Reality television shows have become a very popular guilty pleasure, for some odd reason, we love to watch other people live their lives. We want to see it all, the good, the bad and of course, the ugly. We enjoy a sweet love story but when it comes to drama, the more drama the better. Network producers are aware of the risk of bringing ordinary people on-air because we’re not actors, we make mistakes, and we don’t always say the right things, but it’s exactly those moments they usually become TV gold.
It sounds all good, but the cast members of these shows often get a chance to go from a John or Jane Doe to a celebrity overnight, so naturally, there are plenty of people rushing to become the next big thing, even if it means faking their way on a show. And when networks fail to do their homework properly, things have the potential to get really messy, really fast. Read on to read our list full of juicy details, scandals, and times the top reality shows were caught faking it.
Flip or Flop Hosts’ Relationship
They say don't mix business with pleasure, and this seemed like it was the case for HGTV’s Flip or Flop hosts, Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead (formally El Moussa). These real estate agents would purchase foreclosed homes in Orange County, California and renovate them into spectacular dwellings, while the entire process was documented for the show. Appearing to be the ultimate husband-and-wife duo.
In 2016 reports of the couple to not getting along began to emerge, fighting both at home and on the production set. And then, their most dramatic fall out happened. On May 23, 2016, after a heated argument, Tarek reportedly took his handgun and went off to the hiking trail behind their Orange County home. Christina, frightened, called the police believing her then-husband to be suicidal. A helicopter that flew over found him and escorted him back to his home. Tarek claimed that he was just trying to "blow off some steam."
The El Moussas Called it Quits
After seven years of marriage, the couple officially split up. The couple made a public statement in December 2016 "Like many couples, we have had challenges in our marriage." Despite the couple's separation announcement, they expressed that they will still continue to go to counseling as they decided on the future of their marriage.
With two children involved, divorce wasn't an easy decision to make. Not to mention that Tarek and Christina El Moussa were still had a contract to abide by, requiring them to film several more episodes together in 2017, however awkward it would be.
Christina Moved on Quickly
To many's surprise, Christina began dating their contractor, Gary Anderson. So Tarek's hope of patching things up and saving their marriage seemed futile. El Moussa also took it as a stab in the back because he knew Anderson personally, and everyone knew about his contractors two messy divorces. So what was Christina thinking?
Back then, the fans of Flip or Flop didn’t know the exact details of what led to their favorite hosts' divorce. But then in March of 2017, Tarek El Moussa finally spoke out, "It was a gradual thing over time. We were both very busy people with health issues and kids...we just grew apart," he told US Weekly. Apparently, Christina's relationship with the contractor didn't last long, and later she began dating and eventually marrying English Television presenter, Ant Anstead, and to she is Christina Anstead.
Fixer Upper Skipped Lead Abatement
Chip and Joanna Gaines’ TV series Fixer Upper revolves around their company, Magnolia Homes, renovating old houses around Waco, Texas. Some of the houses they work on are decades old, and the ones built before 1978 were painted with lead-based paint before its use was banned.
After a few episodes aired, the question raised whether the Gaines were getting rid of the toxic paint properly. When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigated Magnolia Homes’ handling of lead-based paint, they found that 33 properties they worked on to be in violation. As a result, the couple had to pay a $40,000 fine and complete $160,000 worth of lead abatement work to resolve the issue.
For Display Purposes Only
On the show, Fixer Upper, the homes at the end of each show are always equipped with the most stunning furniture and décor. The homeowners are usually speechless when they see their new homes. However, it turns out that the Fixer Upper families don’t actually get to enjoy the magnificent interior we see on television.
Talk about a letdown! The viewers that have an eye for details have even noticed that certain pieces were seen multiple times in different houses, and when the network was questioned about it on their website, The Gaines stated that the families have the option to purchase the furnishing but it’s all "dependent on their budget."
Fixer Upper Was a Tough Show to Get On
Of all the shows on HGTV, it's said that Fixer Upper is the hardest to get on because it only films in Waco, Texas, so you'd have to be looking to purchase a home in the area. You also had to already have a minimum of $30,000 for renovations, submit pictures of the house you want remodels plus pictures every one of everyone living in it, and of course, there's loads of lengthy paperwork that needs to be filled out.
A phenomenon Chip and Joanne aren't to fond of is seeing homes they have renovated advertised on Airbnb. So, they made the show's contracts even stricter. A spokesperson explained on behalf of the show, “We want to honor our national viewing audience. We want to do remodels for clients’ homes. That’s the true intent of our show, and we want to ensure that does not get lost in this new vacation rental trend.”
HGTV’s Love It or List It Was Taken to Court
This reality show features the duo, interior designer, Hilary Farr, and real estate agent, David Visentin, as they renovate people's homes, while also shopping around for a home they could potentially buy. As the title implies at the end of each episode, the duo decides if they "love it or list it."
One featured couple, Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan, weren't especially happy with their home after it was renovated by Farr and Visentin. The homeowners put down $140,000 for their home remodeling, but claim that the show only put $85,786.50 back into it, while the rest was spent on production costs. If that wasn't enough, they said that the windows were painted shut, while other parts of their home weren't painted at all, and some of the flooring even had holes in it! Needless to say, the couple wasn't happy about all this and filed a lawsuit against the show’s producers.
The Show Is Scripted, Fake, and Full of Flaws
The lawsuit wasn't enough for Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan. They made sure to put Love It or List It on blast, calling out everyone from the hosts to the production crew, accusing them of shooting a fake show, nothing close to what it portrays on television.
The couple states in the lawsuit, "The show is scripted, with roles and reactions assigned to the various performers and participants, including the homeowners. These characters are actors or television personalities playing a role for the camera, and in this case, none of them played more than a casual role in the actual renovation process." they seem to hate this show with a passion.
One HGTV Show was Canceled for Hosts' Xenophobic Remarks
David and Jason Benham, twin sons of the evangelical Christian minister and right-wing protester Flip Benham, starred in the HGTV series Flip It Forward for four weeks before it got pulled off the air. The Benham brothers claim that the network knew of their beliefs against gay marriage prior to them signing on to the show, but saw that they were "good people", and looked past it.
David is notorious for having previously led anti-gay prayers groups outside of the Democratic National Convention back in 2012 and wrote a controversial blog post comparing the liberal's push to legalize gay marriage to the Nazi regime. If that wasn't enough they've also made some harsh Islamaphobic remarks as well. Once all of this was brought to the attention of the media the show was quickly canceled.
Rehab Addict's Host had a Secret Baby
The host of Rehab Addict, Nicole Curtis presents a squeaky clean image on Television but it hasn’t all been roses and sunshine behind the scenes and she's probably has had the most drama in her life than all the hosts mentioned on our list. Not only did she have a secret baby but she held a whole secret custody battle as well. In her memoir, Better Than New: Lessons I’ve Learned from Saving Old Homes (And How They Saved Me), she reveals how she kept her pregnancy with her second child, her son, Harper, a secret.
She dealt and is still dealing with a custody battle with her son's father, Shane Maguire. She was able to hide her pregnancy on the show by only shooting from the shoulders up, and had the crew strategically place things in front of her baby bump.
Her Own Mother Had to Take Her to Court
In August 2016, Curtis' mother requested a personal protection order against her daughter. She accused Nicole of “mental fits of rage”, yelling and threatening her in over the phone and in person.
This wasn’t the only time Curtis ended up in court. That same year, a judge threatened her with a jail sentence for not paying outstanding attorney fees to her son’s father. After the judge didn’t rule in her favor, Curtis tried again, this time accusing her ex-boyfriend of exposing her son to “extreme violence and danger” after taking him with him to a Black Lives Matter protest.
Rehab Addict’s Biggest Failure
The Rehab Addict host is famous for renovating old homes in Minnesota and Michigan area but there was one house that she actually bought in Minneapolis for just two dollars back in 2012. What a steal! She promised to renovate it; however, years later, it remains as she bought it.
Comes to find out, Curtis never paid all of the necessary taxes on the house, so, the city of Minneapolis may be the ones inviting her to her next court visit. There's also a contractor that claims that she didn’t pay him for the work he did on one of her houses. Too many lawsuits to keep up with.
Property Brother's Bar Fight
Twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, also known as the Property Brothers, help couples find fixer-uppers and transform them into the home of their dreams. Back in 2016, one half of the brother duo, Jonathan, got mixed up in a bar fight in Fargo, North Dakota. He got involved in some kind of scuffle with the bar staff and was (forcibly) removed from the bar.
One of the staff members told the police that Jonathan pulled the "Don’t you know who I am?" line, and that never goes over well in these types of situations. Ultimately, no charges were filed against him, lucky man.
Property Brothers Aren't Big Fans of Tiny Houses
Drew and Jonathan Scott dissed the whole concept of another fellow HGTV show called Tiny Houses during an interview with the Omaha World-Herald back in 2016.
“The problem is, tiny houses don’t conform to code. It’s fine if you want something that’s kind of a travel camper, something like that, but to actually think about living in a tiny home, it’s not feasible for most families,” said Drew. Was just "keeping it real", or should he have shown more support of the show?
Identical Appearance, Very Different Love Life
After getting engaged in 2016, Drew and his longtime girlfriend, Linda Phan finally tied the knot in a romantic ceremony in Italy.
Meanwhile, Jonathan split up with his girlfriend, Jacinta Kuznetsov, after being together for two years. Before that, Jonathan was married to an airline crew scheduler named Kelsey but their marriage lasted only two years. While Scott seems to have a solid relationship, Jonathan hasn't been so lucky when it comes to love. We're sure he'll find someone who will truly love him and appreciate his style and design abilities.
House Hunters is Totally Staged, Allegedly
Back in 2012, a blog called Hooked on Houses alleged that show House Hunters was absolutely fake. The blog claimed that HGTV only casts people who have already purchased a house. One of the show's participants, Bobi, said that the producers scramble around pretending to find houses when in fact they've already bought a house.
He added that the properties weren’t even for sale, to begin with, they were allegedly homes of friends. HGTV later released a statement but they never really denied nor confirm Bobi’s comments. When Entertainment Weekly sought to verify Bobi’s comments and she backed out simple stating that her experience wasn’t "the norm." Perhaps HGTV paid her some hush-money.
Contestant Cheats on Ellen’s Design Challenge
Ellen’s Design Challenge is produced by Ellen Degeneres and air on the HGTV network. During the first season, there was a pretty big scandal. Apparently, the winner, contestant Tim McClellan, stole his design from a European designer named Simon Schacht. What a rookie's mistake.
This, of course, led to him losing his winning title, which was then given to the runner-up, Katie Stout. Just to let him feel karma a bit more, the show’s producers made sure to do this very publicly which just added to Tim's humiliation, and certainly couldn't be good for business as he also owns a furniture store.
The HGTV Dream Homes Come With a Catch
Since 1997, the HGTV show, Dream Homes, has given away a new $1 million home every year. Unfortunately, for the "lucky" winner, HGTV doesn't help you with the taxes that accompany such a lavish asset. Nearly every winner with the exception of two has sold their home because they couldn't afford to pay the taxes.
Don Cruz, the 2005 winner of the Lake Tyler house, requested the option to rent out the master bedroom suite on a nightly basis in order to help him pay the taxes. However, his proposition was rejected. Later, after Cruz realized that the house had an even higher value than what he previously bekieved, he sold the home. Would you still want one of these million-dollar homes?
The Fourth of July Table Mishap
In the summer of 2013, the HGTV network aired a special segment titled “Classic Fourth of July Table Setting Ideas,” but the special, they made a rather embarrassing mistake.
They used an actual American flag as a tablecloth. What seemed like a creative idea was deemed as treacherous to some viewers. HGTV's patriotic pro-tip didn't help either “...spills can be easily wiped off and the flag can later be hung with pride on a flagpole.” The network ultimately had to issue a public apology for its design.
Where are Terek and Christina??
Flip or Flop makes yet another appearance on our list. In 2016, it was discovered fans of the show paid to attend a three-day workshop hosted by Tarek and Christina Anstead (formally El Moussa). They paid to receive advice on how to make money flipping houses, as well as have access to "exclusive investors". Those who signed up; however, felt they were lied to claiming that the hosts never even showed up for the classes.
The participants were instead shown a pre-recorded video of Terek and Christina because they were “too busy” to attend. To add injury to insult, those who attended said that the workshop gave little practical advice and focused on encouraging them to sign up for more HGTV classes. No thanks!
The Allegations against Carter Oosterhouse
Carter Oosterhouse got his start on the TLC network but later landed a show on HGTV called Carter Can. However, in 2017, Kailey Kaminsky, a former makeup artist on the sho accused him of sexual misconduct. As far back as 2008 he allegedly performing unwanted sex acts and said that her complaints eventually led her to be fired from her job and even hospitalized for depression.
Oosterhouse, of course, denied the accusations stating that they had a consensual relationship at the time, which doesn't things look better for him since he's been married to actress Amy Smart since 2011 with whom he has two beautiful daughters.
Alison Victoria Breaks Walls and Rules
Alison Victoria from HGTV's Kitchen Crashers excitedly announced on her Instagram that she would be renovating a building in Chicago. Well, turns out that the building was improperly torn down.
When she attempted to knock down a wall in order to install a bay window, somehow the demolition crew ended up destroying the entire structure. Victoria in a lot of trouble with the city got for failing to adhere to the rules.
The Final Reveal Isn't Necessarily The Final Result
Especially when it comes to the aforementioned show, Love It or List It. Sometimes, when the designers run into problems and the crew goes off the renovation deadline, they improvise and make things look good on camera when in reality the home renovation is still incomplete.
Some tricks include not actually sewing the fabric onto the pillows and making sure that furniture is strategically positioned to hide any flaws that haven’t been fixed yet. But let's be honest, it’s hard to get a house finished in such a short amount of time especially the kind you see on these types of shows.
The Home Designs are Planned Out in Advance
According to Wendy Pruitt, a homeowner on HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block, all of the decisions regarding the design were made way before the production team or host had even stepped foot on her property.
Of course, this isn’t the ideal way for interior designers to work, but when you’re working on a million things a tight time frame, you're forced to speed things along. Most people, especially if knowledge in the feild assumed some planning ahead takes place and everythings isn't a spontaneous as it seems on television.
The Town Scenes are Usually Embellished
On shows like House Hunters, they usually show potential homeowners wandering down nice suburban streets with beautiful lawns, cute dogs, and rustic storefronts.
According to one guest who appeared on Curb Appeal, the cameras were actually in an entirely different part of town when they were filming the establishing shots for the episode she featured in, wanting to show a neighborhood scene that was a bit nicer and livelier than the one she lived in.
Local Subcontractors Do Most of the Work
Even though there’s always a cool designer wearing work gloves and a construction hat on these HGTV shows, the (actual) work is done by local contracting companies.
And comes to find out that these workers aren’t paid very well, but they do get HGTV to their resumes. Whether that’s a good trade-off or not is theirs do decide. But common, we're sure HGTV has enough money to pay these hard workers a decent wage.
Again for the Camera, Please!
Reality TV can lose its magic when it stops being spontaneous. Often, when producers don't feel as though things are entertaining enough, then they get to meddling, and that's when reality becomes a bit scripted. You know the scenes where the homeowners introduce themselves to us viewers or the scenes where they discuss their feelings about different homes...well being that the prospective homeowners are not actors, it usually takes several takes until the producers feel that got them 'right'.
There have also been times when a homeowner did things the producers thought was funny or entertaining so they ask them to recreate it so they can catch it on camera perfectly.
Ageism on House Hunters International
The HGTV network is pretty popular among people of all ages, but a while back the network was making an effort to appeal to younger viewers in an attempt to expand their audience.
One lady whose home was featured on an episode of the show as a “reject home,” said that the network hired a younger, 'good-looking' couple to fill in for an older couple in their late 50 who were really the ones purchasing a beautiful retreat in Mexico.
House Hunters Participants Get Paid
Although it may not be much, the participants on House Hunters get paid for appearing on the show. One guest stated that she was paid $500 for the episode she appeared on. Not bad!
Also, the production provides everyone with lunch and snacks while the show is filming. That sounds like a pretty good deal as most people who would happy simply with a chance just to be on TV.
HGTV isn't the only one network guilty of stretching the truth a bit. Here are 20 "Reality" TV shows that are often scripted to add the thrill and drama we all love.
Sure, the characters really do run a pawn shop, but that's probably as 'real' as it gets on this show. Rick Harrison never works the actual counters, and all of the customer interactions seen on TV are carefully curated before shooting. Any item a person is interested in selling to the pawn shop, is cleaned and vetted, and the customer must sign a consent form most of the time.
But to be fair, this shouldn’t be a huge surprise because if you wouldn’t trust a real pawn shop, then why trust one on television with the sole purpose of being entertaining?
If you were to take a look through some old photo of the Duck Dynasty stars before their show aired, you’ll find a bunch of clean-shaven, sharply-dressed guys who’d look more at home on a yuppie golf course than in the wilderness. As for all of the crazy arguments between the star characters... well, they are scripted for the most part.
The stars themselves have even explained how the show's producers create such tense situations. And sometimes “bleeps” are even added into their fake arguments, just to make things sound more heated than they actually are.
The Biggest Loser
You'll probably surprised to find out that the iconic scale that contestants weigh in on is just a prop. Yes, it doesn’t do anything, and the contestants actually do their real weigh-ins two days before shooting the episodes. You may have also heard the rumors that have circulated about that the medical staff on The Biggest Loser not actually being medical professionals. There were even suspicions that staff members had administered illegal drugs to contestants in the past.
And like the other show on the list, the drama is mostly created by the producers and the editing often makes contestants look lazier than they really are, a fact that has garnered an increasing amount of criticism throughout the seasons the show has been aired.
Did you know that most of the cast of Jersey Shore isn’t even from New Jersey?! And before the show, no one called Nicole LaValle “Snooki”. In fact. it was just put int the show’s application when asked for a nickname as a joke and somehow, it stuck.
While some of the outlandish shenanigans on the hit reality show, Jersey Shore, are actually real, eyewitnesses have said that many scenes are exaggerated for dramatic effect. For example, producers decided on who would stay at the house overnight, so no one was just a random club pickup. And that vicious fight between Vinny and Pauly in Italy....Yes, sorry to break it to you, it was also staged.
Long Island Medium
TV has a long history of fake psychic mediums, and Celebrity medium, Theresa Caputo, is yet another one. Her methods include doing lots of research on her clients well before “reading” them.
"What are her research methods"? you may wonder. Well, she digs dip into their social media. That combined that with lots of generic advice and a bit of misdirection, and voila, you've got your “psychic” reading. Not to say that real psychics don’t exist — you decide for yourself — but dear Caputo isn’t one of them for sure.
Breaking Amish was a show about Amish youth who want to experience the "outside world" and travel to New York City to experience things like phones, cars, and even electricity for that matter. It just happens that TLC didn’t do their homework properly before filming and so it soon became clear the show was completely staged.
It was revealed through social media that two of the stars who claimed to have just met one another on the show. However, their old social media posts showed that not only had they been in a relationship for a year but they even had a baby together. And one of the characters, Abe, had been arrested four years prior to the show for public intoxication, so he obviously wasn't really living the Amish lifestyle. And yet another cast member, Raber, who claimed that he'd just left his Amish community for the show, was married to another Amish 'defector' and they had three children together. But get this, the woman filed for divorce from him, accusing him of being physically abusive, and she was even granted a restraining order from him and stayed in a domestic violence shelter. So, basically, the cast member's deceiving stories could have easily been discovered if TLC did a little background research. It’s no wonder the show lasted for only 20 episodes.
RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race is a drag show competition where contestants show off their hair, makeup and costume skills. Throughout the competition, they also do entertaining performances such as impersonating celebrities and lip-syncing. Drag queens are known for coming with the drama, and they supply plenty for viewers, but according to former contestants some of it is scripted.
Jaremi Lee Carey, or Phi Phi O’Hara, which is her drag name, was the runner-up of season four of RuPaul’s Drag Race back in 2012. He later returned to the show for All Star season in 2016, where according to him, he was offered a 'redemption' storyline. However, during filming producers often egged on drama behind the scenes and would goad him (and the other contestants) into saying outrageous and ridiculous things, only to use them as soundbite later and take them completely out of context making the contestants look bad.
Say Yes to The Dress
SYTTD manages to make wedding dress shopping seem glamorous, somewhat life-changing and very dramatic of course. And the show does a great job at making shopping at Kleinfeld, a boutique in New York, look like a much more eventful experience than it actually is.
In reality, the store is much smaller than it looks on our TV screens (which is usually the case, to be honest), making the space pretty tight for brides who now want to shop there once they fit all of the camera crew there. If that wasn't disappointing enough, shopping appointments are limited to 90 minutes and brides are allowed to look through only a selected number of dresses while the others are stored out of sight. Consultants have also been accused of showing the same dress to several brides, regardless of their personal taste, simply concerned with making a sale.
Besides this show being highly offensive, the History Channel’s Hunting Hitler is just a load of baloney. Based on the conspiracy theory that Adolf Hitler managed to escape to South American and assumed a new identity, the series “investigates” his possible whereabouts until they conclude that Hitler is, you know, dead. Big surprise there.
The show’s “scientific evidence” showing that Hitler may still be alive is totally false, making people feel like the whole show was basically just a ratings cash grab exploiting people's real life horrors.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
The times the Kardashian's staged drama for their hit show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, are literally too many to keep up with. Even the house! Yes, Kris Jenner’s Meditteranean-style family home isn’t really where these Hollywood empresses reside. The house was actually empty at the time of filming and was just simply used as a stand-in home until the property sold in 2018.
Many of the fights between the sisters that popup are scripted, and even some of their Twitter rants are staged for ratings. Even love, as people behind the scenes, have reported that at least two of the marriage proposals on the show were staged. It’s literally all an act!
Long before he became president, The Apprentice put businessman and real estate tycoon, Donald Trump, back into the public eye. the show was a hit, but years later many behind-the-scenes tales have spread, making it clear that strategic editing played a role in the show’s successful run. Often, Trump’s stated reasons for “firing” contestants made no sense to the production team, so the editors would then have to come in and carefully splice footage together to make his sporadic dismissals make sense.
The boardroom, the suitcase, and the taxi ride... all fake too. In reality, the dismissed contestants simply went to another part of the tower and wait around with others who’d been fired previously.
If you watch Catchfish, you’re fed the idea that the victims are the ones that contact the producers, suspecting that they might be getting catfished, and it’s the hosts who are the truth-seeking saviors. But in reality, it's the catfisher, not the victim, who reaches out to the producers.
The catfisher is then investigated, signs some release forms, and must agree to the fact that their story would be modified to fit the necessary storyline. So, whenever the catfisher acts surprised when he or she is discovered, well… they’re just doing what they agreed to do and simply playing their role.
Celebrity Big Brother
In the summer of 2016 Celebrity Big Brother, while millions of viewers watched the live feed of the show they were stunned to witness what they felt was a staged set-up that had accidentally revealed itself on-air. Big Brother was heard wishing all housemates goodnight as the lights went out, and after the housemates, all replied shouting 'goodnight', it appeared as they had all gone to sleep. However, just seconds later, the lights came back on and everyone got out of bed again, with ex-EastEnders sta while Ricky Norwood was heard saying: "Great take, guys, great take."
If that wasn't enough, Big Brother continued to explain to the housemates that they had some busy days ahead and advised them to get a good night's sleep. Viewers were furious, as this is pure evidence that producers set up certain scenarios of the show. Responding to the outrage, Channel 5 made the following statement: "Footage shown on the live feed involved Big Brother alerting housemates of a long final day ahead. The show is entirely authentic and the housemates are not scripted."
Food Network's loved show, Chopped, puts top chefs up against one another in a timed culinary-battle. Each chef is given a set of ingredients with which they are to prepare different dinner courses for the judges, who will, one-by-one, eliminate their least favorite dishes. While the timed cooking challenges aspect is real, other things are, unfortunately, not as they seem. According to sources, producers would purposely short staple kitchen ingredients, like butter, to create tension and drama between the chefs, although they reportedly stopped doing this. And the moment in the show when the contestants discover the “secret” ingredients and then they all run to the pantries to get their ingredients to make their dish, well in actuality, the chefs have plenty of time prior to filming to look through the pantry and begin to think if different dishes they can make.
And when it comes to the “best dish winning” in each round, it's also not 100% real. While the chefs do in fact taste and judge the food immediately after preparation, they don’t necessarily eliminate the worst dish. It's been reported that if a particular chef’s story is particularly compelling, they’ll leave them on the show hoping to garner some sympathy from viewers. So, if you see a dish thinking that there’s no way it could be eliminated, well, you're wrong…If the chef doesn't have a strong enough background story then it just might.
You'd think a show set in a kitchen wouldn't need any extra heat behind the scenes, wrong! Unlike the original the U.K. MasterChef, the American version infamously full of staged and scripted scenarios. A former contestant on the show, Ben Starr, revealed that before joining, he had to agree to potentially being “fictionalized,” which would sometimes include humiliating portrayals of him and other contestants that weren't true.
Starr said that producers also faked dialogues, to the point of editing bits of conversations to make it seem like a contestant said things they never did. But if you love the premise of the show, just not with all the fakery, then MasterChef Australia is supposed to be much more real and focuses more on the cooking aspect of the show rather than the drama.
While the title of the show, Basketball Wives, is factual, the cast members are in fact wives of some famous NBA basketball players, which is probably as real as this show gets. Shaquille O’Neal’s ex-wife, Shaunie, stars and produces the show. Other cast members include Tasha Marbury, wife of former NBA star Stephon Marbury, and Doug Christie’s wife, Jackie Christie.
According to a former cast member, Matt Barnes, the show is very much scripted and staged. Barnes has even gone as far as saying that he regrets that he ever accepted to be on the show. His claims of fakery were later confirmed by another star, Tanya Young, who said producers would constantly try to ramp up drama behind the scenes hoping that it would spill over onto the show.
If you ever saw one of the women on Bridezilla throw a tantrum that seemed too dramatic to be real, well, you're right. Several of the women who had participated in the show have explained that producers would constantly push them to be more dramatic, whiney, and angrier. Requiring that they do multiple takes on the same moments until they can get the best one, and the more swearing, the better.
Not to mention the fact that there's a team of cameramen following the women around all day during one of the most stressful periods of their lives. That'll definitely amplify the stress levels one hundred percent.
The Bachelor and its sister-show, The Bachelorette, have been around for a while now. As you’ve probably guessed by now, despite this reality show's aim, the couples don’t tend to pass the test of time, as they often split before their wedding date and if they do tie the knot, divorce usually is right around the corner.
Many of the scenarios on the show are scripted or edited into more dramatic storylines, and the experienced producers have become pretty good at picking the suitors who they know the viewers will love. So, after choosing the contestants they carefully arrange situations to make make the show as entertaining as possible and even make sure the person they want ends up as the winner, or at least, a runner-up.
The Real Housewives
Don't let the name of this popular show fool you because there's not much that's "real" about The Real Housewives. The character's storylines, the dramatic arguments... and their body parts for that matter, are mostly fake. If you've ever watched the show, you're familiar with Teresa Giudice, a real housewife of New Jersey. During her very public court trial, she caught on record swearing under oath, that the show was scripted.
She admitted that most of the fights are planned and/or dramatized for the viewers' entertainment, the stars on the show, are basically actors. And despite the fancy lifestyles they exhibit on the show, the truth is, many of them are actually facing crippling debt, living above their means dependant on their credit cards. If that's real, we don't what anything to do with it.
The reality behind American Idol is that the main characters are actually chosen months in advance, at the same goes for the terrible singers we all laugh at as well. They're moved forward for solely for entertainment purposes.
Many tell-all stories have emerged from this long-running talent show, and it’s become evident that American Idol is as scripted as all the other reality shows on our list. The show's talent scouts and producers hold auditions to whittle down thousands of eager singers months before the panel of judges visits the city. The performers have to travel multiple times to the same location if they are chosen to move on to the next round. And according to The Daily Beast, when they do finally appear before the judges, they are told, “Some of you are here because you are really good. Some of you are here because you are really bad." So, the ones who are less self-aware often aren't sure if they’ve been chosen because they’re really good, or because they really suck. But they usually find out soon after, along with the millions of viewers watching and laughing from home.
The Good Life
In 2012, back when singer CeeLo Green was a pretty big name. He landed a sweet gig on NBC’s The Voice but you may also remember that Green was on a TBS series called The Good Life. Unfortunately, he had a great fall when he was allegedly spiked his date’s drink.
If that didn't look bad enough after Green posted some controversial tweets about rape. TBS being a family-friendly network quickly distanced themselves from the entertainer and canceled his show.
The Biggest Loser
Appearing on our list for the second time, The Biggest Loser season 15 winner Rachel Frederickson this intense weight-loss reality competition weighing a hefty 260 pounds (118 kg) clocked-out weighing a worrying 105 pounds (47 kg) on the season finale weigh-in. Later, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper admitted that they were shocked by her frail appearance, feeling both stunned and concerned that she had lost more weight than necessary.
Frederickson defended herself saying that her dramatic loss was in an effort to secure the win in the competition and she did! After the final weigh-in, she put some needed weight back on, and we're sure she enjoyed doing it.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
There was a brief moment in time when Here Comes Honey Boo Boo was an international phenomenon, and the show's home network, TLC, did some impressive numbers thanks to it. Unfortunately, it didn't last as long as they hoped it would.
The network was forced to cancel the program after it was revealed one of the stars, Mama June, was having an affair with a convicted sex-offender who had even been charged with assaulting her daughter.
Also appearing for the second time on the list is the singing competition, American Idol, we just couldn't forget that time Paula Abdul made headlines when she was a judge on the show.
In 2005, Abdul was the subject of much scrutiny when former contestant, Corey Clark, accused her of seducing him with the promise of helping his music career. She vehemently denied the allegations, of course, so it's his words against hers, but even if it was a bunch of baloney, who cares about the truth when the lie is so much more entertaining.
Lifetime's Dance Moms
We have to admit, we were pretty shocked when we saw Abby Lee Miller's name in the headlines (and in handcuffs). The dance instructor and choreographer who's school was the focus of the reality show Dance Moms, was found guilty (on several counts) of bankruptcy fraud, and subsequently served a year in prison.
With the dance teacher behind bars, the show ended, of course. Although she was released in 2018, things haven't been the same for her, and they probably never will be.
MTV's 16 and Pregnant
Farrah Abraham, one of the featured young moms on MTV's 16 and Pregnant became came somewhat of a D-list celebrity among her peers when she appeared on the show for having a child as a teenager.
It wasn’t until years later when she began having plastic surgery and started a career in the adult film industry that Abraham really "expanded her fanbase".
The Food Network's "Dear" Paula Deen
During a lawsuit that alleged the celebrity Southern cook, Paula Deen and her brother, Bubba Hier, of committed several acts of racism, discrimination, and even acts of violence in the five years she ran the Lady & Sons and Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House restaurant, Deen was dropped from hosting on her loved Food Network show.
During the trial, she admitted to most of the acts including referring to some of her black employees as the N-word.
Jillian Michael of The Biggest Loser
Jilian Michaels, the loved fitness instructor, and The Biggest Loser team leader is known to push her contestants (and personal clients) to their limits in order to achieve results they'd never imagine. But, apparently on the show, she took that took her job a bit too far at times.
The team-head was found guilty of providing her contestants with "unapproved caffeine pills". Whether or not it gave her team an advantage couldn't be determined but because of this, her team was penalized with an additional four-pounds (1.8 kg) per contestant on the following week's weigh-in.
The Sopranos Meets Real Housewives of New Jersey
All reality show fans remember the time back in 2013, when the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" stars, Teresa and Joe Giudice, were accused of getting more than $5 million in bank loans through fraudulent and falsified paperwork. As a result, the Italian couple was indicted on 41(!) criminal counts of multiple fraud charges including, bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Because they have children they were given the chance to serve their sentences separately, Teresa was sentenced to 15 months, while her husband was sentenced to 41 months and being that he isn't an American citizen (his parents never filed for him) he's facing the possibility of being deported back to Italy.
Fox's Million Dollar Money Drop
Fox's game show, Million Dollar Money Drop, lasted just one season. Despite its short run, it managed to squeeze in, not one, but two(!) scandals. Starting with $1 million, contestants had to place some or all of the money on possible answers to the presented seven multiple-choice questions. In the end, contestants could leave with whatever money they had left after the questions.
The first issue involved the contesting couple, Andrew and Patricia Murray, who bet their whole $580,000 sum on a single response, only to be told that their answer was incorrect. The Murrays didn't give up. They later filed a suit seeking their $580k (plus damages), arguing the question was not properly explained, which is why their answer was "incorrect". Another incident involved contestants, Gabe Okoye and Brittany Mayti, who lost a painful $800,000 on a question. They were sure of their answer, and the show later admitted they did, in fact, answer correctly. However, rather than give them the money they deserve, the show offered simply offered to "let them" play again and that never happened because the show got canceled.