where they believe Hitler really died. Unfortunately, all of the science and research cited by the program is fake, heavily edited, or a complete fabrication. The next time you see Hitler in Brazil, just keep on walking!
Reality shows operate around the idea that we like to watch people make purchases. So, with that frame of mind, House Hunters found a slot almost immediately on the E! Network. Typically, this show revolves around a family looking to purchase a new home. Their realtor shows them different options and the drama revolves around which property they choose. Unfortunately, the show is almost entirely false. The families buy their home before filming and the other houses they are shown aren’t even for sale.
Storage Wars featured a group of crazy characters engaging in financial warfare for the right to treasure hunt inside of abandoned storage sheds. Yeah, the show is as real as it sounds. While always entertaining, star David Hester would break the illusion after revealing that the program was heavily scripted. Hester also revealed that the lockers featured in the show were routinely stocked with items.
Yes, we’re talking about the guy in the White House. Before Donald Trump was a President, he was a reality television star known for his work in real estate. Trump rose to pop-culture stardom via his reality business show, The Apprentice. The show featured Trump ‘firing’ contestants every single week as they work toward a job with his company. Apparently, Trump often made so little sense on the show that the editors had to cut his speeches together using dozens of video takes.
As far as bizarre garbage reality guilty pleasures go, Jersey Shore is one of the top cuts. While hugely entertaining, the cast of the Jersey Shore have already been outed as basically being actors. Their nicknames (Snook?!) were pre-selected during the casting process. The fights are all reportedly staged. The worst sin of all? Most of the cast isn’t even from New Jersey! Guys, we’re going to have to go sit down after learning this.
Say Yes to the Dress
What could be more dramatic and touching than watching a future bride as she tries to get the perfect wedding dress? Unfortunately, the producers of the show need a little more than just regular bridal drama. As it turns out, people are cast for their outspoken personality and urged to repeat and emphasize statements to make them more exciting. Are we starting to sense a pattern? Now that we think of it, do they even actually buy the dress in the show?
As one of the most intense reality shows on television, the Deadliest Catch is pretty hard to fake. While the crews on television are really out there working in the ocean, much of the drama and ‘plot’ is completely manufactured. For example, none of the crews featured on the program have actual ‘fishing quotas’. What’s more, the show is actively hurting the fishing industry as other reality fishing shows follow suit, thus throwing off the balance of their industry. When crews get paid outside of their fishing exploits, they can undercut everyone else on the market.
If you were a fan of watching rich kids back stab one another, you probably loved The Hills. While the show had killer ratings, nothing about it was real. Spencer Pratt would reveal in an interview that his ‘pregnancy reaction’ to Heidi had to be shot more than fifteen times. Additionally, the producers on the show have admitted that they cast friends and co-workers on the show because it created more potential for drama.
The Property Brothers are more actors than salesmen these days. The entire ‘check the house out’ aspect of the show is staged with clients being mandated to have a home under contract before appearing on camera. All of the emotional reactions from the clients are staged and acted which is mirrored by both Jonathon and Drew. It’s all fake, folks.
Who doesn’t love the idea of their boss working alongside them for a day? Undercover Boss features CEOs working alongside their day-to-day workers while in disguise. Along the way, viewers typically learn about the employees backstory while the boss learns how their company is really managed. The show usually ends with the boss making a promise to their employees. Unfortunately, this last aspect is almost completely false with few promises being organically made and even fewer of those promises being kept.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
The only thing ‘real’ about the Kardashian media empire is their bank account. Still, that doesn’t mean that they don’t know their worth! Despite becoming famous via their reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the bulk of the program was actually staged. Literally. Their house in the show was empty, having been used as a stand-in, and the majority of the actual fights are staged for ratings. Even the Twitter spats you see between the stars of the Kardashian clan are likely faked for the show.
Project Runway has been one of the most influential reality television shows of all time. The way that the program has influenced the fashion world is profound. With that being said, the judging in the program is basically scripted and tailored to keep the most entertaining contestants around. According to Daniel Esquivel, a prior contestant, the producers, and editors do their best to spice up the drama in the edit.
The Jerry Springer Show
Remember when you first saw The Jerry Springer show? You had to ask yourself, “Is this even real?” Well, we finally have an answer for you! The guests on The Jerry Springer Show are typically cast beforehand as actors and their storylines are carefully prepared before the day of filming. The guests, hosts, and crowd are all coerced into reacting certain ways. We’re kind of glad it’s all fake, now that we think about it.
Mountain Men is such an exaggerated program that it strains the very concept of credulity. Many of the stars of the show have come clean and admitted that their ‘tough guy’ personals are largely just for television. This idea was cemented further when news came out that the crew was using trained dogs for ‘real scenes’ with wolves.
Long Island Medium
Here is a piece of advice for when people tell you they are a psychic medium: don’t believe them! While we are unabashed fans of the ham and cheese that is Long Island Medium, we were let down when we found out that the show is even faker than you could imagine. Not only is Theresa not a psychic, she’s also a bit of a stalker. Before meeting her clients, Theresa apparently stalks them on social media to get information for their reading.
The Biggest Loser
We absolutely adore The Biggest Loser and everything it stands for. Unfortunately, there are rumors abound that the medical staff on the show are poorly trained and prone to pushing contestants too far. Perhaps most unforgivable is the fact that their giant scale doesn’t actually do anything. It’s just a prop with a screen on it. To make matters worse, most of the drama in the show is created by the production team as they try to craft entertaining storylines.
The core conceit of Catfish is that a victim fears that they are being tricked, and they need proof. The hosts of the show embark on a quest for the truth with the catfisher eventually being caught. Apparently, the show actually starts by hiring their catfisher! Yup, you head that right! The catfisher has to sign a bunch of forms and agree to have their story edited as the producers see fit.
Don’t worry guys and girls, you can keep enjoying your Cupcake Wars. All of the food that you see on the show is real and actually baked by the contestants. What isn’t real about the program? Well, all of the contestants get an ingredient list before the big day so that they can prepare their own recipes.
Would it break your heart to find out that The Bachelor is largely a fake program? Contestants on the show are cast based on their personality, and they are then put into situations where the producers know they will get a big reaction. Additionally, many of the more dramatic moments in the show are completely scripted or edited in order to make compelling television. This is pretty typical for reality TV, but it somehow stings worse on such a romantic show.
In American Pickers, two old friends travel the countryside looking for antique treasure in the backyards and old barns of Middle America. Or at least that’s what they want you to think. In reality, items are pre-selected by producers or scouts while homeowners and collectors are prepped for camera. Yup, Mike and Frank literally just show up the day of the shoot. Maybe we shouldn’t have looked into how fake our favorite reality shows are…
The Real Housewives
When Teresa Giudice swears under oath during a real trial that The Real Housewives is scripted, forgive us for believing her. The former Real Housewives star isn’t the only former production member to claim that the show is scripted, either. According to Teresa, the fights on the show are pre-planned and dramatized to make for good television.
Beachfront Bargain Hunt
If you’ve ever watched Beachfront Bargain hunt, you’ve probably been taken aback by how picky their contestants are. According to rumors from the set, the producers were told to pad out the program with more homes, thus requiring the ‘house hunters’ to make up silly reasons to pass on a property. Additionally, the producers would require their contestants to be contracted for a home or the owner of a brand-new property before being selected.
American Idol started a revolution that would change the trajectory of television, and not for the better. While the show itself created real talent, most of the program itself was structured or outright staged. Contestants were typically chosen before ‘audition day’ which means that all of the auditions are, well, pointless. These contestants don’t really have a shot!
Have you ever watched a Bridezilla episode and thought, “There’s no way brides get this bad!” Well, we have good news, you’re probably right. The brides on the show are reportedly pushed to their extremes in order to get the best reactions for the episode. This means that brides are often coached by producers until they get the perfect reaction shot. That’s basically just scripted television.
Naked and Afraid
If you read the title of this show and thought that it was legitimate, you might deserve to be fooled! We’re only kidding, kind of, as we thought it was real, too. Apparently, Naked and Afraid is closer to Naked and Relaxed when the cameras aren’t rolling. When the contestants are on location, they are taken care of by a production team which also supplies them with medication, bathroom supplies, and vitamins). Compared to the early contestants on Survivor, that’s a vacation!
Ice Road Truckers
The first season of this trucker-themed reality show featured a massive truck falling into and through a frozen bed of water. While the shot was certainly dramatic, it was also entirely fictional. The scene was created using miniatures, which is kind of lame when you are allegedly selling a ‘real’ experience. Even though this is an incredibly dangerous profession, the suits behind the scenes needed even more danger.
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