When you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of your own life, what’s the best way to wind down? To engross yourself in someone else’s life, of course! While watching every single movement of a stranger’s existence may seem pretty bizarre and creepy to those who don’t watch reality television, those who love it know just how fabulous it can be. But is this reality TV actually… reality?
Image: The Blast
Critics of reality television have long been moaning and groaning about the genre, and claimed that these shows are all made up for the sake of entertainment. But how much of that theory is correct? At Popular Everything, we’ve delved deep into the mysterious world of reality shows to find out what’s true and what’s false. And it seems as though there’s a reason why producers have tried to keep these secrets behind closed doors…
Hell’s Kitchen Is Absolute Hell for the Chefs as the Producers Tamper With Their Ingredients
Hell’s Kitchen is all about bringing talented chefs together, allowing them to show off their cooking skills in the hope of winning the grand prize. And from the get-go, we know that these guys aren’t the kind of cooks who burn oven pizza and struggle to boil an egg. These guys are legit. So, it’s always pretty confusing when Gordon Ramsay ends up screaming at them because they’ve messed up a basic recipe. How could they go so wrong?
Image: Food and Wine Magazine
Well, it turns out that they don’t do anything wrong at all. Instead, their hopes of winning $250,000 are scuppered by the people in charge. It’s been noted that the pesky producers often swap basic ingredients in the kitchen without the chefs knowing. So if the chef wants to use salt, they might quickly replace it with sugar before things really start heating up. Gordon’s drama brings in the viewers, after all.
The Wait for an America’s Got Talent Audition Is Completely Pointless as Each Contestant Has a Scheduled Slot
Reality competition shows like America’s Got Talent have been winning over viewers for decades. And it seems as though contestants apply to be on this show year after year – and they don’t even mind waiting outside in the cold for hours for their chance to impress the judges. But what if we told you that the cameras only showed us a tiny part of America’s Got Talent audition process?
Image: Digital Spy
Although it may seem as though the auditionees wait in line for hours on end, many of them don’t even wait at all. Producers pick out the good performers before the show airs and schedule them in a time slot to perform in front of the judges. They just show them waiting in line to make it seem more natural, and they’re only filmed there for the sake of entertainment. But we know the truth now.
The Dancing With the Stars Contestants Are All Reading From Scripts in Front of the Camera
There’s nothing we love more than watching celebrities with two left feet try to dance in front of millions of people, and Dancing with the Stars gives us the chance to do just that. While the jives and the rhumbas make up most of this show, the emotional stories of the celebs also make their way onto our screens. No episode would be complete without a few tears, would it?
Image: Country Living
But you might be surprised to learn that these tears are mostly crocodile tears. It’s a good thing many actors make their way onto the Dancing with the Stars dance floor because the celebs and their professional partners are often provided with scripts from the producers. These scripts include made-up emotional stories of turmoil and strife, and they’re created to make the show more dramatic.
The “Buyers” on House Hunters Aren’t Always the Actual Buyers in Real Life
There’s something about watching potential house buyers spend more money on a property than we could ever dream of having that fills us with so much joy. Yep, the older we get the more we love original moldings and open fireplaces, and House Hunters is the show that gives us all of that. But have you ever wondered how the young buyers on this show afford such properties?
Well, it turns out that these youngsters aren’t the buyers at all. It’s been noted that both House Hunters and House Hunters International actually replace the real buyers with younger models and actors. This is because they want to show a wide age range of buyers on the show, but most of the applicants are middle-aged or retirees. So, they have no option but to replace them…apparently.
The “Average Joe” Contestants on Survivor Are Actually Just Actors and Models
If you haven’t watched Survivor and asked yourself whether you should sign up for the next season, then you’ve obviously been watching it wrong. This show brings together the concept of regular ol’ people heading to a desert island where they have to fend for themselves and, well, survive. The idea that the contestants are average Joes is what makes it so popular, but, unfortunately, we’re here to burst your bubble.
Image: Entertainment Weekly
According to the casting manager for the show, only the minority of people we see on our screens are regular people who actually applied to be on Survivor. The rest of the show is made up of models and actors who have been picked out by the producers due to the fact that the quality of the “normal” applicants just isn’t high enough. So, they have to make up the numbers in other ways. Yikes.
The Bachelor Contestants Aren’t Allowed To Eat the Food on Their Dates
Roses have long been associated with love, but this association ramped up a notch when The Bachelor came into our lives. Now, people dream of receiving a rose from a handsome Bachelor or Bachelorette, and they apply to the show in search of romance. And the dates on these shows are pretty epic, right? We certainly wouldn’t say no to the candles and the delicious feasts.
Image: Us Weekly
Have you ever noticed that these guys don’t actually eat the food on their dates, though? While the production team always lays out a yummy feast for the love birds, this is purely for aesthetic purposes. Yes, you read that right. The contestants aren’t allowed to eat the food at all. This is so the producers don’t have to battle with microphones and chewing noises.
Pawn Stars Is Less About Negotiation and More About a Scripted Conversation
What was once a small pawn shop in Las Vegas has since become a well-known tourist attraction for TV fans across the globe. And that’s all thanks to the success of the reality show, Pawn Stars. This show sees the Harrison family buy strange, unusual, and expensive items from customers looking to sell – and it’s all about the negotiation, right? Wrong.
While the likes of Rick Harrison and Chumlee can often be seen in a fierce negotiation over the price of an object, this is all set up for the sake of the show. Producers seek out sellers behind-the-scenes, they decide on a price in advance, and the main stars are only actually in the store when the cameras are around. It turns out that it’s all fake.
Scenes in Keeping up With the Kardashians Are Filmed Over and Over Again Until Producers Are Happy
When you think of reality shows, there’s a high chance that you immediately think of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After all, this is the show that started the reality revolution – and the Kardashian/Jenner klan are now some of the most famous people in the celebrity world. For years, the family has claimed that the cameras offer unrestricted access to their lives, but is this true?
Unfortunately not. According to those who worked on the show in its early years, the producers would often ask the family to reshoot certain scenes to make them even more dramatic. Apparently, “practically every scene had to be reshot multiple times because the family’s reactions weren’t what E! wanted.”
Brides Often Say Yes To the Dress Before the Experts Come Along
If you have ever bought your own wedding dress, you probably did so without the experts at Kleinfeld. Yep, it is possible – but Say Yes to the Dress makes it seem as though these experts are the only people in the world who could possibly find you the perfect dress. Because of this, many former brides have called the show out in the past for being totally fake.
In many cases, these brides have found their perfect dress in the store without the help of these experts. But for the sake of the show, these famous store workers are brought in to look useful and to keep the ratings up. And when the likes of Lori bring along a new dress for them to try on, these brides have to pretend as though it’s the dress of their dreams. Ugh, is everything a lie?
The Queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race Are Handed Their Eviction Notice Before They Lip Sync for Their Lives
RuPaul’s Drag Race is the best show on the planet, right? We fall in love with every queen that sashays onto the show, and we’d love to think that every single aspect of the show is totally real. But the course of love never runs smooth, and apparently, the whole thing is a sham.
Image: USA Today
In the early seasons of this show, it was noted that the contestants were actually handed an eviction notice from their hotel the morning of the elimination. They hadn’t even made their way into the bottom two or lip-synced for their life by this point, which just goes to show that the producers made all of the decisions ahead of time. How could RuPaul let that happen?
Cash Cab Doesn’t Just Pull Random Contestants off the Streets
If you’ve ever visited New York City, you may have secretly hoped that every cab you hailed was driven by Ben Bailey and that you’d get the chance to win some cold, hard cash. Alas, that probably hasn’t been the case for you just yet – but that’s not just because you’re unlucky. That’s because Cash Cab isn’t as spontaneous or as random as we’re led to believe.
Image: Mental Floss
No, Ben doesn’t just pull up next to any ol’ person and offer them money if they can answer a series of trivia questions. A former contestant has noted that they were stopped on the street and asked if they wanted to be on a show about the city. Then, they had a phone interview before being told to meet the producers at a specific location where a cab was hailed for them. Inside, “the lights and cameras were on as soon as we got in.”
Some of the Couples on Divorce Court Aren’t Even Married
Nowadays, it seems as though you can make a reality show out of anything. Getting married? Sure. Having a baby? You betcha. Going through a divorce? Judge Faith Jenkins has got your back. Divorce Court has been running since 1999 and most assume that it follows real-life divorce settlements. But that just isn’t the case.
Image: Divorce Court
Although many of the couples who do appear on this show do actually want their divorce settled, others don’t even have a marriage to end. Numerous unmarried people have come forward saying they were approached to appear on the show with their partners, with producers supposedly tailoring their fake marriage story to seem more interesting to viewers at home. How naughty.
The Iron Chef Contestants Are Given Clues To Help Them Produce High-Quality Dishes
Cooking shows always make you hungry, but they also sometimes make you feel like a pretty awful cook. These guys seem to be able to rustle up a delicious meal out of anything, whereas most people struggle to feed themselves on a regular basis without burning down the kitchen. And while the chefs on shows like Iron Chef are talented, they are also always one step ahead of the game.
Image: PR Newswire
Apparently, these guys aren’t just thrown into the deep end when it comes to the cooking challenges on this show. The Iron Chef producers actually give them hints about the secret ingredient before they get started, so they can form a few general recipes and ideas before the timer starts. Normally, they are told whether the ingredient is a fruit, protein, or vegetable.
Rude Public Opinions Had To Be Edited in Love, Lust or Run
While Love, Lust or Run only aired for one season, it certainly got everyone talking. And not always for the best reasons. In this show, Stacy London gave willing volunteers a complete make-under, all while asking the general public whether they preferred the before or after look. And while the public always seemed to vote in favor of the after… they didn’t always love it.
In fact, it’s been noted that the producers of this show often had to edit or completely remove some of the comments made by the general public. Apparently, not everyone liked Stacy’s handiwork, and they wouldn’t hold back when it came to their criticism. Obviously, they couldn’t keep these negative remarks in the show, so they edited it to make it all positive.
The Voices on The Voice Are Always Altered With Autotune
There are so many singing competitions out there, but one thing The Voice does differently is that it allows contestants to be judged purely on their singing voice – as the contestants are judged blind. And while you may give the likes of Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine a hearty round of applause for that, you might want to retract these claps once you find out the truth.
Image: Global News
A former contestant on The Voice has noted that the audition process is a little different in real life than how we see it on the screen. Apparently, they actually have three auditions before the blind audition, alongside a recording session with one of the producers. If they like the look and sound of you, you are then put in front of the cameras – and they autotune your voice at the same time.
Sometimes the Unexplained Events on Ghost Hunters Have a Perfectly Reasonable Explanation
Let’s be honest; you have to be a certain kind of person to find joy in shows like Ghost Hunters. While most people get the heebie-jeebies in the opening credits of this reality show, there are others who manage to keep their cool and watch the paranormal activity time and time again. And one thing this show always focuses on is the “unexplained” activity in these supposedly haunted houses.
Image: The Arizona Republic
But a former crew member for this show has noted that these unexplained events actually always have an explanation. In one particular episode filmed at Buffalo Central Terminal, the hosts couldn’t explain the “Get out!” they heard from the lower levels. But actually, it was just the voice of a producer telling homeless individuals to leave the area.
The Arguments on Judge Judy Are All Pre-Planned by the Producers
Judge Judy is one of those shows we all love to hate. Sure, we never actively put it on the television, but if it just happens to be on at the time then we’re fully engrossed and getting well into the on-screen arguments within minutes. And it’s true. No episode of this show would be complete without some angry individuals, and sometimes they even shout at Judy herself.
Image: Entertainment Weekly
However, it seems as though these people aren’t actually angry at this judicial legend. According to one former contestant on the show, “It was heavily scripted, I was basically told what would be my ‘defense,’ and I was encouraged to argue with Judy because it made for good TV. The courtroom is a set and the people in the room are all paid extras.” Well, there you have it, folks.
The Lifeline Option on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Allows Googling
Who Wants To Be a Millionaire is a reality game show that’s full of twists, turns, and a whole lot of tension. Most of us are on the edge of our seats when we watch this show, but have you ever imagined what it would be like for the contestants who do actually have the chance to win a million dollars? In some cases, they have no option but to ask for help in the form of their ‘lifeline.”
Image: The Brown Daily Herald
However, someone who was a lifeline for a contestant in the past has noted that the whole concept is completely flawed. While they were meticulously prepped for their role as a lifeline, they were never told that they couldn’t Google the answer. So, this essentially means that the contestant can call their bestie to Google the winning answer for them.
The Human Canvases on Ink Master Are All Chosen Specifically To Stir up Drama
It’s fair to say that most people can’t get through an episode of Ink Master without shouting at their TV at least once. Whether you’re shouting at the unnecessary drama between the tattoo artists or the difficult human canvas, there are so many things that rile us all up. But when it comes to the human canvases, there is a logical reason as to why this is the case.
Image: LI Herald
The human canvases for this show are specifically chosen to be as difficult as ever. They’re told to choose the most awkward positions for their tattoos – yes, we’re looking at you, ribs – they’re prepped to cause major drama for the artists, and the most difficult design options are chosen in the process. It’s all part of the excitement.
The Bad Singers on American Idol Are Hand-Picked by Producers To Increase Ratings
No season of American Idol would be complete without those singers that make you wince and hide behind your cushion. We all know that they can’t sing, and they rarely walk away with a golden ticket, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t make their mark. But it turns out that this is all part of the American Idol producers’ grand plan.
Image: Good Housekeeping
While these bad singers do apply to the show, it seems as though they’re not completely oblivious to their lack of talent. They know that bad singers often make their way in front of the judges and onto our screens. And producers always seek out the worst for the entertainment value. These guys make good TV, don’t they?
The Home Owners on Love It or List It Don’t Always Love Their Redesign
When watching Love It or List It, it would be easy to assume that the homeowners absolutely love their redesign. The show is always full of hugs and smiles. And they seem to love everything interior designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin do to their home – even if their wallpaper decision made you throw up in your mouth.
But it seems as though things aren’t as they seem. Over the years, many of the homeowners who appear on the show have been deeply unhappy with the renovations. In fact, a couple from North Carolina filed a lawsuit against the show back in 2016 for the “disastrous” job on their home. Ultimately, this case was settled out of court, but it just goes to show that Love It or List It doesn’t always provide a happily-ever-after.
The Teen Mom Crew Aren’t Allowed To Report the Cast, Even When They Want To
Teen Mom is one of those shows that gets everyone up in arms. Everyone has something to say, and everyone has their own opinions. But only those who have seen the cast up close and personal know what really goes on in these families – and some of them aren’t happy with what they’ve seen. This has been the case for a former cameraman, who decided to reveal all in a Reddit AMA.
Image: Twitter/Teen Mom
In this tell-all post, the cameraman noted that he was concerned about some of the living conditions of the cast and their children. However, he wasn’t allowed to complain about them. He wrote that “The production company rule was to file your complaint with [a] production manager. If the production manager felt that they were legally bound to submit the complaint to the authorities they would. Of course, they never did.”
The Contestants on Too Hot To Handle Weren’t Told the Rules of Their Game Show
Remember the days when all we had to worry about was whether Francesca and Harry would stay together? Life was simpler back then, and Too Hot to Handle really did take over our lives. This dating show brought us a huge amount of drama, but it turns out that this was all thanks to the producers’ decisions to keep certain pieces of information a secret.
It’s been noted that while the contestants knew they were making their way onto a dating show, they didn’t know they weren’t allowed to be physically intimate until they were in the villa. So, their horrified reactions on the screen were their genuine reactions in real life. We can’t decide whether that’s super mean or completely genius.
The Matchmaking Process on Indian Matchmaking Was So Hard It Almost Didn’t Happen
2020 brought us a new reality documentary show called Indian Matchmaking, and the name certainly didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. And while Sima Taparia made the whole matchmaking process look easy, it seems as though the producers kept one big tidbit a secret.
Image: Los Angeles Times
The show almost didn’t get off the ground due to the fact that many potential singletons found the concept a little too intrusive. While some outright refused to take part from the get-go, there were others who dropped out halfway through the process because it all became too much. That’s why only a few singletons actually made it onto the show.
The Contestants’ Bedrooms on Love Is Blind Were Like Prison Cells
We were all obsessed with Love is Blind, right? These Atlanta locals all made their way into the pods to find the love of their lives – and while they couldn’t see who they were, we could see them. We could also see the glamorous common rooms the men and the women all used to congregate in. But apparently, that’s where the luxury stopped.
Image: Oprah Magazine
Kenny, who was a star of the show, has since come forward and spilled the tea on the show. He’s noticed that while it looked like they were living in a fancy condo on-screen, only the common areas were fit for human life. Outside of this area, the contestants were stuffed into small trailers. He’s even noted that the beds were like the ones you’d find in a “correctional facility.”
The Circle App Isn’t Controlled by the Contestants, but Controlled by the Producers
You really can be anyone online, and that’s exactly what The Circle is all about. In a show where you can change your complete identity, the contestants all communicate via the voice-activated Circle app. And whenever you watch this reality show, you might be blown away by this amazing technology. If only it was real…
Unfortunately, the app in The Circle isn’t as technically advanced as we first thought. The app is controlled completely by the producers behind the scenes, and the contestants don’t actually do anything. Sure, they want to send messages and change their profiles, but it’s the producers transcribing and making these changes. Well, that sucks.
The Queer Eye Heroes Have To Go Through a Difficult Screening Process Before Making the Cut
If you’re ever feeling sad or alone, just know that you can head over to Netflix and watch the Fab Five in action. We guarantee that you’ll have a smile on your face and happy tears rolling down your cheeks within minutes. These guys and their reality show really do change people’s lives, but there is one thing the producers of Queer Eye aren’t telling us.
Although anyone can submit their friend, family, or loved one to have a complete lifestyle makeover, the heroes who appear on this show have to abide by a serious checklist. Before the producers can cast a new hero, they have to tick countless boxes and definitely have to have the entertainment factor thrown in for good measure. You can try and apply, but getting through will be tough.
The Price Is Right Contestants Are Interviewed Before Making Their Way Onto the Stage
The Price is Right is a reality game show that’s been on our screens for longer than we can remember. And for some people, they’re such big fans that they dream of one day being in the audience and being picked to win the epic money and prizes. But is that all you have to do? Simply turn up and be part of the audience? Not quite.
Image: Good Housekeeping
According to reports, the producers of The Price is Right don’t randomly pick people from the audience. Every member of the audience is actually interviewed for 30 seconds before they make their way into the studio, and the participants are then chosen from that pool. This decision is ultimately based on how weird, excited, and energetic they are.
The Big Brother House Isn’t the Homely House, It’s a Television Set
Big Brother is one of those reality shows that hits headlines across the globe. Sure, this isn’t always in a positive light, but it’s a reality show that has spawned many famous celebrities and influencers. These contestants leave their old lives behind to live in a house full of strangers, but have you ever wondered what the Big Brother house is really like?
Image: Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Well, it’s not actually a house. While the inside of this huge property may look homely and luxurious, it’s actually just a set built inside a giant warehouse. Plus, only certain areas of this warehouse have been decked out to look like a home, and contestants often have to have bags put over their heads if they are moving through an area that’s not been decorated. The producers don’t want to spoil the illusion, after all.
They Don’t Actually Get Married on Married at First Sight
We’ve heard of love at first sight, but the reality show Married at First Sight takes this concept to a whole new level. One of the main reasons why this show has become so popular is because the concept is so wild, and fans love to watch two complete strangers get hitched without ever seeing each other before. Well, that’s what we’re told, anyway.
Image: Women’s Health
The reality of this reality show is actually a little different That’s because the couples do not legally get married. While they do have a ceremony and wear dresses and suits, their vows are not legally binding. Instead, they are given the option at the end of the experiment to either make their marriage official or go their separate ways. As we know, most of them go their separate ways.