10 Secrets of Filming Reality TV Shows


Everything Might Be a Lie

The cast of "Survivor: Kaoh Rong" is seen during the live reunion show. Many of "Survivor" contestants are models and actors and some of the competition scenes have been restaged with body doubles. Neil Jacobs/CBS via Getty Images
The cast of "Survivor: Kaoh Rong" is seen during the live reunion show. Many of "Survivor" contestants are models and actors and some of the competition scenes have been restaged with body doubles. Neil Jacobs/CBS via Getty Images

So by now, we know that a lot of things on reality TV shows may not be what they seem. But what if their entire premise is a lie?

Like those house hunting shows. Caitlin Bussmann, who blogs at Rant Lifestyle, said neighbors of hers signed on to a HGTV show about choosing a new home. During the show, her neighbors visited three potential properties before selecting one. The thing was, the couple had already purchased a new home before the show began. "They emptied their entire house," she wrote, "let the grass overgrow and walked into it pretending they had never seen it before, even though they owned it. They visited two other homes for the heck of it. Most people on these shows have already bought a home and are just doing it for the kicks."

Cooking shows are often faked as well. Andy Dehnart, creator of Reality Blurred, wrote on Today.com that the chefs on "Iron Chef America" face few surprises before preparing their dishes in front of the cameras. "The chefs aren't completely surprised by the secret ingredient because they have been given a few possible options beforehand. And on the day of the challenge, they can probably figure out which ingredient it is based upon which shopping list has been purchased for them. The matchups are also planned in advance, with challengers choosing their opponents weeks earlier."

As the saying goes, "Reality bites!"

Author's Note: 10 Secrets of Filming Reality TV Shows

Well, this article really burst my bubble! I first got hooked into reality television with millions of others back in 2000, when "Survivor" debuted. I have never missed an episode — not sure if that's a good thing to admit — and have added "The Amazing Race" and "The Biggest Loser" to my can't-miss reality repertoire. In the beginning, when I heard rumbles of producers tweaking a few things, I didn't believe it. But over time, I realized it was true. And I was O.K. with it, since I assumed the bulk of the shows' content was real. Now, I'm rather amazed at how much tinkering goes on. Recently, I began watching some house-hunting shows while at the gym, and got hooked. But now that I know those may be totally false, I refuse to watch anymore!

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