1. Was in Netflix’s Love is Blind. What you don’t see on camera is the lengthy talks between candidates (sometimes hours) which are just cut short on TV. There may seem to be no staff around on TV but there are staff behind the scenes telling you what to do, which side you should stand/sit on, so the camera is not blocked. And sometimes it is not really ‘real’ as there are times they would ask us to repeat a ‘dramatic’ thing we spontaneously did for 2nd or 3rd shot for them to ‘cinematically’ capture the scene.
2. Not me, but my boyfriend’s sister. She was on Rock Of Love, that show with Bret Michaels from Poison. She said when she got there they were all trying to get them hammered before meeting Bret and she wasn’t down with that. I guess he noticed that and really liked that about her, and they ended up dating for a little bit. My boyfriend had lunch with him at his house. Pretty cool, and my boyfriend’s sister said he was a really good guy. I don’t know what made them split, but it’s pretty interesting!
3. My coworker back in college was asked to be on this dating show. She said no because they asked her to sign a waiver stating that if she got an STD on the show she would not sue them. An STD waiver. What.
4. Fun. So much fun. This story is going to start of mundane, but it’ll get interesting towards the end.
I was on Naked Attraction, S2E10. I was “volunteered” by my friends and just kept on going along with it until I ended up at the studio. There’s a lot to talk about, I’ll start with the hiring process.
So, one day they just called me. Asked a few questions and said they wanted me to come to London for an audition. They advised I’d have to get naked during the audition. I went to this small office and had a discussion before being taken to a room with newspapers over the glass walls. There was a man behind the camera and a woman ready to ask questions. They asked a few things whilst recording, then asked me to get naked. I obliged. So I was just chatting to them whilst nude. They then asked me to do a few things like do a few cheesy poses because the “higher ups” love that stuff. I think they asked me to do star jumps at one point? Anyway, the whole thing was weird but not awkward. They then sent me on my way and a little while later they confirmed my audition was successful. Normally they’d do a psych test in person, but as it was close to the filming date we did the test over Skype. They basically wanted to assess whether or not I could handle the scrutiny that I may receive for being on the show and whether I’d crack under pressure or blow my brains out.
Anyway, they booked me a ticket and asked me to go to Manchester for filming. I got to a Premier Inn and was asked to meet in the lounge in the morning where someone would collect me. There were a bunch of guys there and we were taken to the studio that wasn’t far away. Fun fact, the studio is also used to record other programs such as Jeremy Kyle. Anyway, on the first day I was a “reserve”, so I was there to sit around and do nothing for hours in case someone bailed and they needed a replacement. We had “runners” who got us food and drink, but we weren’t allowed to leave the room unless we were going to the toilet or for a cigarette. Even then, we had to be accompanied. There were more female runners than male runners and it felt like some of the participants were trying to pull. Anyway, we got paid for the days we were not being filmed. It was £75 per day I think. If you were filmed, you did not get paid.
Second day, I was set to be on the show as in one of the pods. I remember walking over and thinking “This girl has vague tastes” because I was with a guy who was old enough to be my dad, a very muscular guy, a ginger, a black guy and some handsome guy. And then me. I didn’t really fall into any category I don’t think. Anyway, we had to sit around A LOT. Just waiting. Signing contractual stuff. We chatted and it seemed the older guy had never seen the show, he was mostly there to try and promote his book. Anyway, everyone was friendly and we all had this “oh fuck, this is happening” feel. The rest is a bit of a blur and a bit boring, long story short I got voted out first. Problem is, most of us were in our mid-20s and the woman said she wanted an older bloke. Some people who got kicked off were pissed off because they felt they were set up to fail. Turns out, the woman initially said she was into anyone during her audition but changed her mind during/before the show. Also, during my interview after the show it had to be stopped because the camera was picking up shouting from Jeremy Kyle.
I went home (saw an episode of Jeremy Kyle and the camera went backstage and I recognized the hallway as I had also been there) and then a day later they asked if I wanted to come back for one last day as a reserve. Of course, I said yes. So once again I returned to Manchester, fully paid for. Previously whilst being a reserve, I was with people of the same gender. However, this time there were real-life women there. Some got changed in front of us and said “You’re going to see me naked on TV anyway”, which is fair enough.
After the show though, we went to the hotel bar and all of the groups mixed. We got pretty drunk, a few went out to town and I think two of the applicants slept together. I remember one of the girls that won asked me to walk her to her room. I thought “Best case scenario I get laid, worst case scenario I get murdered.” Weighing up the pros and cons, I walked her to her room but there was an issue with the key so she also got changed in front of me in the middle of the hallway and we both returned to the bar. Unfortunately, I did not get laid or killed.
I still have a few of the participants on Facebook, but we don’t talk. I messaged one of them a few months ago because someone sent me a Tik Tok from Naked Attraction and I knew the girl in the clip.
5. My ex was on Naked Attraction. Was super weird seeing him. Didn’t recognize who it was until I saw his face. Watched it again just to see if I recognized him before the faces were revealed. Still didn’t recognize him.
A mutual friend told me he told all his friends that he was on it. So I guess they have all seen him naked now!
6. I was paid 300 bucks to be the mistress on Cheaters because an actor flaked. I got there and the 2nd actor flaked so I called my friend. We had to make out. It was so uncomfortable!
The 3rd actor forgot we were acting and when I called her a jealous bitch she pulled my hair down to the floor super quickly and then apologized like crazy after we were done filming. She said “oh my god when you called me a bitch I saw red… I almost killed you.” Lol fun times.
7. I was on First Dates, last September. Because we were still in pandemic mode, the show was filmed in Manchester. They sent a cab round to pick me up and had a hotel set up for us. They also set up a testing station in the hotel which was convenient.
They told me the date was at 7, but I actually ended up in a waiting room till about 10 for the actual date to start. Had to do the walk up to the restaurant twice and was waiting outside with no jacket which was annoying. They’d also told me that I couldn’t wear a white shirt (something to do with the cameras and lighting?), so had to go with a backup outfit. The producers definitely tried to stitch me up though: when I went to the bar, the girl who I was talking to wasn’t actually my date, it was her sister who was in the bathroom. But I had no idea initially so I was chatting up the wrong girl, yikes. During the date, I didn’t notice the cameras until we were leaving and saw some of them on a small discreet tripod. After the date, we had to hang around for another hour and a half for a photoshoot and the post date interviews, then they did the filming for the taxi and dropped us off at one of our hotels. All worth it in the end as my date ended up my girlfriend.
8. I was on Love Connection that was on Fox for about two seasons.
I can tell you they put A LOT of thought into selecting my matches. I had to go through psych evals, drug and STD tests. I answered a lot of questions and had multiple interviews on what I was looking for in a partner. I was supposed to be one of three guys (known as secondaries) that went out with one woman (primary). After the interviews, they liked me so much, they changed me to be a primary.
I was set up with three women. I knew nothing about them prior to meeting, only where to go and if I needed any special gear. One was nice but clearly there to advance her career in entertainment. One of my worst moments in dating was when we were introduced and I saw the utter look of disappointment on her face as I was clearly not attractive by her standards. Also, she was everything I hate about dating in Los Angeles, she was nice enough but not for me.
The second date was perfect and we hit it off well. The third was way out there and not for me. The third date was clearly there to add some scripted drama. They made us record a couple of scenes over and over of her doing something to me that would bring shock to the audience.
On all the dates we had a chaperone and we had microphones on us the entire time. At random intervals during the date, the chaperone/producer would pull one of us aside to interview about how the date was going. So we would duck into a hallway and discuss how we felt on camera so they could get tidbits of reel for the show.
The day of was… WOW intense. I was ushered back and forth to wardrobe and makeup, and I had to answer a ton of questions on the fly. I remember waiting to go on stage standing next to Andy. He couldn’t have been a sweeter guy to me. He told me about how he had reviewed my video and that I was such a sweet charming guy and the whole country was about to fall in love with me. Honestly, he brought me a lot of peace right before we went on the stage.
I got on the stage and I was rated by my looks by each of the contestants. Personally, I would say I am about a 7. Decent enough looking with a good personality that might carry me up a point or two. My heart sank when the first date rated me a 4. Nothing stings more than having an attractive woman rate you ugly in front of a camera, live audience, and America. The second date rated me high, like an 8 or something and the third rated me a 4. So yeah, America knows I am ugly now. Awesome.
I wound up matching with the one who rated me an 8 and won a ton of cash. The day after we were matched, everything was magical! She proceeded to tell me the next day she never wanted to see me again. Fast forward to a week later where we had to film the “date after” footage. She clearly did not want to be there and would not talk to me. The second we were done filming she left without saying a word. I still wonder if she was just a plant to play along nice and string me along for the show but who knows.
9. Not me, but a family member was on a dating show, did quite well, although didn’t end up with the guy. She had said that a lot of the personalities depicted for certain women were very much just cherry-picking specific scenes to portray them differently than they were in the house.
She had also said they were confined to the house with very little opportunities to leave, essentially creating a stressful environment where tensions are likely to boil over.
They had the opportunity to go back on the show in a different capacity and turned down the offer, so I do not think they would recommend it.
10. My brother was a production assistant on some show that was produced somewhere in southern California.
The whole premise was a guy and a girl who used to be a couple, but are now respectively seeing other people, are placed in a room or situation where they have to be near each other for a period of time. Cameras are rolling capturing the interaction. Let’s call these people persons A and B.
The new significant others (who don’t know each other) are placed in their own room and there are cameras rolling capturing their interaction. Let’s call these persons C and D.
The twist is there is a red light in the room of persons C and D. The red light was to illuminate whenever there was physical contact between persons A and B.
One of my brother’s jobs was to push the button that turns on the red light. In one particular episode person’s A and B we’re not doing anything that should have bothered persons C and D, and this not making for good television caused the producer or director whoever told my brother to push the button on numerous occasions. He protested but ultimately did what he was told.
One of my brother’s other jobs was to drive them back to the LA area when shooting was done. Well couple A/C was having quite the argument. The girl (C) accusing her boyfriend (A) of physical contact with ex girlfriend (B). Guy (A) denied all of it, naturally.
Well, my brother couldn’t take it anymore he spilled the beans and told the whole van full of people how the director had instructed him to push the button even when there was no physical contact.
11. I was an actor in the 90s/00s. Our agency supplied actors to dating shows. We had three people pretending to be in a love triangle, being sad and emotional and angry and whatever, and we watched a recording of it in our classes, including the three in question, laughing at the sheer… well, falsehood of it all. It was basically improv. I actually didn’t know until then that the contestants were faked. I guess real people do apply, so perhaps they use a mixture of real applicants and stooges to pad out other episodes.
12. A mate went on Dinner Date. Had the date and the producers said they’d call him in the next few days after the winner had been chosen by the girl and they were ready to film the conclusion. They called him on a Friday night while we were in the pub but they wouldn’t tell him if he’d won and was going out or whether they would just be filming the rejection. He wanted to stay at the pub but I convinced him to go back. Turns out he lost and after 10 mins of filming spent the evening at home on his own, he was pretty annoyed!
13. A girl I went to high school with was on Married At First Sight, and she said it was mostly scripted and edited to make her look super bad because people ‘love the drama.’ Except, I couldn’t tell it was edited. That’s just how she was. Anyway, she’s engaged again. So it obviously didn’t make her look too bad.
14. Good buddy of mine was on a Bachelorette style show. He was drunk most of the time. They used the lavalier mics to have PAs restock whiskey and replace kegs more than they used it to record actual audio for the show.
It was interesting to see parts of his “story” being told as sweet and kind man, but as a good friend I could just see the drunk on his face on a lot of his dates/interactions. He ended up winning. They also NDA’d him to hell and he refused to talk about the show in any capacity until a year or so after it aired.
15. So I’ve had the liberty of dating a girl (now an ex) who was on a dating show and here’s what I can relay from what I remember:
There are planted actors/actresses who act outrageously for added production drama in practically every show like this.
A large portion of fights/drama that happen are the cause of spread rumors from production to once again spice things up.
Lots of it is artificial. Even when the chemistry seems to go well between two people on these shows, they rarely end up together once it’s over. Again, the biggest shock from her was how immensely planted most of these shows are.
16. I don’t know if anyone remembers Singled Out, but me and a couple friends were on that show when Carmen Electra first took over. It was an all-day affair for the 30-minute show. But the basic behind the scenes was after waiting in line for a while the producers came out and selected the 50 people and sent the remaining however many home or asked them to come back for the afternoon taping. Then once you were given a number as a potential contestant, you got in line and went to meet with an intern who would ask you a quick 20-50 question survey of really random stuff like favorite food, hair color, blablabla. Then once that was done we all went on set and were given the rundown of what to do when you were eliminated, what to do when you were selected, etc. Anyhow the producers hand-selected the 8 people that would be whittled down for the next round and geared the questions to ensure the “suitor” would select those people. It was really well socially engineered with how to eliminate “anyone with brown hair” through some sexual innuendo. Once we were selected to be in the final 8, we took a quick break and went on to the next phase of the game. This part was pretty much entirely unscripted on our side, but I can’t speak for the suitor. I personally got to carry Carmen as though I was Indy Jones through the snake pit to get the golden idol. I didn’t end up winning, but I did get to carry Carmen. And the line “Don’t squeeze the Carmen” will forever be an inside joke with me and some friends.
17. One of my friends was on one of those shows where a bunch of people live together in the same house. I never even bothered to watch it after what he told me. The “romances” were all fake and so were the “fights.” They had specific lines, told people where to stand, and even gave him props like fake bottles to throw.
They didn’t even live in the house, basically just showed up for a couple hours a day for filming and then go back to a hotel. Ironically, he did end up hooking up with one of the other people on the show, but not the one they paired him with for TV.
18. I was an alternate for Chicago’s Married at First Sight. The production company’s casting people contacted me on Tinder and asked if I was interested. I was trying to make it as a musician in Chicago so I was like I’ll do anything for attention. I had two zoom meetings with the casting people in LA and one final meeting where they narrowed down the folks they were going to invite to the casting episode. They had me sign a huuuuuge contract even before being selected saying that if I was selected I was in no matter what. It showed when they anticipated filming and what the living situation would be should I be chosen. I had to fill out a huge questionnaire about my personal and relationship background. They filmed at a hotel downtown and had like 20 men and 20 women show up. They took about two hours just filming us walking into different rooms and up the elevator and coming out of the elevator. There were three cameras and three PAs and the sound guys and the hosts. After about three hours of shooting b roll they put us all in a big room and filmed us “learning” about the show. We had known the whole time but they filmed us “finding out” four or five times and told us to react differently each time. Then we got put back into the big room together where they did some group interviews. They then called us individually to another room where they asked us individual questions we delivered to the camera. I mostly made everything up because I wanted to be on the show but I suppose I was sorta interested in them picking me a marriage partner or whatever. After that, they put us back in the big room and did some other b roll shooting and then we were done. 8-10 hour day nothing was a surprise. Everything was entirely scripted and they can pretty much make anyone’s story arc look like anything with the amount of footage they shot. It was interesting but reality TV is 100% all the time scripted
19. There has been a contestant in Germany who was a teacher and attended Naked Attraction. She got fired.
20. Not me, but my best friend was on First Dates (Dutch one).
There was a lot of waiting, I think he was there for 4 hours in total. Had to eat a 3 course meal at 12 in the afternoon.
What I thought was also funny was that the shot of them walking towards the restaurant is shot way before the actual date. So they are not walking towards their date, they just approach the restaurant and then go back to the waiting room.
21. My next-door neighbor was a girl on The Bachelor and my mom was mad when she came home early because it spoiled it for her that she must not have been chosen.
22. I was on MTV’s Disaster Date. The producers were tipped off that I knew I was going to be on the show (it was supposed to be some awful hidden camera “date gone bad” show) but I was already on my way to the filming location. They told me to act normal. We did the bit and it was hella awkward. They came in cheered, clapped after the big reveal, cut me a check and broke down all of the equipment in like 10 minutes, and left.
I was also called in to audition for the Real World SEVEN times. They never cast me, probably for the best.
23. I was on one of the shows where they approach people in the street and ask if they would go on a date with some random girl(s) that’s on the show, then try to set you up. Had to sign a bunch of paperwork but was legit, just extremely lame.
24. My wife (then, girlfriend) was subletting a room from a lady who was trying to sell a show concept where they interview six people, and then a celebrity panel has to guess which people are couples.
Wife got an amazing deal on the place (and lady used to take her out for really fancy meals all the time), so we did the pilot as a favor. We were each interviewed for ~3 hours having to tell the same stories a few times over and over. I thought it was pretty fun, but I laughed when I saw the two other couples, both Hollywood beautiful while we were both grad students in engineering programs…definitely looking our parts.
Sadly the show was never picked up, and we weren’t even able to get a cut of the final version of the episode to see what it would have looked like.
25. Not quite a dating show but not far off, my best friend and her husband got married on Don’t Tell The Bride. I was part of the bridal party. They were happy to be married for free but the experience as a whole was terrible. Incredibly stressful, lots of reshoots of the same conversation, blatantly pushing specific outcomes for the best TV. I totally understand why they do it, but when we finally saw my friend’s husband after three weeks of filming, he looked physically ill from the stress.
26. I was one of the final… I want to say 20? in selection for the first season Beauty and the Geek Australia, but ultimately didn’t make the final cast.
My whole thing was that I was (still am) a rapper, but also a giant nerd. When we got into the final one-on-ones with the producers, they asked if I had any special skills, and so I told them that yeah, I rap. I actually had a song that had a LITTLE radio play at the time called Sci-Fi Geek, so they asked me to perform it, which I did acapella.
Anyway, I didn’t make the show because I don’t think I was “book smart” enough (like, most of the cast had multiple doctorates) which I was bummed about, but I got over it. Anyway, when it aired, I received multiple text messages saying I urgently had to watch it!
The very first week- on THE FIRST FUCKING EPISODE- the challenge for the Geeks was to write and perform a rap song for the beauties. They essentially distilled my whole pitch down to use for one episode. It felt like I’d slightly been wronged by that one!
27. I work behind the camera, but my friend had auditioned and was selected to be on some dating drama show for MTV (the premise was pretty stupid and I don’t think it ever went to air). She suddenly had to come up with a boyfriend because she was very single and I got to play the token gay best friend who she vents all of her manufactured relationship struggles to.
And it was 100% manufactured. The producer would tell us to do stuff and gave us topics to discuss to create drama. And the “dates” were prearranged by production ahead of time – we got a schedule of everything they were going to do a week in advance – their “date” at a fancy restaurant, her confessing her relationship issues to me at a bar (but it was actually inside of the same restaurant and filmed before their date), and then her introducing me to the boyfriend at a frozen yogurt shop. We each had to do confessional-style interviews where the producer would ask us a question and we had to answer by rephrasing the question in the form of a statement and then answering ourselves.
Suffice it to say, the “relationship” didn’t work out and I’m pretty sure they didn’t speak again after we wrapped.
28. Had a non-actor friend on MTVs Next in the early 00’s as one of the three suitors on the bus. I watched the episode and the banter didn’t sound like him at all. I asked and he said “every single word out of my mouth was scripted”.
29. A friend was on the Irish First Dates. She said everything took ages. They had to get there early and wait for hours to be called, they were told to take a toilet break during the date so they could be filmed phoning someone, this took a long time as they had to change microphones, afterwards they had to wait around to be filmed talking about the date. They were given €20 towards the meal and had to pay the rest themselves. The taxi afterwards is just for filming purposes and drops them off round the corner, they have to make their own way home.
30. I don’t speak Spanish fluently, but one time I appeared on Doce Corazones (12 Hearts), which is a Spanish language romance show where a woman has to choose from 12 men to date. (Living in Southern California, where it’s filmed, and a Spanish-speaking friend of mine dragged me to the set when they had a last-minute cancellation and needed someone to stand in.)
Anyway, the gimmick of the show is that each of the 12 guys has a different zodiac sign, and I guess that’s part of the host/matchmaker’s recommendation to the woman. I didn’t really understand what was going on, but they didn’t care what my actual birthday was. They just told me to pretend to be a Sagittarius for the show. I made it to the second round (the woman didn’t kick me off immediately, much to my surprise).
When she asked me to describe myself, I just kind of said “You know, I’m a nice guy who likes having fun” or something ridiculous in my high school level Spanish. It was a silly but memorable experience. Wish I could find it on YouTube. It would have been 2005 or 2006.