16 Reality TV Show Secrets From People Who Actually Worked On Set

This might completely shock you, but reality TV shows are not actually real. They’re mostly scripted, rehearsed, and take multiple takes to get the exact shots the producers are looking for. Any drama that takes place in show is almost guaranteed to have been set up to create excitement in the episode.

We all know its not real, but finding out more details about exactly how fake these shows are can be really shocking. People who have actually worked on reality shows were kind enough to share the things they learned on set.

It can definitely take the fun out of watching your favorite shows to find out the soulmate search a reality star went on for 13 weeks was actually a sham to make people watch, so proceed with caution.

1. The Bachelor


“Someone my brother and I knew was on one of the earlier seasons of The Bachelor. She lasted a long time and the producers got a hold of my brother for the homecoming episode. He was was supposed to pretend to be a jealous ex and create drama when in reality, they never dated. Luckily, there was a massive snowstorm that weekend and it was called off. I’m pretty sure my brother would’ve regretted that the rest of his life.”

2. The Bachelor


And apparently, the secret about hometown homes on The Bachelor that was revealed in the first post* is true: “In Peter’s season, the house where Madi was interviewed by Chris Harrison in Auburn was the house I rented for my bridesmaids for my wedding weekend.”

3. Gator Boys

Animal Planet

“My friends once had a segment for Gator Boys filmed on their property. The day of the shoot, they brought their own gator in one of the production trucks, and I think it had been fed, because it was calm. They filmed the guy in the water for about an hour before they took the gator out of the back of the production truck and released it into the canal with a rope tied so it wouldn’t slip away. The gator was only in the water for a few minutes just to get shots of it in the water and then they did the capture and removal. They even placed the gator in the same truck in which it had been brought.”

4. Catfish


“I was on an ‘Untold Stories’ episode of Catfish Season 6, and it was all-around bizarre. My 20-minute segment on the show took four hours to film, so you can imagine how condensed it is. They got the gist of my story correctly, but for the most part they just pieced clips together to make the story as juicy as possible.”

5. Dance Moms


“A friend of mine sat behind the Dance Moms and Cathy at one of the competitions (which was held at a local high school in Ohio). After the cameras were turned off, all the moms hugged Cathy and chatted it up with her. The entire rivalry between Cathy and the moms was staged, for the most part.”

6. Island Hunters


“My relatives were on Island Hunters and they’d bought their island way in advance and went and saw two more islands they were ‘interested’ in. It was so silly how scripted it was.”

7. First Dates


“A friend was picked to be on First Dates. They gave them loads of booze before they sent them to the restaurant, but after a while she got pulled aside and told her date had backed out. She was that told she could go to the restaurant and act ‘surprised’ that she’d been stood up, but then she would be guaranteed a date on another episode. Naturally, she didn’t stick around to be stood up on national TV!”

8. Britain’s Got Talent


“I once worked for an aerial arts company. They specialized in silks, trapeze, and bungee dance and arts (I was just the comms person). I got an email from Britain’s Got Talent asking our most senior artists who were already internationally successful, producing shows, and performing, to audition and act as if they were newbies to the scene. It made me realize they probably pick who auditions and gets through. The artists at my company declined year after year.”

9. America’s Got Talent


“I once went with my sister to an America’s Got Talent audition in Chicago. It was February, and they filmed in a poorly heated convention center (literally where they filmed the bat cave in The Dark Knight). They made everyone take off their coats for crowd shots because “this is a summer show so we don’t want it to look cold.” I was like if you don’t want people to look cold, don’t film in an unheated Chicago cavern in February.

10. America’s Next Top Model

The CW

“My cousin’s wife was on America’s Next Top Model and told me all sorts of horror stories about the producers. The contestants were told to only eat on camera, told to bring up sensitive topics, even told to ignore some girls just to make a storyline. Sad and gross.”


NBC Universal

“My cousin was on Maury. They get paid $500 to be on the show with boarding included, but he HAD to stick to the script or he wouldn’t get his pay out.”

12.Working on the BBC


“When I was a researcher as part of the BBC Production Trainee Scheme, I worked on many different reality shows. One of my ‘headachy’ tasks was to remind all contestants — via email — not to wear designer or brand-name glasses, sunglasses, clothes, shoes, and bags during the filming, due to BBC’s strict policy on advertising. Pretty amazing how many turned up wearing designer or brand anyway. I had to cover it with a tin badge, or sticky tape, or made them wear a borrowed jacket to cover it up. One inked over gold logos on his glasses with Sharpie. One woman showed up in a tracksuit with the Gucci logo all over. I offered to swap our clothes, but she refused to wear my ‘common as muck’ outfit. She was given a choice: Swap or go home. She went home.”

13. Jersey Shore


“On Jersey Shore, most of the people the cast interacts with (including hookups, girls brought back from clubs, and strangers met in bars) are staged and have already signed release forms. You can notice some of the cast overreacting to people showing up and also conveniently facing the camera so we can see their faces. Vinny is particularly bad at it, but so is Mike.”

14. My Big Redneck Wedding


“I worked as a production assistant on My Big Redneck Wedding. The whole thing was horribly staged. Yes, the people got married, but all the guests were random people from the surrounding towns. On my episode the ‘stars’ were drinking heavily all day, and encouraged to do so. They were even setting off dynamite behind their house, and the woman’s poor daughter spent the day hiding inside, crying! No one on the crew cared, they only wanted the shot.”

15. My Kitchen Rules

Seven Network

“In My Kitchen Rules, they don’t let the contestants eat during the home rounds aside from the food that’s going to be judged, and they’re not allowed to eat beforehand. They just keep giving them alcohol, and since the couple takes so long to cook the meals, everyone is dead drunk the whole night. They do this on purpose to cause drama.”

16. Jeopardy!


And, “for Jeopardy, multiple rounds are filmed in one day. My cousin was on it, and she said contestants were instructed to bring multiple outfits in case they won, so that way it looked like it was multiple days. Other than though, everything else about Jeopardy is real.”