Having the opportunity to be on a reality TV show sounds like fun. You get to meet new people, show off your talents, and maybe even win a prize like a newly decorated home or some cold, hard cash. And, if you’re lucky, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can even make you famous! Keep in mind, though, that what you see on TV is not always what you get. While many of the reality show contestants on these shows are real people who have real talents, each episode is guaranteed to be highly edited and depict only what producers want the viewers to see.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re any less entertaining.
Even though these reality TV shows might not be 100 percent based in reality, they’re still fun to watch. And if you ever find yourself daydreaming about being a part of a TV show, just be prepared to put in some seriously long hours.
You’ll also have to be willing to stand by for a lot of reshoots, and deal with entitled TV hosts (yes, the “talent” can be pretty mean).
The good news is that you’ll get to be one of the lucky few people who experience what really goes on behind the scenes of a television show. But until you get your chance to experience what it’s like to be on set, we decided to search the internet to find former reality show contestants who have voluntarily shared secrets from their experiences being behind the scenes on a reality TV show.
It can also take a toll on the contestants and stars, if you look at The Bachelorette’s recent star Hannah Brown, who admitted she’s been feeling very lost since exiting the show.
1. Neighbors are sent away on trips during home improvement shows.
But the construction process is not what it seems. One of the things you might not think about at first when watching a home makeover show is the neighbors. Well, the perks can be pretty sweet.
Yes, you read that right!
While the episode will focus solely on the house they’re working on, the neighbors of the house are sometimes sent on trips so the production and construction teams can use their front yards for storage. Who knew the neighbors were getting free vacations? Where do we sign up?
2. The producers schedule activities for families to complete on Trading Places.
Everything is authentic…for the most part. But this Reddit user @btrites reveals everything is not what it seems on some of the biggest shows.
Hey, you’ve got to spice things up sometimes.
If you remember Trading Places, then you probably can recall that they would swap families from opposite parts of the country to try out new lifestyles. To save time and provide added entertainment, the producers would schedule activities for the families to complete, such as riding horses or entering a cross-cycling race, just like Reddit user @btrites did.
3. The guests were expected to do up close re-shoots on What Not to Wear.
They stopped pointing to the items after a while. According to this Reddit user, when you point at an object on this reality TV show, the crew is expected to film each item you point at to make sure they have enough content for the post-editing process.
While they eventually caught on to this, most contestants don’t and may have to work overtime to re-shoot. Every makeover comes with a price, we guess.
4. The crowd noise is doctored on American Ninja Warrior.
It’s hard not to notice once you know the truth. Ya… we always had our suspicions, but Reddit user @DecentDudeDustin got the gritty details on this one.
Those reactions are kinda real? You decide.
When you watch American Ninja Warrior, you may hear that the crowd is always cheering and yelling. Unfortunately, a lot of that noise is doctored. According to Reddit @DecentDudeDustin, the crowd reactions are real, but they may not happen exactly when you think they do. For instance, they’ll remaster the cheering and place it over random parts of the show to add drama and excitement.
5. The audience is filled with actors on Judge Judy.
And apparently Judge Judy wears jeans under her robe. Wait WHAT. The next slide just broke my dreams and I’ve never felt more deceived.
What happened to swearing to tell the whole truth?
As you can probably guess, almost everything on Judge Judy is fake. Not only is the audience mostly made of actors, but Judge Judy is incredibly soft-spoken, and all the cases are pre-picked by the production team. Good news: The cases are real and the show will even pay the “winner.” So, it’s not really that big of a deal if you lose on this show.
6. Ty Pennington from Extreme Home Makeover isn’t as nice as you think.
But the crew still volunteered their time for this one specific episode and barely lived to tell the tale. By this, I mean, dealing with this level of narcissism can make you question the point of life.
Oh, come on.
One of the most disheartening things you can hear about a reality TV show is how awful TV talent is. For instance, Reddit user @eoesouljah said that while they worked on Extreme Home Makeover, they briefly worked with Ty Pennington and said that he was a diva and only came out of his tour-bus for a few minutes to shoot his scenes. Yikes, that sounds awful.
7. Comedians memorized jokes right before they filmed for Yo Momma.
Guess they weren’t thought of on the spot after all. This might be why they’re not still on the air?
Uhhhh, this makes the show a lot less impressive.
While Yo Momma has since been canceled, it was once a very popular show that played on MTV. Unfortunately, it wasn’t 100 percent sincere. While the audience was real, they were scheduled to holler and clap after the comedians delivered their memorized jokes, which they also had conveniently written on pieces of paper and placed in their pockets.
8. Contestants on Survivor are provided toilet paper and tampons.
But everything else is the real deal. I mean, these are two basic and fundamental needs. Also let’s be real, who would go on national TV without at least the promise of toilet paper.
We respect the producers’ discretion on this.
The show Survivor is still on TV as we speak. The contestants are expected to “survive” on an island or remote place to win a bunch of money at the end of the season. While you may assume that some parts of this show are fake, this Reddit user — who was a contestant on the show — claims that it’s actually real. The only things that are fake? Contestants are provided toilet paper, tampons, and a designated area to do “their business.”
9. The producers from MTV’s Made set up their star with a fake date.
Hopefully it worked out for the both of them.
This is so shady.
MTV’s Made was a show that was created to help people be “made” into the thing they truly desired. While we don’t know the premise of this particular show that this Reddit user found, they did notice that the producers of the MTV show had scheduled a date for their star to go on. Unfortunately, this confirms that reality TV shows are, in fact, not real.
10. Cash Cab vets their contestants beforehand.
Pre-approval kind of kills the vibe.
I guess this makes sense?
Ever been to New York City and hoped that you would randomly run into the Cash Cab? Well, unfortunately, that’s not exactly how it works. While the contestants do get to win money, they’re vetted by the TV-show network beforehand by answering trivia questions to gauge their knowledge.
11. Holmes On Homes construction took longer than two days to complete.
And the host helped with the house as much as he could.
The magic of reality.
Home-improvement reality TV shows are the best. You get to see a family’s home turn from rags to riches in the span of two days. Unfortunately, that schedule is not 100 percent accurate. While you may think TV magic is real, most of the construction that occurs takes weeks — not days — to complete.
12. The contestants on House Hunters have already purchased a house when they start looking at homes
It’s all fake. Not to burst your bubble, but the show House Hunters is completely fake. Proceed, if you truly want to draw the entire curtain for yourself.
This is the reason I have trust issues.
Not only have the guests on the show already purchased their home in advance, but the producers also schedule them to view the two other homes just for the show. Plus, they make the guests follow scripts to provide more content for the editors to work from back at the studio.
13. It took 10 hours to film 10 minutes of Extreme Couponing.
This doesn’t sound fun. For most TV shows that span only 20-30 minutes, they usually take about a week or two to film just one episode. But not this one.
Uhhhh, that sucks.
So when this Reddit user said that it took 10 hours just to film only a 10 minutes portion of Extreme Couponing, it totally checks out.
14. The contestants have to pay for their tattoos on Miami Ink.
And the fights with Kat Von D were real. One of the most popular reality TV shows that appeared in the early 2000s was Miami Ink. It introduced tattoo artist and makeup queen Kat Von D and provided heartfelt stories about tattoos to viewers across the country. However, nothing was given away for free.
Why should they work for free?
All the guests on the show who got tattoos had to pay full price for their pieces and all the other expenses (i.e. travel and hotel stay).
Why do we all think contestants get everything comped?
15. The participants on America’s Got Talent are scheduled to film the show in advance.
The people who wait in line probably don’t even get to do their act. While almost all of the contestants on America’s Got Talent are real, the majority of them are picked by producers way in advance to appear on the show.
Sigh, for those waiting for their shot.
According to Reddit user @numbr2wo, producers emailed her to be a part of the show after watching a popular YouTube video she had created. Even though she got to perform in front of the judges, they never aired her talent on national TV.
What other true behind-the-scenes reality TV show stories are out there?
Which shocked you the most? Let us know!