These Famous Reality TV Shows Are Actually Fake!

Whether we’d admit it or not, we all enjoy watching reality shows from time to time and yelling at our TV sets.
Getty Images Photo by: Trae Patton
Getty Images Photo by: Trae Patton
In truth, most of these so-called “reality shows” are actually staged and predetermined. They involve carefully crafted scenarios, archetypal actors, or sometimes even both. Just to prove it, we’ve gathered a list of the world’s most popular reality TV shows that surprisingly do not depict reality at all.

The Osbournes

One of the first reality TV shows to follow a family of semi-lunatics around while they engage in a lot of drama was ‘The Osbournes’.

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It eventually came out that most of the show’s events were actually scripted. ‘The Osbournes’ simply came up with crazy ideas before each episode.

Cake Boss

It was inevitable that the popularity of reality shows would eventually lead to one about cakes. Unfortunately, ‘Cake Boss’ really takes the cake when it comes to exaggerating drama and controversies.

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Valastro is often reported to not even work in his shop when the show isn’t filming. Some of the weddings were also reported as fake.

American Idol

‘American Idol’ was one of the pioneers in the reality audition TV show format.

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Turns out, the show’s producers send talent scouts to make sure they have a few winners at the end of each episode and fills the rest of the time with terrible participants who are known flops ahead of time.

Say Yes to the Dress

‘Say Yes To The Dress’ basically follows a bride’s journey while finding the ideal wedding dress. Many people that have attended the show’s sets have claimed that a lot of the participant’s reactions were rehearsed and dramatized.

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The bridal boutique featured on the show was also exaggerated in its size and popularity.

Hell’s Kitchen

Gordon Ramsey used ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ to become a household figure and is regularly shown yelling at some of the show’s less competent participants.

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Sadly, not only is most of the show scripted, but many of the actual customers of the restaurant are paid actors.

MasterChef USA

Whether or not ‘MasterChef’, or any show involving Gordon Ramsay is real, everyone watches these shows to see the notorious chef yelling at people and inventing creative expletives.

 

It’s still worth mentioning that, Ben Starr, a former participant, wrote a long blog post claiming that the entire behavior of the cast is fake and intentionally overdramatized.

90 Day Fiance

The premise of the show is that a person “imports” a potential foreign wife or husband, and has 90 days to marry them before their tourist visa expires.

 

There are so many things wrong about ’90 Day Fiance’ that many of us hoped it was fake from the get-go.

Dance Moms

Like many popular reality shows, the main entertaining crutch behind ‘Dance Moms’ is the drama and confrontations.

 

In 2015, Maddie Ziegler revealed that the production basically set it up so that everyone was always mad and yelling at each other.

Beauty and the Geek

The premise behind ‘Beauty and the Geek’ is simple, take a classic dating show and flip it upside down by pitting some of the most beautiful women on earth with the nerdiest men god has ever created.

 

Not only were many of the geeks acting, but some of the girls were paid, actresses.

Restaurant Stakeout

Willie Degel gets behind the counter in unsuccessful food establishments and fixes their broken businesses. He does this by firing inadequate staff members in a highly dramatic fashion.

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One of the show’s participants admitted the studio contacted him and screened for bad employees. They also asked the restaurant’s staff to act as horribly as possible.

Project Runway

‘Project Runway’ is quite a popular show, and gives a supposed behind-the-scenes look into the work that goes into runway fashion shows. Unfortunately, the show has been outed by many of its former participants.

 

These designers claim that scenes are extremely sensationalized and that the reality is much more boring.

Judge Judy

Audiences have been following Judge Judy and her myriad of strange and cringe-inducing cases for over two decades. The show turned this judge into one of the most famous people in the United States.

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While the cases are as real as they get, the actual outcomes of each case are always decided before the filming begins.

Pawn Stars

‘Pawn Stars’ might as well be called Acting Stars, as most of its scenes are completely scripted. The store is owned by the Harrison family but functions mostly as a tourist attraction rather than an actual business.

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The items on the show are usually researched with prices agreed ahead of time, and the stars don’t even work the counter when cameras aren’t filming.

Ghost Hunters

We don’t really know how to describe the fact that a reality show about ghosts is fake, it pretty much goes without saying. But we’ll do our best.

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Basically, many people accuse ‘Ghost Hunters’ of being mostly scripted and not very realistic. Nevertheless, it’s definitely entertaining. Ghostly and fake, but entertaining.

Cupcake Wars

We would be extremely happy if countries could actually wage wars using cupcakes, but for now, let’s just settle on watching ‘Cupcake Wars’ instead.

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In truth, various rumors have been circulating that much of the competition in the show is actually fake. Half baked and fake!

Love Island

‘Love Island’ is simply a mix of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘Survivor’. The show pairs a group of singles on a tropical island, but according to one naughty Reddit user, it’s completely fake.

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Everything, from the arguments to the dramas on the show, is made up and acted. Romantically fake.

Mob Wives

‘Mob Wives’ basically took a bunch of rugged, tough women from Staten Island, N.Y. that were married to mobsters and pitted them against each other. Many of the show’s events were staged or produced.

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Most of its participants don’t actually frequent together, so the producers essentially created various dramatic scenes and fights between them.

Toddlers and Tiaras

There’s something extremely cringe-inducing about ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’, a show which takes the already debatable idea of having adults argue on TV for entertainment, and makes children do it instead.

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However, many of the show’s participants and former staff came forward and claimed that the show is largely scripted, with the drama mostly being fake.

Britain’s Got Talent

Fans of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ mostly tune in to watch Simon Cowell get paid almost $100 million per year to dish out creative criticism to the show’s participants.

 

Unfortunately, in 2015 it was revealed that some of the show’s talents are fake, with producers doing everything they can to make sure things stay interesting.

The Apprentice

Before Donald Trump became President, he was polishing his acting skills. The show made him almost as popular as Oprah and revolves around Trump interviewing candidates for a chance to work for him.

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Many of the show’s firing scenes were highly exaggerated, and participants knew ahead of time that they were about to get the ax.

Property Brothers

Another sad case of fake reality TV is the popular real-estate show, ‘Property Brothers’. It follows the lovable Canadian brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, as they broker home sales from start to finish.

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The brothers allegedly only renovate a portion of the houses. Additionally, many of the exchanges are often shot several times to get the best dramatic effect.

The Hills

If you’re looking for a reality show that takes gossiping to backstabbing and puts them on the forefront, ‘The Hills’ was made just for you.

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However, most of these events and dramas are scripted. Spencer Pratt revealed that he and Heidi Montag had to re-shoot the scene where they thought she was pregnant fifteen times to make it as intense as producers wanted.

Survivor

‘Survivor’ might just be the longest-running reality TV show of all time, as it has been running annually for more than two decades. Unfortunately, whether it started in recent years or decades ago, the show has been outed as mostly fake.

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Producers have even admitted to using stunt doubles for many of the team’s challenges.

Duck Dynasty

‘Duck Dynasty’ revolves around the Robertson family, which makes most of its vast wealth with creative duck hunting products. The show ran for 130 episodes and proved that beards can be extremely entertaining.

 

However, most of the show’s drama was exaggerated for ratings, and producers often inserted ‘bleeps’ even when the cast wasn’t swearing.

WWE Smackdown / Raw

While most boys learn by age twelve that wrestling is fake, a handful of them grows up believing these battles to be true.

 

It’s hard to imagine that some fans still think that you can get smacked in the head by a chair repeatedly and just show up the next week like everything’s fine.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Whatever you might think about Kim Kardashian and her family, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that they have managed to make literally billions off their name and likeness by ginning up controversy and getting attention.

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It still draws in millions every week though, so apparently, the truth isn’t all that important.

Breaking Amish

In today’s always-connected world, a group like the Amish tends to get quite a unique reputation, and many are obviously fascinated about their lives. ‘Breaking Amish’ introduced the premise of Amish people trying to break away from their confined lifestyles and moving to New York.

 

It’s known at this point that the show is actually fake, as these people aren’t really Amish, just acting.

Southern Charm

‘Southern Charm’ is proof that you can make any show successful as long as you put an interesting spin on the classic formula of ‘The Real Housewives’.

 

While its premise is interesting, former participant Danni Baird stated that many of its cast didn’t even live in Charleston. He also claimed that much of the drama was pre-scripted by producers.

Hardcore Pawn

‘Hardcore Pawn’ revolves around the Gold family, who runs a pawn shop in Detroit’s rough 8 Mile. While the show teaches you a thing or two about negotiations and handling people, much of its drama is fake.

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Many of the show’s participants later claimed that their incredibly exaggerated fights with the Gold family were completely fake.

I Am Cait

Caitlyn Jenner rocked the world when she announced her transitione into a female, and everyone wanted to follow her story. ‘I Am Cait’ was the answer to that demand, and followed her throughout her challenging gender transition.

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Once the first season was over, most of the excitement was gone, so the producers began creating fake scenarios for Cait to react to.

Jersey Shore

In 2009, ‘Jersey Shore’ became one of the world’s most popular reality shows. While the cast members are friends in real life, most of their drama is apparently made up.

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A lawyer whose offices were located just across the street from them reported that many of their walkouts were not only staged but rehearsed to perfection.

Undercover Boss

There’s a lot of merit behind a show about hard-working people finally getting rewarded for all their under-credited hard work. Each episode revolves around a company’s boss going undercover and learning crucial lessons about his employees and business.

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Unfortunately, various reports indicate that the show is mostly fake, including the various promises made to employees.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

In 2009, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ showed the world what would happen when you take a bunch of drag queens and put them in a reality show.

 

Despite its popularity, former contestant Jaremi Carey, claims that the show’s producers often ginned-up drama by intentionally getting him emotional and then cutting clips deceptively to make him look bad.

Long Island Medium

Whatever your opinion is on mediums, you can’t deny that they have a certain appeal. Theresa Caputo, the show’s star medium, has been involved in many, many scandals and legal issues over the years.

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The star has also been accused of receiving most of her readings from the crew through a hidden earbud.

Pimp My Ride

MTV and Xzibit teamed up for a show about breaking down mediocre cars and turning them into pimped out rides. Unfortunately, many of its restorations were fake.

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Many of the cars that were “pimped out” never actually got improved the way they were shown. They were simply outfitted with various props that just look good on camera.

The Biggest Loser

Let’s face it, most of us should probably spend a little more time exercising and a little less on watching people try to lose weight on ‘The Biggest Loser’.

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The show is notorious for putting its overweight participants on soul-crushing diets that end up backfiring horribly after the show ends.

WAGS LA

WAGS quickly became one of the E’s most-watched reality shows. The premise was a behind-the-scenes look at the life and drama of being a sports star’s wife.

 

Unfortunately, most of the conflicts in the show were completely made up. The show’s deceptiveness got to the point where some women in it didn’t even date these athletes in real life!

Catfish

MTV’s ‘Catfish’ features hosts Nev and Max as they help people uncover the identities of those they’ve been chatting with online.

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You’d think that they get approached by people who suspect they are being catfished, but many reports claim that the show’s producers actually get approached by people who catfish and want to apply for it.

Last Comic Standing

Everyone loves a good standup show. The show is centered around finding highly talented comedians and giving them the spotlight. Unfortunately, it was reported that the show’s production ends up picking the winners instead of the judges.

 

They also deceptively edit good performances to make them look like flops. Why would anyone do that?

What Not To Wear

Many people dream of getting $5,000 to achieve a total fashion makeover. Some of the show’s participants claimed that the producers forced them to give away all their old clothes to charity.

 

This was done in order to get tax breaks on their new clothes, which pretty much made them free for the TLC network.

The Real World

“The Real World” is actually not real at all. Many of its participants admitted that most of the conversations that happened in the house were actually scripted and pre-planned by the producers.

 

Everyone gets a rough direction of what they need to do or say, and improvise their way from there.

Total Bellas

Professional wrestling always included its fair share of women athletes, as they bring a much-needed air of femininity to this mostly male sport.

 

‘Total Bellas’ was originally pitched as a reality show about two prominent female wrestlers. We’re not surprised the show was completely fake, considering its source material.

Bridezillas

Marriage is indeed a very stressful thing, the pressure of having a perfect event can really pile up on a bride.

 

While ‘Bridezillas’ manages to capture this reality quite well, many of the show’s participants claimed that production misled them in one way or another. That’s not a nice thing to do to a bride, but anything for ratings, right?

House Hunters

‘House Hunters’ follows various individuals, couples, and families as they hire agents to find the house of their dreams.

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Like many of these shows, many aspects of it are completely fake. In truth, many of the show’s participants have already found their house and are living in it before the filming even begins.

Storage Wars

When David Hester, host of ‘Storage Wars’ was fired, he went to the press and claimed much of the show was fake.

 

In response, the network sued him, and he was recently forced to pay roughly $122,692 in legal costs. The show was fake, but amounts of cash were very real.

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

Like many reality TV shows that revolve around finding love, both shows are mostly scripted. There have been many rumors of producers basically working behind the scenes to create much of the drama on the show.

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Everything from casting to the eventual rose ceremony is predetermined, and producers of the show are in control from start to finish.

Basketball Wives

‘Basketball Wives’ follows the lives and drama involved in being married to famous basketball players.

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Unfortunately for the show’s producers, in an astonishing interview, former cast member Matt Barnes claimed that the show is entirely fake. His claims were backed up by Tanya Young, who was equally unsupportive of the show’s creators.

The Simple Life

There’s nothing quite like watching rich socialites try to live like the rest of us. ‘The Simple Life’ put Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in situations that forced them to do actual work.

 

While the show was real in the sense that the girls did work a lot, Hilton admitted that most of their reactions were exaggerated for entertainment value.

The City

Whitney Port from ‘The Hills’ got her own spin-off show in ‘The City’. Port went to live in New York City got into various dramatic scenarios throughout her day.

 

While the show was essentially real in terms of the people involved, many of its events were either staged or forced by the production.

South Beach Tow

We thought that nobody would watch a show about towing illegally parked cars, but ‘South Beach Tow’ proved us wrong.

 

The show’s lead star, Bernice, is known for using incredibly creative methods for towing cars. The show is obviously fake, but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely fun to watch.

Teen Mom

‘Teen Mom’  revolves around young girls who have gotten pregnant before age 18 and their journeys through motherhood.

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While all the arrests, breakups, and other issues shown were real, many of the dramatic conversations were edited to seem a lot harsher than they actually were.

Vanderpump Rules

Lisa Vanderpump got her chance for a spin-off with ‘Vanderpump Rules’. In the show, she and her staff are followed as they try to manage her restaurant, SUR.

 

A fan of the show noticed that one of the characters was repeatedly shown with and without her necklace during a scene, which pointed to the fact that it was shot several times and only later pieced together.

The Voice

We’re sad to announce that ‘The Voice’ isn’t quite as authentic as many would want to believe, but don’t take it from us.

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Rock singer Adam Wiener claimed that he was approached by the show, but eventually chose to decline their offer to participate. He said the show not only chooses their performers but also picks their songs and music styles.

The Real Housewives

There was a lot of speculation over the years whether ‘The Real Housewives’ was scripted or not. The debate around the authenticity of the show came to an end when Teresa Giudice, one of its stars, swore in court under oath that it was fake.

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The star claimed that everything, from the meetings to the confrontations, is all planned in advance by the production.

Divorce Court

‘Divorce Court’ revolves around married couples that need to come to a resolution around their divorce.

 

One mother claimed that her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were hired to act and basically fake a marriage story on the show.

Naked And Afraid

‘Naked And Afraid’ basically takes that premise and runs naked with it, as the show takes participants and makes them live half nude on an island.

 

The show is extremely produced. Participants receive from staff various amenities that don’t exactly exist on desert islands, such as tampons and various supplements.

The Jerry Springer Show

‘The Jerry Springer Show’ is one of the most outlandish and exaggerated shows on TV. It basically features the worst of humanity, from fathers who happily abandon their children, up to some pretty messed up cases of family abuse.

 

At least it’s clear by the audience’s reaction that they’re having lots of fun, and we viewers at home feel good about ourselves.

Fixer Upper

Producers of ‘Fixer Upper’ weren’t going to risk investing much time and resources only to fail at finding a house for their participants. Most of the show’s houses were already purchased before filming began.

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Homeowners were reportedly required to pay extra to keep their new furniture, and the production team often skipped renovating various rooms for the sake of cutting down expenses.

Cribs

‘Cribs’ ran for more than a decade, and featured the houses of many popular entertainment figures.

 

However, a woman named Janette Verla sued MTV after her leased house was promoted as Ja Rule’s fake crib. They may be luxurious, but they’re also very fake.

Famously Single

The E! Networks’ ‘Famously Single’ brings together sever celebs who haven’t yet met their match and tries to set them up with various romantic prospects.

 

The show features the stars’ dates, recaps, and therapy sessions to help maintain the feeling of reality. However, the celebrities aren’t exactly talented actors, and the dramatic happening depicted in the show are often artificial.

Wife Swap

‘Wife Swap’ was incredibly popular. The format involves two households swapping matriarchs with viewers watching the dramatic conflicts ensue.

 

Changing house rules for a family is bound to create some conflict, but the producers amped those conflicts. Production meddling has gone as far as targeted editing and even showing supposedly married couples who weren’t partners in real life!

Big Brother

CBS’s ‘Big Brother’ is the ultimate reality show. It features strangers in a house with 24/7 cameras and different weekly challenges and public eliminations.

 

Yes, the participants are being constantly filmed, which makes completely faking it a little hard. However, the footage used in the regularly scheduled episodes is edited to favor some of them.

Dancing With the Stars

‘Dancing With The Stars’ has been on for more than 20 seasons and it keeps raking in some serious viewership. You may have noticed that some of these stars appear pretty professional prancing on the dance floor.

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Some reports claim that the producers regularly interfere with votes and use elimination as a threat held over the heads of participants who don’t follow directions.

American Pickers

Watching ‘American Pickers’ on the History Channel will have you thinking people are natural-born hagglers. You might be surprised, however, to learn that most of the items featured on the show have a price that was agreed upon off-camera.

 

There is an actual screening process involved designed to make sure that the items aired have some sort of entertainment value.

Total Divas

More than anything else, pro wrestling matches are essentially displays of choreographed stunts. So we can’t really hold it against ‘Total Divas’ for being fake as well.

 

This show supposedly follows pro-wrestling women and their behind-the-scenes intrigue. However, Most of the show is scripted, as confirmed by some of the participants.

Guy’s Grocery Games

Guy Fieri has transitioned into a career as a celebrity chef a long time ago. His show involves challenging other chefs with culinary tasks.

 

Flavortown Market, the famous grocery store where the challenges take place, is all fake. Well, the products are real, and so are the aisles, but that food that isn’t being used gets donated to local charities.

Chopped

Comparing to other shows on this list, a lot of what you see on ‘Chopped’ is actually real. However, there are some adjustments.

 

One such adjustment is letting the judges try the food when the time is up so they don’t have to eat it at room temp. Also, the producers sometimes stir the pot by hiding some pantry items or deliberately stocking it with a limited amount of a certain product.

Beachfront Bargain Hunt

People go scouting for their dream beach house with the help of a realtor. Apparently, there was at least one episode that was faked from top to bottom.

 

The episode included a realtor who had a chance to be featured on the show but as a client. Filming took place in the middle of March, but she and her husband had to pretend it happened in the summer.

Love It or List It

Would you choose your own home after a professional redecoration or a brand new one? This was the ‘Love It or List It’ format, as viewers and participants were led to believe.

 

One couple who went on the show reported that their home was left needing repairs after the redecoration (holes in the floor, painted-shut windows, and more).

Mountain Men

‘Mountain Men’, aired on the History Channel may feature some rugged men roughing it through some unforgiving terrain. Testosterone all around. Their scruffy character is real but that’s about it.

 

Reality is pretty different: the men rarely slum things down in their personal lives and have the financial means to do so.

Designed to Sell

Let’s say someone participated in a reality show that renovated their house so you can sell it. Let’s say they’re not interested in selling anytime soon. HGTV found a nice (fake) way to deal with those kinds of participants in ‘Designed to Sell’.

 

They just host a fake open house. That fake open house is full of fake potential buyers.

The HGTV Dream Home Giveaway

So yes, this show does live up to its title in the sense that it gifts someone a new home. What you don’t really see on HGTV is how high the tax for the house is.

 

Those who win also win an obligatory tax that’s worth 40% of the whole property value. Sadly, it is very rare for any of the winners to actually keep the house.

Deadliest Catch

‘Deadliest Catch’ pastes scenes from different occurrences into one for dramatic effect, plus the show is actually damaging the fishing industry and real-life fishing crews.

 

You see, the fishing crews on the show make their money from being on TV, unlike the people who fish for a living.

Chrisley Knows Best

‘Christley Knows Best’ follows the lives of real estate legend Todd Christley and his family. It first premiered in 2014 and has since spawned no less than eight seasons and three spinoffs.

 

An inside source from the show’s set admitted that most of the dialogue on it is scripted. In an effort to keep the comedy going, scenes that didn’t turn out as funny as Christley imagined get re-shot.

Ice Road Truckers

The first season opening of ‘Ice Road Truckers’ shows a huge truck breaking through an ice road and falling into the icy water below it.

 

People who’ve participated in the show have confessed to it being scripted and heavily edited to paint average people as villains or heroes. Furthermore, the show portrays ice road trucking as far more dangerous than it actually is.

Mystery Diners

‘Mystery Diners’ on The Food Network is hosted by Charles Stiles. He gets contacted by restaurant owners who are worried about employees going rogue.

 

The misbehaving employees are reportedly paid actors. The reason why none of the other employees speak is that they have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and keep things hush-hush.

Geordie Shore

‘Geordie Shore’ is the British take on the not-so-real American reality show ‘Jersey Shore’. And if you’ve ever tried watching the latter, you’ve probably guessed it’s incredibly fake.

 

The thing that without a doubt outed the show’s fakery was one of its 2018 trailers. Marnie herself later tweeted that the show is “fake and scripted”.

Made in Chelsea

No, not the Chelsea in New York, the one in London. Although it doesn’t really matter because it’s totally fake.

 

Former participants actually spoke against the producers and the way they script different happenings and create drama where there isn’t any. One of them has even gone on record saying that they filmed fake dinners early in the morning.

Alaskan Bush People

‘Alaskan Bush People’ follows the Brown family, who were supposedly born and raised in the Alaskan Bush. However, it didn’t take long for contradictory reports to surface.

 

For starters, the family’s neighbors told the media that the family has once lived in the modern Alaskan Icy Strait Lodge. Then there are testimonies stating that the family’s so-called Bush home was only used for filming and they didn’t really live there. And finally, the media has discovered that the Browns had lived outside of Alaska between 2009-2012, making their legal status as Alaskans questionable. Authenticity is out the icy window.

The Island

Surviving on a deserted island is hard. Just ask the participants of ‘The Island’. Or maybe don’t.

 

The production had to make sure the island had enough food and water for the duration of the shoot. As it turns out, they just created a freshwater pool and imported animals for the men to hunt. Survival is a lot easier when it’s fake.

Made

You can achieve anything you set your mind to! That’s what ‘Made’ is all about — self-improvement and dream catching. Or not.

 

This pseudo-authentic show featured teens who seemed to lack any actual talent in their relevant fields. The thing is, they had been required to fake talentlessness and stick to a script for the sake of the format.

The X Factor

The songs are real, the singers are real, the audience is real. Simon Cowell is definitely real. However, there is something they don’t tell you about the auditioning process.

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The auditions you see on TV are essentially moot because the contestants are pre-screened with some ‘filler’ candidates for entertainment value and supposed credibility.

The Amazing Race

Couples of various relationships and backgrounds go on a journey around the world and compete against each other in different challenges. The winning couple receives a very real million-dollar cash prize.

 

While the challenges in the show are genuine, there is some fakery going on in the casting process. Favoring people who are already financially settled.

Pawn Queens

‘Pawn Queens’ had one season, and one season only, and that’s probably for the best.

 

The entire premise of the show is fake. In fact, one of the two women landed her part on the show after a blind audition where she had no idea what show she was trying out for!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

The people of ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ actually did live up to their promise. They indeed take families in need and built them a new and improved house in a mere week. So far, so good.

 

The thing is, once the house is upgraded, it also increases in value. Sadly, that resulted in many of them having to sell their dream, custom-made home.