We all know that reality television can be far from real. How many times can Heidi ruin Lauren’s life in a span of 10 episodes? That was a reference to MTV’s The Hills (if you’ve never watched the show). We also found out that the show was heavily scripted so that its audience would continue to watch drama unfold week after week. How much can we trust a reality television show nowadays?
There are some dirty secrets out there about your beloved reality television shows. From producers giving cast members alcohol to make them less boring to telling them exactly what to say to start a feud between roommates, it’s scary and disappointing to hear what lengths people will go to make a show more interesting.
What about all those food shows? How on earth does a cupcake maker not have a mental breakdown after hearing he or she needs to make cupcakes from something outrageous? Believe it or not, bakers on shows like Food Network’s Cupcake Wars are told what the “mystery” ingredient is before having to come up with some ridiculous plan to include it into their cupcakes.
Here are 15 dirty little secrets you probably didn’t know about your favorite reality television shows. Most of these secrets came from a Reddit thread that asked insiders about what really goes down, and you won’t believe how far from reality these shows actually are!
15. It’s All About The Right Music
There can’t be drama without some good dramatic music. Good thing there are creative editors on set of many of the beloved reality television shows you watch that just make each moment that much more cringe-worthy. Music definitely helps make the moment. A Reddit user shared this story, “Those reaction shots of shock/horror that we cut to are not necessarily from that moment … could be someone told them a story that made them make a goofy face that reads as shock, and when we cut to it with dramatic music, it looks like the lady is reacting to what’s going on in the scene.”
14. Producers Plant Ideas To Create More Drama
Producers of reality TV shows are definitely the brains in this operation. No one wants to watch a show week after week without any drama or cat fights, so a Reddit user spilled the beans on how producers “plant ideas” in cast member’s heads so that the show would be juicier. They stated, “What might be surprising to some is how much producers in the field lead the “talent” into saying whatever they want. They’ll basically plant ideas in their heads when interviewing people: ‘Hey, wasn’t Stacey a b**** at last night’s dinner.’ Then when the talent tacitly agrees, because they all just want to be on TV and please the people making TV, they’ll ask them is they can ‘say it in a complete sentence because that will make it easier to edit.’” The user also wrote that the talents words are fairly used on the show.
13. Chef Gordon Ramsay Is Actually A Pretty Decent Guy
Chef Gordon Ramsay is not one to mess with if you’re on his show Hell’s Kitchen. The no-joke chef can easily make a contestant cry, but in reality, the shouting cook has a soft side. You wouldn’t see Ramsay play nice on the show because that just won’t do well in ratings and an audience loves to see a contestant crack under the pressures of the famous chef. However, he can be kind and a Reddit user proved that by saying, “Gordon Ramsay is actually a pretty nice guy. The Hell’s Kitchen restaurant is a set in a soundstage. The customers are usually friends and invited guests of the show and its crew.” He’s definitely got a super soft side while on the set of MasterChef Junior, so we know he’s not all that miserable.
12. MTV Gets Their Cast What?
This reality TV show secret is just plain wrong. One Reddit user mentioned a time when her friend was on MTV’s blind date show Taildaters, and things between him and the woman were actually going pretty well, except for the fact that MTV producers found it boring. The user continued saying, “My friend told me that the producers pulled him aside and smoked him out and gave him some liquor—which led him to act weird and eventually get a glass of water thrown at him by his date.” It’s true that alcohol may help get the party started, but basically forcing someone to guzzle it down is never okay.
11. Pawn Stars Hires Actors To Sell Items
Not everyone is made for television and that was the case for History Channel’s Pawn Stars. Apparently, producers of the show would hire actors to play the roles of the real people who wanted to sell their items to the Harrison family. A Reddit user used the words “dud” and “not suitable for camera work” to describe the reasoning behind why not everyone you see is the actual person or people trying to sell an antique piece. Producers would even go as far as to buy an item from a person so that he or she isn’t on camera! Talk about fake…
10. American Idol Contestants Must Pass Two Auditions Before Seeing The Judges
Thousands upon thousands of people audition for American Idol hoping to one day become a famous superstar. The show has turned average people into Hollywood stars from Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood. However, people wanting to audition didn’t get to see the three judges just like that. In fact, the audition process is entirely different and you would actually have to perform for two panels of producers first, and if they liked what they heard, then you’d get to see Simon, Paula, and Randy. We’re also guessing good looks and appearance helped too.
9. America’s Got Talent Is Rigged
A Reddit user did not hold back when explaining how America’s Got Talent is actually rigged. “I had a friend on America’s Got Talent. She said the producers told her what songs to sing and they had a winner picked out weeks before the final episode. They kicked her off for singing a song out of her country genre, but she said she was actually forced to sing it. They also made up a fake backstory for her to try to give her a sob story.” This allegation is scandalous and it might just be a disgruntle loser (who can’t get over it) on the show, but hey, you never know.
8. Top Chef Judges Taste Cold Food
Having your food judged on national television is scary in itself, but having famous food critics judge your food while it’s cold can ruin the entire meal and even cost you a win. That was the situation Food Network’s Top Chef was facing after the contestants on the show would deliver their dishes to the judges cold. According to a Reddit user, “In the very first episode of Top Chef they ever filmed, Tom Colicchio flipped out because the dishes the contestants had cooked were getting cold while the film crew took “food p*rn” shots of them. From then on, all contestants have to prepare two dishes. One for the judges to sample, and one for the cameras to pan over and show the audience.”
7. Adam Richman’s Man V. Food Was Extremely Unhealthy And Dangerous
Adam Richman was the host of Man V. Food, which only lasted five seasons after he gained a considerate amount of weight and ended up suffering from depression. His preparation to eat all the crazy amount of food for the show was intense. Richman exercised twice a day and would not eat anything the day before a challenge. A Reddit user even wrote that Richman had to coach people for eating competitions so he didn’t have to go through it himself. Sadly, Richman couldn’t even finish the smallest challenge of eating 10 hot chicken wings or the biggest, which was chowing down on a 190-pound burger with 39 other people.
6. The Most Real Reality TV Show Is Survivor
Believe it or not, the reality television show that is the realest is CBS’ Survivor. There have been 35 seasons of contestants stranded on different islands around the world trying to survive the conditions as best they can all while competing in grueling activities under harsh conditions. Not only are these cast members thrown on a deserted island; they also forge for their own food and try to amuse themselves when they aren’t doing any challenges. So if you are really looking to watch a show with real emotion and real circumstances, Survivor is probably your best bet.
5. Drama Is Created By Producers
So how do all of those rumors spread so quickly on reality TV shows? According to one Reddit user, it’s all thanks to the producers of those shows who want to spice things up for the cameras. “My friend was on RuPaul’s Drag Race and he told me that the reason reality TV shows have so much backstabbing and drama is because the producers go around and spread as many rumors about everybody as they can and gossip to the contestants about what other contestants said, even if that’s not the case, just to increase the drama and backstabbing which is a major reason a lot of people watch reality TV shows.”
4. Servers And Bouncers In Clubs Knew Fights Would Occur Before They Began
Let’s all just admit that MTV’s Jersey Shore was just one big mess. Night after night, this group of eight would put on their bedazzled outfits, go clubbing, get completely wasted, and end up in a fight or some other drama-filled situation. The show made good television, but a lot of it, like many other reality TV shows, was scripted. A bouncer at a bar that an MTV cast was going to go to was told that there would be a staged fight at a certain point during the night. Producers told servers and bouncers of the fake fight and to act like they were bouncing the cast members out of the bar and not “man-handling” them.
3. Everyone On Judge Judy Goes Home With Some Compensation
Judge Judy (also known as Judy Sheindlin) is an intimidating woman. But somehow, a lot of people want to be on her court show to dispute their (sometimes ridiculous) cases. Whether you win or lose your court case though, there is still some compensation given to both parties. A Reddit user wrote on a thread, “And common knowledge but civil courts like Judge Judy and People’s Court award both parties the settlement amount in exchange for them coming on TV and getting yelled at. Nobody actually loses.”
2. Total Divas Is 100% Scripted
One Reddit user said it plain and simple—E! Network’s reality TV show Total Divas is 100% scripted. They wrote, “I work with the cast of Total Divas. I don’t want to get into specific details, but in short, it’s 100% scripted. Literally, beginning to end. There is not a single storyline on that show that was not produced by a writing team.” The situations in the show might seem real, but don’t be fooled by these stars; they just have surprisingly good acting skills. The only thing that might be real in this show is an accidental kick or punch while in the ring.
1. Cupcake Wars Surprise Ingredients Aren’t Really Surprises
Who doesn’t love to watch competition shows revolving around food, especially ones that have competitors using a “mystery” ingredient to really get things going? Cupcake Wars is an example of a competition show that really makes you think, “How on earth does Meghan make her cupcakes in under an hour with a secret ingredient like pickles and make them taste delicious?” Well, contestants on the show actually get to know what the secret ingredient is before it is announced so that they’ll be well-prepared. In fact, a Reddit user wrote that she found out the ingredients months before going on the show!