8 Reality Television Secrets Networks Won’t Tell You About

  • February 27, 2014
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One of the most popular genres on television these days is reality TV. Reality shows are everywhere, and have been huge starting with The Real World and especially since Survivor and American Idol first hit the airwaves. Of course not much of what happens on reality TV, believe it or not, is actually, you know, real.


No One is Real in “Reality” TV

This one you probably could have guessed, but believe it or not, the people and scenarios you see on reality television are almost never actually real. Casting directors look for very specific types of people and, through coaching them and some clever editing, turn them into characters rather than real people. If you were to meet any of your favorite reality stars, you’d probably be stunned at how different they are in real life. And it’s not just the people, but what they do. On Storage Wars, for example, producers have been known to plant items for the stars to find in the storage units they buy. And on shows like Jersey Shore, the people are idiots, but not nearly as moronic as the show would lead you to believe.


Producers Decide Pretty Much Everything

Have you ever watched an episode of, say, Survivor and wondered why on earth those people go to a remote island dressed the way they are? You’ve got hot women in little to no clothing, and guys wearing suit jackets, among other bizarre choices. Well, they don’t really have a say in the matter. The producers tell them what to wear, and even more amazingly, they often decide who advances in certain competition shows. So half the time you’re watching a reality competition and you keep wondering why certain awful people keep sticking around, it’s because the producers have an enormous influence.


Home Renovation Show Hosts Don’t Do Jack

Not too long ago, the website AVClub.com interviewed a couple whose home was renovated on the HGTV show Curb Appeal, and what was revealed was incredibly eye opening. One of the most shocking things is that, in addition to the work being particularly shoddy, the bubbly, friendly home renovation show hosts you always see barely do anything. According to that interview, host John Gidding would arrive for a few minutes, shoot for half an hour, and then immediately leave the set. Obviously some hosts get their hands a little dirtier, but the friendly rapport you see between the hosts and the “lucky” recipients of a home makeover is pretty much all fabricated, because in a lot of cases, there’s little to no interaction.


And it takes Weeks or Months to Film an Episode

That same interview also reveals something else pretty amazing: things don’t happen nearly as quickly as they appear. In most of those makeover shows, everything happens in a couple of days, or a week at the very most. However, in reality the planning takes places weeks or even months in advance, and the actual labor can last a couple weeks. It’s not just with home renovation shows, either. The hosts of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for instance, admit that while the show insists that all of the home and personal makeovers take place in one day, they actually worked with the straight guys for three or four days. Clever editing just makes it look like everything takes place in a hurry, because it’s just more impressive to say something happened in a day and a half rather than a month.