I have a confession to make. My life without Pawn Stars, Wife Swap, 50 Day Fiance (The Other Way included), and some others would never be the same. I love the absurdity, the drama, the lack of profoundness these reality TV gems bring us. And even if the day has been the worst bender in a 365-day marathon, it’s still complete and quasi-satisfactory after a handful of those episodes before falling asleep.
This is on one condition, of course. If you want to enjoy the TV shows like that, you gotta turn a blind eye to the fakery that comes with it. And although we suspect it's huge, this viral thread on r/AskReddit shows exactly how humongous it is.
“Redditors who have been on a reality TV show such as Hardcore Pawn or Pimp My Ride or Pawn Stars, how FAKE was it,” someone asked on Ask Reddit and the responses started rolling in. Below we selected the most interesting ones, to remind us all to take things with a pinch of salt. Or rather, the whole bag of it.
#1I was on set for a filming go Ghost Hunters in Buffalo. On the show, they are "investigating" an upper level of the Buffalo Central Terminal when they hear a "disembodied" voice say "Get out!"
It was the property manager on a lower level yelling at some homeless people to clear out. Everyone knew it was him, but it somehow made it in the show as an "unexplained" event.
Image credits: BosskHogg
#2My boss was on [a certain reality TV show] as a guest judge. In the episode, one of the contestants sprained got injured. My boss was nice and all concerned, but they edited in a shot of her laughing, that was actually laughing at someone's joke from earlier. The filming session for that scene was 10 hours long. They edited it down to about 5 minutes. With that much footage, you can edit it into just about anything you want.
Image credits: CypressBreeze
#3In Holland there was a Dutch version of pimp my ride, a player of a football team we played against had his car ''pimped'' the car didnt even make it home, he had to call the car repair service on his way back from the studio...
Image credits: CVDP61
#4I was on "this morning" when I was about 7 and they did a big makeover for me and my siblings. The premise they created was that we were a nightmare and my poor mum just wanted us to look smart for an upcoming christening. The main part I remember was them telling us to jump in the mud and shout no when our mum asked us to stop. Normally we wouldn't have dared so I remember that being fun! Oh and my sister ruined her hair three times before going on stage so they made us hold her hands so she couldn't touch it.
Image credits: frankicesca
#5My uncle was on Pawn Stars attempting to sell something. The item wasn't even his. He knew a guy who worked on the show.
Image credits: geniesr
#6Not me, but my best friend was on 16 & Pregnant. Now I don't know if this is always the case, but none of the drama on her episode was fabricated. However at one point, they did ask her to reenact a conversation that she had had with her mother off camera. The funny part is, they had her reenact it about a week after giving birth so she was no longer pregnant. To hide that, she wore a big sweatshirt and held a teddy bear in front of her tummy so you couldn't tell the difference.
Image credits: melizard89
#7I was on a European version of "Survivor" where we went to an island and had to survive for 2 weeks. Whatever was seen on camera was what actually happening.
The only fake thing is that we got some food to maintain a somewhat healthy diet.
Image credits: Lordidude
#8I had a friend who auditioned for The Voice on the second season I think? He has a beautiful voice but was told his "look" wasn't right for the show. Always thought that was pretty stupid.
Image credits: SleepyBearDave
#9My friend was on Intervention. We have the same genetic condition and live with severe pain, do that really pissed me off. They lied to get her on the show, saying it was a documentary about chronic pain patients. Then they forced her to take medicine when she didn't need it just to get shots of her "using" for the show. Then of course they editing everything to make her look bats**t insane. Her episode doesn't have a "several months later" segment at the end because when they sent her to rehab they realized she was in legitimate pain and actually increased her meds. I worked in the film industry and I understand you need to edit things to fit a narrative, but lying to someone to get them on camera and editing it to make them look bad is pretty sh***y IMO.
#10I was on Stan Lee's Superhumans. Long shoot day at the high altitude chamber I worked at. They brought a guy who had climbed Mt. Everest a bunch of times without supplemental oxygen (29,000 ft) so we brought him to the same altitude in the chamber with some "westerners" to compare against. He asked for oxygen after 15 minutes, and after 30 they asked me to pretend to pass out. Looking back at what aired it's obvious to me I was faking. The way they edited the show, he does "win" the competition.
Season 2. "Spider Man" is the episode title.
Image credits: greglyon
#11I was a guide at Fort Niagara when Ghost Hunters shot an episode there and claimed to see an apparition out of the window of the bakery in the French Castle. Turns out it's a double pane window and due to the imperfections in the glass it made their own reflection appear distorted as I was able to replicate it the next day. Not that weird things haven't been witnessed there but I've never heard anything I couldn't blame on the old buildings creaking. Although the lead guide is a former science teacher and a major skeptic and he took a photograph that showed those orbs you see a lot in supposed ghost photos.
#12I worked on a couple of low key reality shows a while ago. This is what I learned from the people who worked on other shows.
- Each show has a team of "Story Producers" who stand behind the cameramen with walkies telling them to get specific shots. As the reality is happening, the story producers are there to make sure they're getting the shots they need to make whatever story for the episode. It's really hard to make something that didn't happen, but it's not too hard to change an emotion, or a mood, within what happened. Like when a woman doesn't like seeing the guy kiss the other woman. Just use some out of context shots and boom.
- Mostly everything that people say on a show is what they said, but sentences can be taken out of context. Sometimes if the editor is good they can "frankenbite", which means they can take specific words to make a new sentence. This is rare because it's pretty hard to do, and you have to find a place to put it. Usually off camera and subtitled.
- Producers will often talk sh*t in private interviews to get reactions. "Did you hear that so and so said this about you?" Booze also helps fuel drama. And they cast people who are going to be dramatic anyway.
- Producers will also select people to be on the show. Like Pawn Stars. The producers select which customers get to be on the show. With Hardcore Pawn, it's the same thing, but more for a dramatic event rather than someone who has something interesting.
- When it comes to makeover shows, it varies. You could either have a Pimp my Ride, which did cosmetic fixes to cars. Or an Overhaulin, where they did a full resto-mod on the car. It just depends on the show.
- However, if it's a game show, or any show where you win money, the federal government sends a rep to make sure the game is fair. There's laws against rigged gameshows.
Image credits: CalvinDehaze
#13I worked on a cruise ship when they filmed 'Undercover Boss'. The CEO pretended to be doing a documentary and had various crew members train him for a few hours. While no one was expressly told what the gig was, the show had already been going on for a year, so we all sort of knew what was up. When they were doing the shooting, he claimed to stay in a crew cabin to get a 'real' feel for how it was to be a crew member. Not only did they use a passenger cabin in the shot, he didn't even stay there. He stayed in the grand penthouse!! When they did the 'reveal' that he was actually the CEO, they did like five shots of the crews' 'surprise'. His big gesture at the end was $150,000 towards crew welfare (pays for parties, day trips, etc). It came to like $8 per crew member when you consider how many crew members there are. Those that were featured (and even one who got cut from the show) on my ship did get an all expense paid European cruise, so that was nice for them at least, provided they wanted to go on a cruise on their vacation from working on a cruise ship.
Image credits: bestbet33
#14I was on a reality ambulance tv show when I was an EMT. The patients were real and their medical conditions were real. Everything else about the show was fake. When we filmed it was for a bariatric ambulance tv show. In the morning when the camera crew got there they filmed us driving lights and sirens around the parking lot. Then we did personal interviews where they let us talk about moving bariatric patients and how we felt about our jobs. Then they made us say a bunch of stuff that we normally would never say like "without us these patients would die" etc.. they used these clips of the stuff they made us say and spliced it into the real stuff we said. Our actual ambulance transport seen in the tv show was 100% planned and scripted. The patient wanted to go to the ER and have some decubitus ulcers looked at. However this patient being diabetic had a high blood sugar of 400 having just eaten and taken insulin. We took that and were forced to treat it like a life or death situation and then they used our earlier footage of saying things were life and death and our driving around the parking lot lights and sirens to make it seem like we were fighting for her life. In reality in about 30 min her sugar was going to go back down to normal and life would be good.
The whole experience actually really turned me off to reality TV and made me realize how fake everything is. If people are interested I'm sure I can find the youtube clip. I just have to double check and make sure I didn't sign a non disclosure agreement.
Image credits: Firehousemadman
#15I was on Amazing Race. It was not filmed daily I remember it was like every week as compared to what is shown on TV. And it was filmed months before airing so you already know the winner but cannot say to anyone because "non-disclosure agreement". Everything has to be in perfect shot, like how you run from A to B, how you open the paper tasks, how you ask from people etc. The only thing that's not scripted are the people we choose to ask randomly to complete the task - they are really just random people we meet on the street. But everything was like "okay we will re-shoot the part when you are climbing the tree/running in the subway etc." because there were not "much action/drama/sweat". Also I felt cheated. I kinda felt that the producers has an "apple of their eye" who are destined to win the game even before the show started. The game was played fair in the beginning till mid part, but during the final episodes, the "favorite team" are getting all the special treatment they would get in order to be in advantage. Since your team is being shot at different location as the other team, you wouldn't know what kind of cheating could have happened. Yes, you got it right, the "producer's favorite" won the race and I felt/cheated used for the sake that they have contestants/drama/whatever. There are real contestants like me who auditioned from scratch and there are lucky ones who are close to some big guy and got in the show and are set up to win. So if you are joining these sorts of reality shows, prepare for this "reality".
#16My brother was just in another reality TV show. It's the third or fourth he's been in. Without giving too many details(so he wouldn't get in trouble and so the show won't get ruined too early), it's insanely fake. He was given a new name and backstory, and even his "wife" in the TV show is some random actress he's never met that is married to someone else. They set up 90% of the stuff in his house specifically for the show. The only real parts of the show are his dogs and his house(as in the house itself, a lot of details were changed).
It's not even just this show that is super fake. As I said before, he's been in several and all of them have done the same thing. The first one I remember him on was Room Raiders(pretty old now but it was on MTV back in like 04 or around then). They did use his room, but they staged almost everything. All the "significant" things that the girl would comment on or look at were all placed there by the crew, so it was all pre-planned and fake.
Image credits: finkrocks44
#17When my wife and I were looking to buy a home in Michigan, our agent told us we had the opportunity to be on House Hunters if we wanted to. We talked to some person from the show, and they told us the basic process: we'd buy whatever home we wanted, then they would film us there before we moved in, as though we were just looking at the place as well as looking at two other "prospective" places that they had selected. Then we'd ultimately "choose" the house we'd already bought and live happily ever after.
We watched a few episode (or I did, my wife already liked the show) and I convinced my wife of how stupid they would likely make us look, so we passed.
Image credits: mrhaleon
#18A friend of mine was on the MTV show Next. It was a really crappy "speed dating" show where 3 guys go on a date with 1 girl (or vice versa) and she can yell "next!" at any point in the date to meet the next guy.
Nearly 100% of it was fake. Date locations weren't picked by the contestants (even though they state they are), lines were fed by producers, and the prize money (you could choose to date the girl again or get something like $200 iirc) was a lie, too. They all got paid a flat rate for the day, even if you didn't make it on the show. Most notably, the 'bio' that showed on screen when the contestant first shows up was completely made up, too. It'd list things like Name, Age, and 3 "interesting facts" about them, and none of them were true about my friend or anyone else. I think they even got his age wrong lol
Anyway, that show sucked really bad and disappeared pretty quickly, but it was really funny to see my friend on it and get a peek behind the veil.
#19A friend of mine was on the bachelor. This was years ago and she ended up being one of the last 4 girls. She said they were constantly fed alcohol, were put on a strict sleep schedule where they were literally put to bed and woken up. Also, there were no clocks anywhere, so all the girls were in the constant state of alcohol fueled disorientation. There were no "chance" encounters where the guy is sitting on the couch and the girl goes up to tall to him, all of that is staged. Even their conversations were re-shot over and over if the reactions weren't right or their wording was off. The entire thing was completely controlled and she said no one really knew they guy because none of their interactions were real.
Image credits: Dreadnaught_IPA
#20I tried out for Canadian Idol. The contract they made us sign literally stated that the producers could override the fan votes if needed to make sure the person they wanted to win would win. I still tried out. I was not the next Canadian Idol.
Image credits: jupitergal23
#21I know two people who were on the Swiss version of The Bachelor. They pretty much feed you lines, piece together unrelated footage, or even make up complete storylines. One of them went there with her best friend, but they had to pretend they hated each other.
#22When I was in university about 7 years ago we got an email inviting us to take part in 60 minute makeover (UK). It's a show where a person's family calls in a team of experts to totally re-furnish their house while they're away from home for the day. The audience at home are led to believe that all of the work is done within 60 minutes, and they make a point to start their countdown on camera and rush everyone in to meet their deadline.
About 10 of us joined the makeover team at around 8am on the day and were given flat-pack furniture to make outside the house before they started the makeover. The crew had a skip outside where they threw all of this poor unsuspecting guy's furniture, only to be replaced with this cheap stuff that was only available to him via sponsorship of the programme. (They list all of the new furniture's manufacturers in the credits at the end of the show.)
They also masked off all of the skirting boards and light switches ready for painting before we were let loose inside.
We were let into the house as a member of the ITV crew declared the start of our 60 minutes. After 30 minutes of frantic, patchy wall painting, carrying lamps, uncomfortable seating and chip board coffee tables into the house we were told to vacate.
We then had lunch in the street while the experts went in to clean up our mess and then did it all again for another strict 30 minutes.
After we were finished and the official 60 minutes were over, there was another period of professionals tidying and filling in our shoddy decorating before we all gathered outside and waited for a man to come home from work. He would find that all of his furniture had been smashed into a skip outside his house and replaced with stuff that may look good on camera for a couple of seconds during a quick sequence, but would be very disappointing to live with.
This man would be happy about his makeover and we would leave the scene as more experienced, well rounded students with an insight into TV Production.
Image credits: Peakyblinders
#23My brother was on Xfactor UK. There are several rounds before the televised rounds, so all those rubbish acts you see on TV have been picked by producers to go through.
I've also been in the audience of The Voice and Xfactor and they make you do loads of fake cheering, dancing and clapping before the show starts so they can cut it in to the actual show. 90% of the cheering you see/hear on the televised shows have been added in post production.
Image credits: minsterley
#24Several years ago, my cousin went in for a tattoo at the shop from 'Inked'. The one in Vegas. It was an 'off' filming day, so NONE of the artists from the show were in. He got his tattoo started, and they asked him to come back in a few weeks when it was healed up to schedule an appointment to finish it. When he showed up, filming for the season was finished. The shop was closed, cleaned out, and the space was for sale.
Image credits: Dreadedm
#25I was on Jerry Springer. The episode never aired but the entire thing was fake. They even asked me to find friends to complete the storyline of a double love triangle. Coolest part of it all was when they literally asked me if I wanted a fake doctors note or a fake death certificate made out in a fake family members name in order to get me out of work. They literally had a guy on staff whos only job was to get people out of work so they could attend filming.
Image credits: igottahavemypops
#26I was on an Australian reality called Surprise Chef. The premise of the show was that the celebrity chef would meet someone at the supermarket and then cook dinner for them. On my episode I volunteered at an Aquarium. The story in this episode was the chef met my boss at the supermarket, then cooked all the aquarium volunteers a nice surprise dinner.
Of course this was all pre arranged. There was no meeting by chance. We all knew what was happening so for the scene we all got surprised in the shark tank, we knew what was happening and did 7 takes of fake surprise.
The celebrity chef cooked nothing. He went in for a few takes and an actual chef cooked all the food while the CC stood outside chain smoking. The food was average, basicaly local RSL quality, chicken parmy and profiteroles.
I think I drew the short straw of things you get in a reality show, a shi**y meal. Others get like cars or renovation makeovers.
Image credits: smileedude
#27Obligatory not me but my cousin: She was on Hell's Kitchen and said that they would film for over 10 hours on a day, then would go to sleep around 11pm only to get woken up at 2am to film again to make them more irritable. The producers would purposely bring up topics to create drama within the chefs. They re-tapped when they answered the door in the beginning a couple times to make them seem "more surprised." They portrayed my cousin as the "classic hot blonde". It was certainly more of a reality TV show then a cooking show...
Image credits: IIVIIatterz-
#28I have a friend who signed up to audition for a show that she thought was "The Bachelorette", or something similar. I guess its standard practice to not give the actual name of the show, and just say, "We need good looking, energetic young women for blah blah blah."
So she got called back, went through a few different interviews and a screen test. Finally, they tell her that the concept is that she will be running a Pawn Shop with another woman. She is a dental assistant with no experience remotely related to the Pawn business.
"Pawn Queens" ended up being on for two seasons and they gave her a backstory about how/why she got interested in the pawn business. Not exactly SHOCKING, but it was pretty interesting to see that they basically looked for hot girls first, then put them into a proven concept ("Pawn Stars"-type reality show).
#29I surfed past a show where they put some survival type people on an island and played up how dangerous it was to even be pin the island. I had never heard of the island before so I googled it and found that it was off Puerto Rico and that the girl scouts used it for camp outs.
#30I was on a reality show in the early 2000's that focused on Generation Xers dealing with unemployment during the recession.
The producers edited out all mentions of my degrees, work experience, and professional licensing. They claimed I drove a luxury vehicle to the taping when in fact I didn't own a car and used public transportation. My small studio apartment was described as a luxury loft. They made me change out of my street clothes and into a designer outfit that cost more than two years of rent; complete with Chloe handbag and dramatic diamond jewelry. They use binder clips along the back seams of our clothing to make it look custom tailored.
Several panelists were full time students or graduate students who lost their jobs. But the producers edited out all mention of academics and made it sounds as though no one was engaged in any time of schooling or job training.
They asked us a lot of pointed questions about whether we were respectful to our bosses, stole from our companies, lies on our resumes, fabricated degrees, cheated on licensing exams, or quit for the unemployment benefits.
We were a bunch of 20 and 30 something professionals pushing through a rough economy to the best of our abilities. They edited us to sound like whiny babies who were abu tot cry at the prospect of not vacationing in the Madives that season.
So yeah...pretty fake.
#31I was on MADE on MTV. Everything was pretty real. The show was a bit on rails. We couldn't go anywhere without asking MTV, they would then have to get the proper permits to film. Phone calls are all fake because we had to use the producers phone. He'd basically call us and say "x is going to call you and you have to say y" producers were real f*ckin cool so we could kind of tell if we were doing something they liked and we sort of faked it ourselves without any network guidance. We honestly just wanted to make a good episode of TV. I can write so much about this they filmed for months. But I feel like this is too far down for people to care.
#32Believe me or not, i have no actual proof but a friend of mine's uncle is a barber in Jersey who during the first season of Jersey shore did Mike's haircuts and i think also Vinny. He said they had a script that basically said stuff like 'get drunk--flirt with girl (insert name) is dancing with---start fight---gossip about soso' etc etc.
I wouldn't be surprised if more shows had loose scripts like that. Not exact lines and such but plot lines they want you to do to/with unsuspecting people.
#33A friend of my mother's went on Britain's Got Talent this year to perform a drag act. There are auditions before the ones aired on television, and the show have already decided their winner. They offered him to pay to keep him in for the next round to advertise himself, but he declined. Don't waste money on voting for these things, your votes don't influence anything as they already know who they want to win.
#34I worked for a bakery that was on, and won, CupCake Wars. The premise of the show is to surprise the bakers with a few, more often than not, odd ingredients and see what they're really made of. In reality, we found out the ingredients a few months before the show. Had we not known, there's no doubt we'd have lost. There are definitely people who thrive under pressure, both in performance and creativity, and they have better things to do with their time than crank out cupcakes for Food Network. Tell an unprepared contestant they have 40 minutes to make a delicious cupcake using tater tots and nine times out of ten you'll have a middle aged woman sobbing into her mixing bowl.
#35Not me but one of my good friends got fired by Trump on the non-celebrity Apprentice. He had the longest Board Rooms in show history because Trump couldn't find a reason to fire any of them. Three hours later the producers went in, spent five minutes, then the contestants were all called back in and Trump fired my buddy.
The main reason was that during the confessionals my friend wouldn't dish on the other players. He tried to play the game straight up and therefore wasn't dramatic enough for the producers who ended up hating him.
Also, Trump is a d*ck in real life.
#36I was on Cash Cab. The whole set up is staged. Including where I wanted to go. My destination wasn't far enough to film everything.
The questions & rules are real. The money at the end is a prop. You get the funds wired to you after taxes etc are withheld and give back all the posed money.
#37A family in our city was in a German show about remodeling their house. Of course with a tragic background, etc. They made sure the house looked worse than it actually was in every shot, showing spider webs, etc. The conversation with the leading people of the show are completely scripted and they only show you half of all the people that actually work there. Also, when they say they've worked 5 days on the house, they have actually worked 4 weeks. There's no time pressure and every problem is made up. And all of your personal belongings are in boxes in a container behind the house. Otherwise they were very happy with the result.
#38I had a friend who was on MTV's Catfish. The guy who was catfishing her was the one who applied for them to be on the show. They barely talked or knew each other prior to signing up and had to force some fake conversations so they could be used on the show.
Image credits: Majical_Cloudz
#39My family was on World's Strictest Parents. We hosted two rebellious teenagers in our allegedly really strict home. The producers were bummed because the kids actually liked us and we got along with them, so they had to go up to the kids and convince them to get angry for no reason and cause drama. We're still close with the two teenagers and talk to them often!
#40The Kardashians filmed their reality show in my restaurant. For this particular episode, they were getting kind of 'drunk' on champagne. However, the producers told the staff to pour sparkling water into champagne flutes, which they then proceeded to get 'drunk' off of. Nobody actually drank any alcohol.
#41My sister Julie was on The Real World. Our entire family went down to visit her. Julie was really excited for us to come down, but she also gave the show a ton of footage of her being annoyed that we were coming. When we got down there, she started inventing issues and even picked a big fight with my dad. When our family was leaving, the producers begged us to stay. They even offered us money. No one in the family had any hard feelings about the fight. We all knew it was drama she made up for the camera. When the show aired, my family had like four episodes. Julie was by far the most successful cast member. These shows don't pay well, but she made a ton of money on her celebrity.
#42My mate was on "tattoo fixers" if you don't know what it is, basically they get people in with tattoos they regret and make a design they don't tell them about, tattoo it on and cover the old one up and "surprise" them at the end. He filmed the "big surprise reveal" like 5 times because he wasn't surprised enough.
#43I worked with this guy who was on a TV show in England. He said the show producers would tell him he would get more airtime if he was cheating on his partner instead of just being happy with his girlfriend. They just love the drama and don't care what it costs.
#44A guy did an AMA about being on Pimp My Ride. Everything done to the car was cosmetic. I believe his car didn't run before the show and didn't run after. Basically, a polished turd.
#45While at a bar in NYC, someone approached my dad and his buddy asking if they wanted to be on a gourmet cooking show. Naturally, they agreed and asked if I (14 y/o at the time) could join. The promoter said of course, gave them the location, and told them to tell me not to eat a big lunch as this would be a large multi-course meal at an upscale restaurant.
I skipped lunch that day after a rough lunchtime soccer match, and left school early to meet my father and his friend. We arrived in a strange part of Manhattan -- near the Hudson, in a rather dead part of the city. We got a call from the producer saying "sorry man! Wrong location! We're sending a car to pick you up immediately".
We hopped into a taxi and... BOOM, "you're on cash cab!" the bald headed host declared as lights flashed above our heads.
So: we lost, got kicked out in Chelsea, and ended up spending our own money on food and a taxi home.
#46My sister's friend's family was on House Hunters several years ago, and everything about it was staged. They had already decided on the house before the show even started filming, and other other two "options" that the couple was "considering" were found afterwards. They filmed a bunch of fake conversations between the family members to make it seem like they were still making up their minds. The thing is, this was a Latino family, and every member struggled heavily with English. The conversation scenes were obviously forced, as these people were just stumbling their way through scripted English sentences and it was obvious that they would have been having the conversation in Spanish if they were on their own. The issue was so bad that I'm surprised they even aired the episode.
#47This probably doesn't count but I interviewed for What Not to Wear. It started at a punk show on the west coast. On the east coast, you dress punk for a punk show. I'd just moved to the west coast and didn't get the memo that everyone would be wearing a plaid shirt and jeans so I was in full on regalia. So this woman approaches me and says she likes my outfit and that she works for a fashion show that she'd like me to be on, and asks for my contact info so she can follow up afterwards.
Later on I get an email from her and find out it was What Not to Wear. Obviously this made me feel like complete sh*t since I felt like my outfit looked pretty nice. I battled a lot internally about whether or not I should enter. They told me I would get a prize of my choosing worth $20,000 plus an entire new wardrobe of fashion designer clothing, but the trade off is that it would be really degrading and probably ruin my self esteem, plus they would destroy all of my "alternative" clothing. They said I would have to get all of my friends and family on board so they could have interventions to tell me how bad all my clothes are.
Eventually I decided money is money and went into the audition which was in the SAG building (I also decided I was going to hide all my favorite clothes so they couldn't destroy them). A filmographer was asking me some questions when the director walked in and dragged him out of the room. She came back in a minute later and told me she thought my outfit looked great, that she had no idea how I had ended up there but that I was welcome to recommend any other poorly dressed friends to the show.
I guess in the end it was a confidence boost but $20,000 prize would have been pretty sweet.
#48My friend was on Made. It was actually pretty genuine, except she didn't have anything she genuinely wanted to be "made" into and just chose something she thought sounded interesting. She did work really hard at it during the show, though.
The show wanted her to act like the outcast of her siblings, and portrayed them as a bit bitchy when they aren't (and like they always leave her out when in reality they're all very close), but aside from that it was mostly all real.
I do recall not knowing MTV was there one day, I'm friends with her siblings as well so I kind of ran into the room they were filming in to ask her what she was doing. The producers wanted me to sign a form and come in again asking her the same question, but this time have her explain her progress to me. I felt bad for ruining their shot, but said no because I didn't want to be on TV.
#49I was on an episode of Wife Swap. One of the wives was a burlesque dancer, so her new husband had to MC a variety show of which she was the headliner. I was the juggler in that act. Full disclosure, I'm pretty sure all tape with me on it is on the cutting room floor.
Anywho, pretty darn fake. The people are real, and lots of their interactions are real. But a TON of scenarios are staged. "Ok, now we're going to plan the show, but make sure Wally (new husband) takes over." He'd never done anything showbiz before, so naturally we tried to help him. But the director kept telling us that he was in charge and he needed to be doing the planning. I caught a moment of a personal interview as well. Honest answers, but very much being steered by the camera crew and director.
During the show, the crew said they needed to get "sound levels" so they had people sit quietly, clap politely, clap, clap loudly, etc. I'm fairly certain that was so they could have clips showing a range of responses. In the end, the whole show bit got about 4 seconds of time on screen. Waste of 2 days. No pay.
#50My wife was on America's Got Talent. She was a dancer for her friend's act. She said they lived in a tent for 4 days in the parking lot. She had a very positive experience. She said she met a lot of cool people and that it did feel genuine for the one episode she was on. Her friend made it through that round but got eliminated the following week.
#51TV producer here.
If you have a good show runner they will soft script the whole thing and execute efficiently.
If you have a sh*tty show runner that thinks they're the best thing since sliced bread they will try to shoot everything "real" and waste weeks upon weeks of shooting forcing a number of pickups and reducing the profit of the series.
When guests come in to be on the show, they are basically told how the interaction will go then ACTION and you get as many takes as you need to get the scene locked.
Occasionally something goes wrong that ends up playing well on camera or someone has an improv moment that works but it's rare.
Then you shoot real/fake interviews with everyone to move the story along and most of it is guided with about 80% being "just say this ..."
#52I have several friends that were on the first season of Moonshiner (discovery channel). It is totally fake. I mean, they do make moonshine, but what you see on the show is not what it's like in real life. Most of them are licensed to sell alcohol, and do sell it locally at the package stores, the others only make a little to have for themselves and a few friends (more to keep up a family tradition than anything else). But the producers had them set up stills in the woods, and even told them what to wear to make it look more "back woods, redneck, good ol'boys" than anybody in this area has looked in 50 years. Most of us sat there , with the guys that were being filmed, watching the episodes and laughing at all the people that probably think this stuff is real, while drinking store bought beer. The hard stuff is only for rare occasions*, it'll rot your gut if you drink it all the time.
*Rare occasions = Saturday nights
#53Worked on love it or list it. The reactions at the time of the reveal of the house were meant to be real and they actually sign a contract saying they won't go in the house before renovations are complete. 99% of the work isn't done by the people shown doing the work on tv. It's done by subcontractors. The entire staff works until 1 or 2 am the night before filming to get the house ready. Most of the stuff they put in for design purposes was taken back after the shoot because it wasn't part of the homeowners budget. We got blacklisted from several stores because we would buy thousands of dollars of stuff and take it back after we shot.
#54Not me, but a friend of mine participated recently on a show where a family member goes to other family house and other member of the other house goes with them.
She told me that most of the time, the reactions were fake. Producers told them when they have to get angry with each other for the sake of the program. They had to seem in front of the camera that they didn't get along well, but in reality everybody was very friendly.
#55I was studying at a café when a film crew asked me to sign a release for some sh*tty show about finding housing.. or something? (I can't believe there is a show about that..)
Didn't feel like being an unpaid extra in such an embarrassment to humanity, so I declined their offer and moved my things, but I was just off camera and I could hear everything..
They took shots of three scenes.. The director told the host and the subject to go through dialogue with three different answers, all to the same question.
"Okay, now say yes. Now say no. Now say maybe."
#56I went on The Doctors show after my whole "man with no butt crack" story went viral. See my top post history for more info.
Got a call from CBS a couple days after everything went down, and they asked me to come out to California for their "What The Health?!" segment.
Everything on the actual set was real. Essentially just an interview. But the little "montage" backstory beforehand was completely setup and fake. They rented a house to pretend it was mine. They asked me to act like I was in more pain than I really was. I had walk around the pool that I don't own and reflect on my difficult life.
It was super awkward for someone with zero acting experience. But it was also a ton of fun. They flew my wife and I out for free, put us up in the Roosevelt Hotel, and gave us a certain spending amount every day for reimbursement. They didn't "pay" me anything, but they did reimburse me for lost wages from work since I had to be out there for a few days. All in all, it was really cool because I essentially got a free vacation for my wife and I, all expenses paid. Plus, we got to go on a legit television set which was pretty cool.
#57Not sure if this qualifies as a Reality TV Show but here goes. The show is called Restaurant Takeover. I believe it is restaurants only in Canada but may be confined to a smaller area.
The premise of the show is like kitchen nightmares only sh*ttier. Failing restaurant, not enough business, family run, decor is blah, food is mediocre etc. Celebrity chef along with an interior designer/contractor comes in and they check the place out, including food. They proceed to fix the place in terms of the menu and the interior/exterior asthetic. Owners are happy, the end.
I work as a cook and have for eight years and a chef of mine calls me up seeing if I needed some extra cash, which I did. Without even asking about it I agreed to it and then he explained. Instant regrets. (most cooks/chefs try to stray away from selling out as soon as possible, majority hate the idea of celebrity chefs, with a few exceptions)
The episode I worked on had a Celebrity Chef picked already and I was just the one to prepare everything that was to be shown and filmed. I was never actually on film. I was never even credited. I was even paid late. They said it would be two weeks cheque in the mail and it ended up being three, plus they asked for branch/chequeing info to do a direct deposit. The Celebrity Chef didn't do anything to help me. He spent most of his time, honestly, having make-up redone and flirting with the ladies on set, owner of the restaurant included.
Anyways, all the food on the episode was prepared by me and even then, only to the point where is "looked" correct. No need to taste anything.... I didn't even f*cking have salt and pepper. Worst part is half the sh*t I prepped wasn't even used. It was annoying because you would think it was easy since they didn't give a f*ck about the actual flavour of the food, only the looks. Hell no, they were giving me ridiculous time constraints because they were rushing filming and were doing things so haphazardly.
I don't want to ramble on but it just makes everything on these kinds of shows seem fake. I should have never done it. Being a passionate cook and then doing this filming bullsh*t just drains the soul ever so slightly.
That was my run in with food and television.
TL;DR: Did an episode of a restaurant makeover type show, celebrity chef didn't do anything. I did all the prep/cooking work. Makes food in television seem super fake and unappealing now.
#58Had a friend on an MTV show where one person goes on a date with two different people at the same time and they try and create conflict between the two daters and make them fight for the one person. He said that it took forever to shoot because they were told to "be themselves" but they both absolutely hated the girl and kept making fun of her so there was very little conflict so they finally had to script things in for them to say. My friend "won" the "Real date" with the girl and she did give him her number but he said no thanks and went and got drunk with the other guy where they continued just making jokes about the lady.
#59I was on a TV show in the UK called 'Bargain Hunt'. I went on it for a bit of a drunken dare and never expected to get past the online application form but after a phone interview and a 'Bargain Hunt' try out day we got on (we as in me and my workmate - I asked workmate as he was going through a crappy time). It was shot over 2 days, day one we had 1 hour to choose the 3 antiques to sell and day 2 was the auction day (where we sell chosen items). The only 'fake bit' about it was that we had an hour to choose our 3 items, but we actually spread this over 5 hours as we had to film, get sound right, get lighting right etc... and as the TV crew are sorting out lighting and stuff me and friend would keep on looking around the antique house for other objects to buy.
#60I was involved with a polyamorous group that did a season of reality TV. I moved away shortly before filming. The sexiness was amped up a bit but not too far from reality but anyone in the little community that didn't meet Hollywood's standards for physical beauty got excluded during filming. And from the time they started planning for the show any new people in the community that happened to be attractive very quickly got included in everything (but that's life in general isn't it?). It caused some hurt feelings and drama that didn't make it into the show.
#61My Dad was on Comic Book Men. (Basically Pawn Stars for comics, set in NJ)
He didn't want to sell the item, just wanted to show it off. Off the cuff dialogue with cast live on camera. Did two takes. No script. They did ask him to come up with a "reason" to sell the item, which was based on truth.
I was on set with him as background. It was pretty cool to be there, but I had to stay in the same place for an hour and a half reading the same crappy DC comic. They aren't allowed to show any Marvel stuff unless it's an item someone brings into the store. The crew spends about 15 mins "hiding" all the Marvel items in the store before shooting a segment.
Loved the experience.
#62My friend knows someone who works on the set of a reality show where celebs invite each other for dinner, and, because of all the alcohol, they have to do a lot of creative editing to make it seem like they actually get along.
#63Never been to the Pawn Stars store but one of my customers told me about going there.
This must have been 4 years ago, they said they had to wait in line to go into the store, and they all pitched in $100 to have Chumlee come out from the back room.
#64I was an extra on Pawn Stars a couple years ago and we filmed in a completely separate filming studio behind the actual shop that was essentially a replica of the actual shop.
#65Back when I was a teen our family was on a small segment on a UK show "This Morning". There was some staging stuff, like there was just three guys on the crew and the presenter so we'd repeat some things to get extra angles in. And yes when people "arrive" at your house they've already been there a good hour setting up.
One thing sticks with me was a bit where we'd all hop in the car then chastised as it's healthy to walk to the shop, so we get out and filmed walking down the street. Then cameras stop and we all bundle back in our cars and drive 20mins to the closest Tesco to film us arriving there from our "walk".
Not as glamorous as folks on Pimp My Ride I guess but even on the smaller shows and segments made me realise how "scripted" most reality shows are. Charlie Brooker did a great bit on how editing of reality shows can craft a narrative.
#66I have a friend of a friend that was in 16 and Pregnant season 3. They heavily edit the show to always make the fathers look absolutely terrible, and the mother's look like innocent, sacrificing, maternal sweethearts.
He had twins and one of the big fights between him and the mom was what the babies' last name should be. He said that he would be happy if she hyphenated it to include both of their names but she refused and you would think by watching the show that he only wanted them to take his name.
The climax of the whole episode was a scene in which he was driving the mother and the twins around in his car and they started fighting yelling at each other and that he pulled over and kicked her out of the car, she screamed something about how he'd better bring her kids right now and so after a few seconds he pulled over and gave them to her and then he sped off.
What they didn't show is that she cheated on him AGAIN and had been through out the pregnancy and that when he confronted her about it in the car and they started yelling, she punched him square in the face while he was driving with two newborns in the back seat, and that he kicked her out of the car down the street from her house and that.he didn't leave her or the babies' side until her moms car was in sight. He's a really good, responsible guy and since the episode aired she's up and moved states with their sons and is hiding them from him and he sees them maybe once a year if there's an extraordinary miracle.
#67I was selected to be on Pawn Stars in the background. They tell you to pretend to look and point at items and to be really quiet. The director person tells Rick and the person with the item everything to say. Super fake.
#68Undercover Boss. They came to our place, interviewed employees and picked the ones they wanted to do the show. It was obviously a TV crew and we all knew what show. The person they picked was a jerk that worked up a stupid sob story for the cameras about barely affording to get by or whatever.
If you haven't realized it, Undercover Boss is just an hour long commercial.
I also know someone that was on a History Channel program about Nostradamus (forgot the show's name). He said the show edited so much footage to make it look like he was talking about things he wasn't talking about. They ask a few hours of questions and then build their narrative from that.
#69About 10 or so years ago I tried out for Last Comic Standing. I waited in line for about 12 hours. In the meantime, real comics showed up in limos and went right in because they had appointments. So I finally go in around noon. They stand five or six of us around a table and a guy points at each of us and says "Okay, tell a joke." My particular comedy doesn't work like that. I didn't move on. Anyway, this guy I met while standing in line does a joke in a gay voice. The pointing guy says he can move on to the next round but he should do all his bits in that voice for the judges. We wait 3 more hours and he goes in again. He did all his jokes in the gay voice and at the end he says thank you in his real voice. The 3 judges said if he would have talked in his regular voice, they would have put him through to round 3.
#70I was on a health show in the UK called Body Spies, with my friend and flatmate.
We were doing a charity climb of Kilimanjaro and thought it would be good publicity.
Ended up airing after we came back, so was of no benefit to us, and the whole thing was just utterly contrived.
Icing on the cake was they lost our consent forms, after we'd shot everything (3 full 8-10 hour days over 3 weeks).
We told them we'd sign them again for a donation to the charity, the company responded by making one of the producers phone us up and tell us she'd be fired if we didn't sign them. Classy...
#71They filmed a segment of Airplane Repo at the airport where I work. They had one of the airport's janitors act like a security guard while they "sneaked" onto the airfield and then they called an "expert" in that aircraft in to help them boost it. In reality, we were escorting them at all times so as to comply with TSA regulations and the expert was the actual owner of that plane and he flew it to a nearby airport for some scheduled maintenance. He is actually a really cool guy. I didn't interact with the cast or crew at all, but they did take upwards of an hour mounting cameras on the plane and joking around with the owner, so I figure it's pretty bogus.
#72I've been in the Gold & Silver Pawn shop that is seen on Pawn Stars and non of the items you see on the show are in the store. It's as if they find people with rare items and borrow those items for a fake negotiation. You'll be in and out of the store in 10 minutes because there's nothing in there besides TV show merchandise and a few old coins. One of the most disappointing things I did when I was in Vegas.
#73My best friend's sister was on The People's Court about ten years ago. The lawsuit was real, as it was between her and a neighbor she was sort-of friends with, but the producers had them embellish many details, gave them lines, and they used clever editing to make them look like they were arguing and such. In one bit, my friend's sister was reading a text message the other girl had sent, and they spliced around it to make it seem like she was insulting her there in the court room and Judge Milian "chewed her out", which apparently was an insert filmed later. They filmed about an hour's worth and it was edited down to 21 minutes.
All four of us watch the show the afternoon it aired seeing their reaction to sh*t they edited and pieced together was great.