Thought Catalog
August 6, 2014

31 Reality TV Show Contestants And Producers Answer: “How Much Of The Show Is Actually Scripted?”

Report This Article
What is the issue?
My Super Sweet 16
My Super Sweet 16
Found on AskReddit.

1. Remember MADE? Yeah. Fake.

They filmed an episode of Made at my high school. They would flat out go up to kids in the hall and go “Hey, can you say this into the microphone?” There was a lot of other stuff, too. But the long and short of it was that, yeah, pretty much all of it was fake.

2. Iron Chef, however? Real.

My mom has worked with some chefs that have been on Iron Chef. They are notified of the category of the secret ingredient before hand, like protein, veggie, fruit so they can plan out some general ideas.

However the reveal IS the first time they see the actual ingredient. Also the time limit is only for a set amount of dishes and they get extra time to make enough for all the judges after. The judging is completely real and unscripted.

3. Apparently producers for Beauty And The Geek can’t even find real geeks.

I had a friend on Beauty and the Geek recently, and this is just one of the many examples he gave. He arrives, and the producers look through his suit case, and told him “you can’t wear any of this.”

All the contestants are actually dressed down at the beginning of the series, to make them appear more geeky. When he got his “makeover,” all he did was wear his normal clothes again.

4. The contestants on the bachelor aren’t given scripts, but they ARE given lots of alcohol.

My tennis coach had a friend who was a sound guy for The Bachelor. He said that they have a huge table with all sorts of alcoholic beverages and the producers ‘encourage’ all the women to drink to their hearts content right before filming. This is why they are edgy/emotional all the time. Not because they are emotional wrecks (although according to him some of them really are, as the producers purposefully throw in a couple of them to start the drama and shit) but mostly it’s just because they are drunk. Because there are a few psychos, it just takes a while lot of alcohol to get the drama going.

Of course then the editors can go in and make it seem like their is no alcohol at all.

The women that inevitably quits because it’s not true love or whatever her reasons, are actually the ones that usually refuse the alcohol. Therefore they can see through all the shit that makes that show fake.

5. For the three people in the world who watched Gene Simmons’ reality show:

My best friend in high school was in a long-term relationship with Gene Simmons’ daughter, Sophie, right about the time they started filming Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels. Since he didn’t really want to be a part of the show, they literally wrote him out after a few episodes. Some highlights:

  • To make his exit seem less abrupt, they created a subplot about Gene not approving of the relationship. There was one shot in particular of my friend and Sophie making out on a trampoline outside, then cut to Gene looking out of a window and shaking his head. That window didn’t even look out into the right yard, it was on the other side of the house!
  • The family took a road trip to go skiing, which my friend was invited to. However, since he had been written out of the show, he had to sit in the way back and hide for nearly the whole duration of the drive up.
  • Scenes weren’t scripted, however each family member was given an “arc” for their character and placed strategically in rooms together to fight/scheme/laugh etc. according to what the writers needed. If the producers didn’t like how a conversation went, the family would be asked to “do it over.”

6. So I guess it should really be called Middle Class Matchmaker?

My dad was in a commercial and an acting class with one of the guys in Millionaire Matchmaker.

Most of those dudes, not actually millionaires!

7. LOL, Jerry Springer.

A relative of mine was on Jerry Springer. The story, fight on stage, and the breakaway props were fake, but his nipple rings and the woman’s giant boobs he shoved his face into were all too real.

8. Apparently the shows on Discovery are more real than you’d expect.

I work for a hit survival reality show on Discovery and it isn’t scripted at all. From what I hear in the industry we’re one of the last to adhere to REALity. Most of the time we find it adds to the drama when everything is real, plus it makes the editors jobs less stressful since they don’t have to manufacture scenes. But it also helps that the contestants are naked and stranded together for 21 days.

9. Shocker: Amish reality shows are mostly fake.

All the Amish reality shows are FAKE!!! My cousin’s fiancé works as a producer for Amish Mafia (which is the worst of all “reality” TV) and he’s constantly trying to get people to ‘rent’ their houses out to production so that the show can set up their skits there. You see my grandmother’s house on the show, my aunt’s house and my cousin and her fiancé’s house. All they did at my grandmother’s house was shave some guy’s face in the backyard.

Also there’s a new show that’s coming out called Amish Haunting or something. All the skits are fake and I even pitched some of my own stories to the producers (I write paranormal fiction.) we’ll see if they decide to use any of my stuff.

10. Curiously, the contestants on House Hunters already have houses…

House Hunters isn’t real :( usually the homeowners already have their house and are just pretending to look at other houses.

11. The term “expert” is used very loosely on reality television.

My dad’s buddy was on Storage Wars: Texas. He was presented on the show as an expert on western wear. My dad’s friend is a Cavender’s (a western wear store) manager, he’s not an expert on anything. The producers of the show had him read from a script and it took 4 hours of filming to create a 4 minute segment.

12. Never would have thought…

I was in a hotel lobby in London where Top Model was being filmed. They performed multiple takes of everything, and the ‘girls’ were coached on what to say, where to stand- everything.

13. Extreme Makeover is largely fake too.

My dad’s company sponsored an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He was telling me how they wanted to look around, but all they did was film. Those pan shots of the crowd? He said that they made them do it like 5 times to get it right. Ty and the crew may move 2 pieces of furniture each at the most and that’s it. The families and such I heard were real though, which is cool but the show itself is relatively staged.

14. At least the judging on The Voice is real!

I was in The Voice this season. And I can tell you that there is a lot of scripting there. Before entering you have three auditions and a recording session with the producer. So they saw your face (blind audition?) and they heard your voice. On TV they use the version you sang at the blind audition, but they auto tune it. The interview before the blind audition is also recorded weeks before. you have to pretend it’s on the day itself. Interviews are almost always set up. When we had rehearsals it was mostly three days apart from each other and we had to wear the same clothes so it would look like the same day.

Voting seems pretty real and not scripted.

15. If you love the UK show the Apprentice, you won’t want to read this.

I have posted this before, but it seems very fitting here;
There is a popular show in England called The Apprentice one of the most popular shows in the UK at it’s peak. Essentially, it is a bunch of idiots running around the city, carrying out various tasks while making dumb mistake along the way – it involves going from shop to shop, trying to sell your product that you made to random people and companies and one team tries to sell more then the other – I LOVE IT. Anyway, my dad owns a restaurant chain, and the people from The Apprentice called him up, GAVE HIM MONEY, and said ‘x and y will enter your building, listen to what they have to say, try to bargain with them, then buy their product for this price, then we will give you £x amount of money’ When my dad told me, I was shocked – turns out almost all purchases are fixed! I don’t watch it anymore…

16. You could make a living off of crying for MTV.

MTV tells you to cry, sometimes offering cash incentives.

Source: one friend was on MADE, another on True Life.

17. Sadly, much of Pawn Stars is fake too.

Pawn Stars is pretty much all made up. A woman brought in a classic 1958 Gibson guitar, saying it had been under her bed for 50 years.

Rick ‘called his buddy’, who came down and in under a minute pronounced it 100% legit (Impossible; you must remove the pickups and examine them, amongst other things).

I read later that the guitar was for sale in the buddy’s music shop, and the lady was a mother of one of the staff.

Oh, and he doesn’t actually call anyone, they’re already there.

The Repo shows actually have a tiny fine print disclaimer saying these are re-enacted from ‘real’ repos.

18. Cheaters isn’t real either?!?!

OK I’m getting here late so I don’t know how many people will see this. My sister and her boyfriend were on Cheaters. That show is entirely made up. They gave them fake names, fake jobs, the girl he was “cheating” with was an actress that they use all the time (they can do that because her face is blurred out as if she didn’t sign a release). There isn’t one part of that show that has anything to do with reality.

19. But ironically, there ARE many 5th graders who are smarter than adults.

When I was a kid, I was on Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader. All the answers the kids give are 100% genuine. One of the girls on the show with me is the smartest person I have ever met.

20. Hoarders: real. Thank god.

My dad was on Hoarders. To be more clear, he wasn’t actually the Hoarder. It was the season finale for season 5 (I think) and the lady’s home was so bad, the producers of the show couldn’t let her stay. However, the show obviously didn’t have the budget to buy her a new home. They came to my dad, hoping they could buy one cheap from him and my dad ended up donating one of his repossessed homes to the lady. I teared up watching.

Surprisingly it’s all very real. I mean, of course editors work their magic but all in all, those people really do have hoarding problems.

21. The people sitting in court on Judge Judy? Actors.

Really late, but I was on Judge Judy back in 2010.

I was the defendant. While it isn’t necessarily scripted, the producers are really good at getting you to say what they want.

Oh, and the audience is all paid actors. They bring multiple changes of clothes and sit there all day. They’re paid to laugh or boo on cue.

22. Unsurprisingly, the guy on Comic Book Men had to fake having a girlfriend.

Had a friend on Comic Book Men. 100% scripted. They had him come on saying his GF was making him sell all these toys. He was then and still is now single lol.

23. Sometimes too much editing is worse than a scripted reality show.

I had a friend on the Real World (one of the first ones). He said it wasn’t so much scripted, but out of 72 hours of footage they find the worst hour that they can edit out to air.

24. I have a feeling this guy was being lied to…

I saw my friend on Cops being chased down and arrested; I asked him about it, he said it was all scripted.

25. Don’t believe everything you see on House Hunters!

Highly manipulated. My sister and niece were on House Hunters. Not only had my niece already bought the condo she was “considering” on the show, she never looked at or had any interest in the other two selections. Worse — my sister almost dropped the whole deal when they pushed her to pretend that she wanted her daughter to move in with her boyfriend instead of living alone. My sister — a devout Catholic — would never. The producers backed off. Still — they edited the show to make it look like my sister was a total controlling bitch to her daughter. Far from it. Worst of all — they only got paid $500.

26. Only the insignificant details of 16 And Pregnant are made up.

MTV’s 16 & Pregnant season 1 favorites Tyler and Caitlyn (that adopted out their baby) are from my area. They went to the local “alternative ed” high school, and on the show were “Prom King and Queen.” The only thing is, our district wouldn’t let them film at school, and the alt-ed site does NOT have prom. The entire thing was staged!

27. So maybe instead of Beauty And The Geek, it should be called Geeky Babes?

My brother’s classmate was a beauty in Beauty and the Geek. She was told to act stupid even though she was apparently quite smart.

28. I could get used to this job…

A girl in my school was on Super Sweet 16. Someone got paid by a cameraman to knock over the cake.

29. OBVIOUSLY Next is scripted. Obviously.

My sister was on (and eventually won) an episode of Next. They had 0 control over what they said and did. She said there was a team of writers just off camera constantly feeding them cheesy, shitty lines.

Reality TV is just unrehearsed regular TV that stars shitty actors.

30. For some reality shows, they’ll write the story before they even find the people for the show.

I was on season three of Biggest Loser; they had the story for the season written before they cast any of us. They take the 1-2 weeks of footage, edit, Frankenbite and manipulate the footage to tell the story they want regardless of what happened. We signed a 40+ page contract giving them permission to do whatever they wanted with it – a whole page was dedicated to the variety of ways they could lie to us!

It was a fun experience, but I don’t believe for a moment that what I see on a reality show is what actually happened.

31. I think we can all agree that they’re all very much manipulated.

Most of it is scripted. 2 of my 3 roommates do production for reality TV. The projects are real. The “actors” will be told to do or say something, but their own words are real. The story is fake though. For example, one of the real housewives had a fake job as a realtor. On Big Brother, my friend was told to wake up one day and go trash the kitchen and be angry without being given any reason. Things like that are “scripted”. The hosts follow scripts obviously. TC mark