17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (2022)

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We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community with insider knowledge of reality TV to share their juiciest reality show secrets. Here are the responses that might have you looking at your favorite shows a little differently: 1. "I auditioned for and got picked to be on Rock of Love. I ultimately declined for a variety of reasons, but not before they had sent the contract to me for review. There was a clause in the contract that explicitly stated they had no liability if Brett Michaels gave you an STI." 2. "I was a barback/bouncer at a bar that the cast of Floribama Shore used to frequent in Panama City. One night the cast was there and Kortni’s ex-boyfriend showed up, started a fight, and proceeded to get kicked out. Later, while we were talking to Kortni about everything that happened, she told us that someone on the production team had gotten friendly with Logan and would text him where they were gonna be just to stir up drama for the show. She also told us the crew snuck him into the house they were staying in without her knowledge so they could film a shot of him standing over her while she slept to wake her up to scare her." 3. "In Pawn Stars, everything is set up in advance. The store and the seller have already decided on a price or if they won't buy it. Knowing this fact ruined the show for me, to be honest." 4. "A friend of a friend was the editor of the first season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Basically, because of him, the entire show was a success. Practically every scene had to be reshot multiple times because the family’s reactions weren't what E! wanted." 5. "I was an undercover haircut on Tabatha Takes Over. The salon and stylists totally know that Tabitha is about to come in and dress them down. Why else would there be cameras around filming random haircuts?" 6. "My aunt’s house was for sale and they used it as one of the options on House Hunters. The couple then chose her house and they filmed their kids playing in it, but they didn’t actually buy her house! It was all fake and those were my cousin’s toys that they showed their kids playing with." 7. "I was a contestant on three different episodes of the UK version of Wipeout (called Total Wipeout here in the UK). The obstacles are not as padded as they look. You slam into them hard and it hurts. At least one person on every episode I participated in was retired from the episode due to injury. I myself have photos of some pretty epic bruises! In the final round of one of the episodes I was on, they had to rescue a contestant because the waterfall-type obstacle she was climbing was basically waterboarding her." 8. "On The Bachelor, when they were filming in the classic 'Bachelor Mansion' pre-pandemic, that’s actually someone’s house that they pay to be in for a month. They aren’t allowed in a majority of the house, so that 'mansion' really feels like you’re living in a small house with 30 other people." 9. "I was part of an entourage in Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. My friend actually loved the first dress she tried on, which she picked herself. But it was edited so that Lori came in to save the day with the perfect dress after a day of trying on duds." 10. "This was MANY years ago, but a friend of ours had a job on Wheel of Fortune. He had to lie underneath the huge wheel the contestants spin. The producers would radio him and tell him which $$$/prize to stop on and he’d grab the handles underneath and stop it where they wanted it to stop." 11. "In the early seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, some of the queens received a checkout notice from the hotel the morning of filming elimination. They would then go film, get put in the bottom two, and be eliminated." 12. "Back when American Idol first started, they really wanted people to believe ALL the auditioners were seen by the TV judges. When I auditioned, we were all lined up in multiple lines to see preliminary judges (there were maybe 10 lines set up with two each), and they very deliberately passed on good singers for the TV audition in favor of gimmicks, like costumed people and people singing out of tune. Instead of giving talented people a chance and taking the opportunity to filter out the wrong people, they just went with what they thought would make good TV with a few really great singers sprinkled in. I remember posting something about it on their website (we didn’t have much social media back then) and it was deleted by their moderator." 13. "The events on House Hunters never happen in the same day. My family has friends that were on it and they re-wore the same clothes over a few days in order to film the different houses." 14. "My uncle appeared on an episode of My Lottery Dream Home. In the episode, he was 'searching' for a new beach house to buy with his lotto winnings (he did actually win the lottery). In reality, he had purchased his beach house nearly two years before, and they showed him his own home as one of the options, which he naturally chose in the end. Our family had even vacationed at the house before the episode was filmed! They also did a 'three months later' follow-up segment that was in fact filmed the day after the house hunting shoot." 15. "I went on TLC’s Curvy Brides' Boutique to pick out a wedding dress. The scene at the beginning of every show where the bride is being driven to the boutique is staged. You get into a fake taxi once you get to the boutique yourself and park. They then drive you around for an hour asking you loaded questions. I also had three different ‘storylines’ to film and they picked the best one to go onto the show." 16. "I auditioned for a ton of the TRL Beach House shows (yeah, I’m an old millennial). The summer beach house stuff was all way more produced and significantly smaller than they let on. They’d block off a small section of beach and pack this tiny square with those of us who answered the cattle call. You got placed based on how good looking you were (not surprising), and had to stay put during filming no matter how hot the weather got. It wasn’t fun at all. We had to supply everything from water to beach towels, and we couldn't hear anything being said because the mics weren’t hooked up to any speakers. So any reaction was from the audience because some interns or staff were literally off-camera telling us how to react." 17. And, "For hometown dates on The Bachelor if the contestant doesn’t have a nice house, they’ll film it at a family member or friend’s home and claim it’s theirs. The producers have even rented homes to use for certain contestants!" Do you have any insider secrets about your favorite reality shows? Drop them in the comments below! TV and Movies FAQs Videos

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community with insider knowledge of reality TV to share their juiciest reality show secrets. Here are the responses that might have you looking at your favorite shows a little differently:

Disclaimer: Obviously, we can't 100% confirm these stories, but these people are supposedly speaking from their own experiences on reality shows, know someone who's been on reality shows, or simply has insider knowledge.

1. "I auditioned for and got picked to be on Rock of Love. I ultimately declined for a variety of reasons, but not before they had sent the contract to me for review. There was a clause in the contract that explicitly stated they had no liability if Brett Michaels gave you an STI."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (1)

2. "I was a barback/bouncer at a bar that the cast of Floribama Shore used to frequent in Panama City. One night the cast was there and Kortni’s ex-boyfriend showed up, started a fight, and proceeded to get kicked out. Later, while we were talking to Kortni about everything that happened, she told us that someone on the production team had gotten friendly with Logan and would text him where they were gonna be just to stir up drama for the show. She also told us the crew snuck him into the house they were staying in without her knowledge so they could film a shot of him standing over her while she slept to wake her up to scare her."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (2)

3. "In Pawn Stars, everything is set up in advance. The store and the seller have already decided on a price or if they won't buy it. Knowing this fact ruined the show for me, to be honest."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (3)

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4. "A friend of a friend was the editor of the first season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Basically, because of him, the entire show was a success. Practically every scene had to be reshot multiple times because the family’s reactions weren't what E! wanted."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (4)

5. "I was an undercover haircut on Tabatha Takes Over. The salon and stylists totally know that Tabitha is about to come in and dress them down. Why else would there be cameras around filming random haircuts?"

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (5)

6. "My aunt’s house was for sale and they used it as one of the options on House Hunters. The couple then chose her house and they filmed their kids playing in it, but they didn’t actually buy her house! It was all fake and those were my cousin’s toys that they showed their kids playing with."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (6)

7. "I was a contestant on three different episodes of the UK version of Wipeout (called Total Wipeout here in the UK). The obstacles are not as padded as they look. You slam into them hard and it hurts. At least one person on every episode I participated in was retired from the episode due to injury. I myself have photos of some pretty epic bruises! In the final round of one of the episodes I was on, they had to rescue a contestant because the waterfall-type obstacle she was climbing was basically waterboarding her."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (7)

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8. "On The Bachelor, when they were filming in the classic 'Bachelor Mansion' pre-pandemic, that’s actually someone’s house that they pay to be in for a month. They aren’t allowed in a majority of the house, so that 'mansion' really feels like you’re living in a small house with 30 other people."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (8)

9. "I was part of an entourage in Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. My friend actually loved the first dress she tried on, which she picked herself. But it was edited so that Lori came in to save the day with the perfect dress after a day of trying on duds."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (9)

10. "This was MANY years ago, but a friend of ours had a job on Wheel of Fortune. He had to lie underneath the huge wheel the contestants spin. The producers would radio him and tell him which $$$/prize to stop on and he’d grab the handles underneath and stop it where they wanted it to stop."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (10)

11. "In the early seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, some of the queens received a checkout notice from the hotel the morning of filming elimination. They would then go film, get put in the bottom two, and be eliminated."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (11)

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12. "Back when American Idol first started, they really wanted people to believe ALL the auditioners were seen by the TV judges. When I auditioned, we were all lined up in multiple lines to see preliminary judges (there were maybe 10 lines set up with two each), and they very deliberately passed on good singers for the TV audition in favor of gimmicks, like costumed people and people singing out of tune. Instead of giving talented people a chance and taking the opportunity to filter out the wrong people, they just went with what they thought would make good TV with a few really great singers sprinkled in. I remember posting something about it on their website (we didn’t have much social media back then) and it was deleted by their moderator."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (12)

13. "The events on House Hunters never happen in the same day. My family has friends that were on it and they re-wore the same clothes over a few days in order to film the different houses."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (13)

14. "My uncle appeared on an episode of My Lottery Dream Home. In the episode, he was 'searching' for a new beach house to buy with his lotto winnings (he did actually win the lottery). In reality, he had purchased his beach house nearly two years before, and they showed him his own home as one of the options, which he naturally chose in the end. Our family had even vacationed at the house before the episode was filmed! They also did a 'three months later' follow-up segment that was in fact filmed the day after the house hunting shoot."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (14)

15. "I went on TLC’s Curvy Brides' Boutique to pick out a wedding dress. The scene at the beginning of every show where the bride is being driven to the boutique is staged. You get into a fake taxi once you get to the boutique yourself and park. They then drive you around for an hour asking you loaded questions. I also had three different ‘storylines’ to film and they picked the best one to go onto the show."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (15)

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16. "I auditioned for a ton of the TRL Beach House shows (yeah, I’m an old millennial). The summer beach house stuff was all way more produced and significantly smaller than they let on. They’d block off a small section of beach and pack this tiny square with those of us who answered the cattle call. You got placed based on how good looking you were (not surprising), and had to stay put during filming no matter how hot the weather got. It wasn’t fun at all. We had to supply everything from water to beach towels, and we couldn't hear anything being said because the mics weren’t hooked up to any speakers. So any reaction was from the audience because some interns or staff were literally off-camera telling us how to react."

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (16)

17. And, "For hometown dates on The Bachelor if the contestant doesn’t have a nice house, they’ll film it at a family member or friend’s home and claim it’s theirs. The producers have even rented homes to use for certain contestants!"

17 Secrets About Your Favorite Reality Shows That Prove They're Not As Real As They Seem (17)

Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.

Do you have any insider secrets about your favorite reality shows? Drop them in the comments below!

(Video) M*A*S*H: 17 Secrets You Won't Believe (MASH TV Show)

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FAQs

What reality shows are not real? ›

These reality TV shows aren't actually 'real'
  • 'The Voice' ...
  • 'Dancing with the Stars' ...
  • 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' ...
  • 'The Real Housewives' ...
  • 'MasterChef' ...
  • 'Vanderpump Rules' ...
  • 'Bridezillas' ...
  • 'Storage Wars'

Which reality shows are fake and real? ›

  • Real: Survivorman. In Survivorman, Les Stroud is dropped off in the wilderness with a survival kit. ...
  • Fake: Naked And Afraid. ...
  • Real: The Last Alaskans. ...
  • Fake: RuPaul's Drag Race. ...
  • Real: Undercover Boss. ...
  • Fake: The Real Housewives. ...
  • Real: Judge Judy. ...
  • Real: The First 48.
28 Jul 2022

Which reality shows are not fake? ›

Reality TV Shows That Are Actually Real
  • Deadliest Catch. Capturing the harsh environment of commercial king crab fisherman in Alaska, Deadliest Catch has become one of Discovery Channel's most successful shows. ...
  • Below Deck. ...
  • Survivorman. ...
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. ...
  • Hoarders. ...
  • Intervention. ...
  • My Strange Addiction. ...
  • Botched.
11 Jul 2018

Does reality TV shows accurately depict real life? ›

Critics argue that reality television shows do not accurately reflect reality, in ways both implicit (participants being placed in artificial situations), and deceptive (misleading editing, participants being coached on behavior, storylines generated ahead of time, scenes being staged).

How many people think reality TV is real? ›

Perspectives on reality TV shows scripted content U.S. 2018

The findings reveal that 61 percent of surveyed adults in the U.S. believed that what actors say in reality TV shows is mostly based on a script, with just 18 percent saying that they thought most of the spoken content in such shows was largely unscripted.

Do reality stars get paid? ›

Whether competing on TV for a cash prize or simply being filmed while living your day-to-day life, reality television stars almost always get a paycheck — and it may be bigger than you think.

How reality shows are exploiting people? ›

Answer: Reality shows exploited us from a long time in more ways than one. These shows tend to emphasis on oppressing, arrogant behavior and unhealthy rivalry, and kids frequently cultivate the confusion regarding these reality TV shows and the real world.

Is alone real or fake? ›

Distractify recently spoke with Alone executive producer Ryan Pender, who confirmed that not only is the show real, but the crew working on the show is far enough away that the contestants can't use them as a resource.

Is HGTV real or fake? ›

But here's the kicker: More often than not, the homes are staged, meaning the homeowners don't get to keep the furniture and decor that's shown on TV. “Most if not all of our flipping shows are staged,” Betsy admits, noting that, depending on the client, sometimes the renovation will include some of the furniture.

What makes reality TV real? ›

By definition, reality TV is essentially unscripted programming that doesn't employ actors and focuses on footage of real events or situations. Reality shows also often use a host to run the show or a narrator to tell the story or set the stage of events that are about to unfold.

What was the very first reality TV show? ›

The first TV show to regularly feature members of the public as its stars was America's Candid Camera which premiered on ABC in 1948 (it was then called Candid Microphone and was a TV version of an established ABC radio show of the same name which began in 1947).

How many reality TV shows exist? ›

Now there is an answer, thanks to the National Geographic Channel, which crunched the numbers: 750 total unscripted series.

Why do we like reality shows so much? ›

But why do people love reality TV so much? The quickest answer is that it's easy TV to watch after a long day of work. It's virtually mindless entertainment, and to some, it's equivalent to scrolling through social media or TikTok when you want to shut off parts of your brain.

How old do you have to be to be on reality TV? ›

Most shows have an age requirement, usually requiring candidates to be at least 18, but other shows may have very specific requirements.

Is the show What Would You Do real? ›

Created by Chris Whipple, the show with a social experiment format follows the reactions of passing strangers as they encounter conflict or illegal activity in a public setting, unaware that it is all staged and being recorded with hidden cameras.

Who actually watches reality? ›

36% of those aged 30 to 49 watched reality TV shows in 2021.

While 32% of viewers aged 18 to 29 watched reality TV shows, 31% of those aged 50 to 64 years did.

What age group watches reality TV the most? ›

For example, the key demographic for reality television is women with disposable income aged 18 to 34 whereas for the WB Television Network it was "eighteen- to thirty-four-year-old viewers." Television programming is tailored to members of its key demographics: "Despite the increase in time-shifting to watch recorded ...

What kind of people watch reality TV? ›

Research suggests there may be several reasons why some people are obsessed. Reality TV tends to follow people who are just like us as they navigate some sort of competition (think Survivor, Big Brother or American Ninja Warrior) or who are thrust into unique social situations (Jersey Shore or The Bachelor).

How much is 90 days in salary? ›

90 Day Fiance

In 2018, Nikki Cooper, who appeared as a friend of David Toborowsky on season 5 of 90 Day Fiancé, posted on Facebook that cast members get paid $1,000 per episode and $2,500 to film the tell-all special, which equals out to $14,500 for a 12-episode season.

How much will I make in 60 days? ›

At most, they are getting paid about $3,000 per episode." As the most recent season of the show (Season 6) had 18 episodes, this represents a potential payout of around $54,000 for the show.

How much do you get paid to be on married at first sight? ›

The contestants who appear on the show do get paid for their participation. While there is no prize for staying married at the end of the series, the contestants do get paid daily. But exactly how much do they get? Former contestant Nasser Sultan told Now to Love: "You get $150 for the day, that's it.

Why is reality TV harmful? ›

Whilst reality TV is one of the largest sectors in the television industry, its behavioural effects are largely unknown. However, reality programmes that show toxic behaviour such as Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives franchise can increase aggression, manipulation and narcissism in viewers.

How does reality TV affect behavior? ›

A new study led by Bryan Gibson, a psychologist at Central Michigan University, finds watching reality shows with lots of what's called relational aggression — bullying, exclusion and manipulation — can make people more aggressive in their real lives.

Are Reality Shows good or bad? ›

Reality TV Can Be Unhealthy for Participants as Well as Viewers. Experts say being on reality shows such as MasterChef can be traumatic for the contestants, but they also can have negative effects on people who watch.

What is the longest someone has lasted on Alone? ›

'Alone' Season 8 Winner Clay Hayes Lasted 74 Days, But He's Not the Longest-Surviving Contestant
  • Roland Welker holds the record for the longest-surviving contestant in 'Alone' — 100 days. ...
  • Callie Russell is in second place for longest-surviving contestant — 89 days.
31 Aug 2022

How long do people last on Alone? ›

The winners of season 1-6 have lasted between 56 and 87 days.

What is the longest stay on Alone? ›

Jim and Ted Baird won the season after lasting 75 days.

Is Love it or list it real? ›

This might be disappointing to fans, but the endings of the show are usually faked and scripted for the camera, according to Cheat Sheet. Even HGTV shows like Good Bones are somewhat scripted.

Is our home town fake? ›

Is HGTV's Hometown real or fake? Hometown is a real renovation series hosted by real-life married couple Erin and Ben Napier, who met at college. The couple's existing furniture is used in the final reveal, but anything custom-made by woodworker Ben can be kept.

How reality shows are exploiting people? ›

Answer: Reality shows exploited us from a long time in more ways than one. These shows tend to emphasis on oppressing, arrogant behavior and unhealthy rivalry, and kids frequently cultivate the confusion regarding these reality TV shows and the real world.

How are reality TV shows scripted? ›

Reality shows also often use a host to run the show or a narrator to tell the story or set the stage of events that are about to unfold. Unlike scripted shows like sitcoms, dramas and newscasts, reality TV does not rely on writers and actors, and much of the show is run by producers and a team of editors.

What does fake reality mean? ›

1 tr to cause (something inferior or not genuine) to appear more valuable, desirable, or real by fraud or pretence.

Is Love Island scripted at all? ›

Star of season five, Amy Hart, however, set the record straight on whether the show is staged in a video on her TikTok account on Monday. She said: "No, it's not scripted at all. Everything happens as it happens and if you put lots of 20-something and 30-something young people in a villa, stuff is going to happen.

Are reality shows real or fake debate? ›

Most reality television shows are scripted and the participants know where the cameras are. There are some ways we can make these television shows real for example with hidden cameras and the participants not knowing when they are being recorded.

Why is reality TV harmful? ›

Whilst reality TV is one of the largest sectors in the television industry, its behavioural effects are largely unknown. However, reality programmes that show toxic behaviour such as Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives franchise can increase aggression, manipulation and narcissism in viewers.

How does reality TV affect behavior? ›

A new study led by Bryan Gibson, a psychologist at Central Michigan University, finds watching reality shows with lots of what's called relational aggression — bullying, exclusion and manipulation — can make people more aggressive in their real lives.

How many reality TV shows exist? ›

Now there is an answer, thanks to the National Geographic Channel, which crunched the numbers: 750 total unscripted series.

What was the first reality TV? ›

The first TV show to regularly feature members of the public as its stars was America's Candid Camera which premiered on ABC in 1948 (it was then called Candid Microphone and was a TV version of an established ABC radio show of the same name which began in 1947).

How do reality shows make money? ›

The producer receives the budget they need to make the show, and the filming process begins. The network, or broadcaster, then receives their money back through commercials. Ads are the number one way that TV shows make money.

Is reality a fact? ›

Fact is a subset of reality. Fact becomes reality when all the elements matches with the elements of reality. However, converse is not true because reality has some inner and non visible parameters. Reality could be measure with facts...and without factual evidence there is no reality.

What's another word for false reality? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About illusion

Some common synonyms of illusion are delusion, hallucination, and mirage. While all these words mean "something that is believed to be true or real but that is actually false or unreal," illusion implies a false ascribing of reality based on what one sees or imagines.

What time do love islanders go to bed? ›

Previous islanders have revealed that contestants on the show often have go to bed very late, especially when big events like recouplings take place. ITV haven't confirmed their exact bedtime but interviews with past islanders suggest it can be as late as 3am or 4am some nights.

Do Love Island contestants get told what to say? ›

With a helping hand from producers, the Islanders are essentially 'told what to say'. 2021 Islander Georgia previously said: “The Beach Hut is open to you whenever you want and it's kind of a bit of a time-out zone. The night I couldn't sleep I went in there to talk to a producer.

Do you get paid for being on Love Island? ›

Do Love Island contestants get paid? Yes, the cast of the show do get paid while they're in the villa – but it's believed to be quite a small amount. ITV is yet to confirmed how much each contestant reportedly pockets, but reports in The Sun from last year's show estimate it to be around £250 a week.

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