'They Beg You for Sob Stories': 10 People Reveal What Actually Goes Into Filming a Reality TV Show
If you assumed reality TV isn't all that candid, you thought right
There are two different types of people in this world: People who look forward to binging their favorite drama on the weekends and those who prefer to unwind with reality TV.
And if you fall into the latter camp, you’re in good company: reality TV boasts fans as diverse as Jennifer Lawrence, Chrissy Teigen and former First Lady Michelle Obama. One could even argue that reality TV contains just as many complicated layers as TV’s most high-brow offerings. Depending on your show of choice, relatable (and unnecessary) drama, laugh-out-loud and emotionally-ridden scenes are almost always a given. There are two questions at the top of every viewer’s mind, though: Is what we’re watching 100 percent real? and Do we even want to know?
The following people and former reality TV stars are here to say no, it’s not totally real. (Shocker!) And they’re here to spill all the (alleged) truth behind the scenes.
Keep scrolling to find out the details on the filming process from the folks who’ve experienced it firsthand. Spoiler: Die-hard fans of the genre will be heartbroken. But that’s okay. It’s nothing a Love It or List It marathon can’t fix.
Producers ‘Beg’ For Emotional Experiences
“I made it through a few rounds for a well-known singing show and they beg you for sob stories. On my very first application form, I was asked about the most difficult moment in my life, what obstacles I’d overcome to be there, had I ever experienced bullying, etc. They pretty much make you tell them a sob story. So I wrote all about my heartbreak when I ran out of coffee.”
Sometimes The Show’s Endings Don’t Align With Real Life
“My aunt and uncle were on Love It Or List It and they had them record both endings. The network chose which one they thought was best. They are still in the house and they love it, but the show says they listed it.”
Enthusiasm Is A Requirement
“My friend was on What Not to Wear, and I was in the audience of people who were there to react when she came out from behind the curtain with her new look. She came out over and over again, but our cheering was never enthusiastic enough for the producers. After about 10 takes, we were screaming our heads off, totally hysterical, as if we’d just seen her rise from the dead. So that part was fake; I thought she just looked alright.”
‘Blind Dates’ On Dating Shows Aren’t What They Seem
“My cousin was on a Toronto dating show called Matchmaker many years ago. She said it was completely scripted and she met her ‘blind date’ before filming so the producers could go over the script with them. They were given a list of ridiculous and racy questions to ask each other and encouraged to make out if they actually liked each other or to cause a scene and be dramatic if they didn’t really click.”
WATCH: Buckle Up! Its the Craziest Reality Show Meltdowns
Lying About Your Marital Status Is Okay
“My daughter and her boyfriend were on Divorce Court. They were not married, and the show’s producers helped them tailor their story (which was completely made-up) to be more interesting. They are now married and since they’ve already been ‘divorced,’ it should last forever.”
Producers Train Contestants On ‘How To Smile’
“Everything on Pawn Stars is scripted too. They bought a Jeep from my friend and he was even told when and how to smile or smirk when giving the interview.”
Re-Shooting A Scene Happens More Often Than You Think
“Some friends of mine went on Cash Cab. One guy was chosen the day before and was told to come with up to four friends to a certain spot the next afternoon. They met a producer who hailed the cab and were told they were going to ‘a game show.’ They had to reshoot getting into the cab because my one friend said something like, ‘What are the chances?! We’re on our way to another game show!'”
Participants Aren’t Always Portrayed In The Best Light
“I was on an episode of MTV’s Made. It wasn’t super-scripted, but certain things were added to make the kids look stupid. On our episode, the producers had socks stuffed inside a kid’s drums to make them sound bad. Stuff like that, but the scripts had room for ad-libs, and the show was fine with that as long as nobody said anything too crazy or suggested anything they couldn’t deliver on.”
Baking Show Contestants Get Additional Time In The Kitchen
“I was on a baking competition show. The judges recorded two takes for every comment — one positive and one negative — so the editors could put it together however they wanted. They also rolled the clock back an hour so everyone else could finish. We had over three months to plan our ‘spontaneous’ cake. Oh yeah, and while we won by the judges’ vote, a producer decided one of the other cakes would film better for the big reveal so we didn’t win even though we should have.”
There Are Auditions Before Getting To The Audition On Singing Competitions
“I auditioned for American Idol at Gillette Stadium a few years ago. Not sure if it qualifies as rigged, but there are a handful of stages before anyone sees the ‘judges.’ These stages are judged by producers who often don’t even listen to the person singing. Two kinds of people make it though, the people who dress up like idiots, and the people who are lucky enough to have the producers actually listen to them singing.”
All entries on Reddit are edited for length and clarity.