16 Behind-The-Scenes Secrets From Reality Shows That Made Us Question Everything

Reality TV may be based on real life but that doesn’t mean everything that’s shown is exactly true. Enjoy these scandalous behind-the-scene secrets that prove it’s best not to believe everything seen on Reality TV shows.

1. Stirring Up Drama For Views

From Redditor u/buddhasquirrel:

I worked with 2 people who were on Teen Mom (grandmother and granddaughter, obviously the granddaughter was the Teen Mom). They told me that the directors would intentionally set up stuff that would cause drama and then start filming. For example, the directors had them go out to lunch and told the grandmother something she didn’t know yet and filmed their argument for drama, knowing she would get upset that the granddaughter hadn’t told her before (even though she was planning to). Really dumb, unnecessary drama for TV, but apparently the baby got tons of scholarships and support from the show which is why they did it in the first place, so they said it was worth it.

2. It Was All An Act For The Camera

From Redditor u/LunaLove1027:

My parents were “dinner guests” in an episode of Nanny 911, and they said literally everything was staged. I don’t remember all of the details, but they said the directors had a “code word” that they would say to the kids when they were supposed to start acting all “crazy.” And then once the scene was done, the kids would be perfectly normal.

From Redditor u/Akgchina:

I got a lot of good parenting strategies from those shows for all the kids I don’t have.

From Redditor u/bernardzemouse:

Honestly, despite the fact that the show is staged, a lot of the tips are actually good! I have an 8 year old and often reach into the Super Nanny archive in my head.

3. A Little Too Nice For Reality TV

From Redditor u/lucifer2990:

A girl I went to school with was on My Super Sweet Sixteen. She was always quiet but well-liked and the kids on that show were usually monsters so we were curious about how the episode would paint her.

There was one scene where she was checking in on a vendor and they said something might not be finished in time for the party and she didn’t have a meltdown or anything but she said something dramatic like, “Oh no! That’s going to ruin my whole birthday party!”

After the episode aired, her friends who were with her said they did a couple of “takes” because her first reaction was like, “Oh, that sucks. Thanks for letting me know.”

From Redditor u/S3xySouthernB:

I used to like only parts of that show. Mainly, when there was finally someone like your friend who was chill and super nice. I guess they didn’t rake in the views, but it was so refreshing to see someone appear real.

4. Refusing To Play Along With Producers

From Redditor u/jml640:

My friend went to Hollywood on American Idol a few years ago. She told me they kept trying to get her to mess up her lines and ask for a redo “for the camera.” She refused and sang it the right way, but was sent home that day. To this day she is convinced that she was sent home because she refused to add drama to her scene

She then said after she was let go, all the interview questions were like, “how does it feel to know you let down your family and friends who supported you so much in your dream.” Just really trying to get people to cry. She said the whole thing was the worst experience ever.

5. Caught Red-Handed

From Redditor u/sup3rrn0va:

I was on Wife Swap when I was 10 years old. My family had to switch with a farming family and we were supposed to be the ‘city family’ even though my family and I lived in the suburbs. There were plenty of quotes taken out of context as you’d expect. They also incited plenty of drama. I was framed as addicted to video games, so they took my Xbox and Gameboy Color for the week. A few days in, one of the crew members came in with my Gameboy and said, “look I found this,” and handed it to me. It shouldn’t be surprising that they sent the woman staying in our house into my room to ‘catch me in the act’. To be honest, not much has really changed in my life except getting snapchats of my 10 year old face when my friends catch the reruns.

From Redditor u/Jreal22:

This seems so messed up. A producer sets up a 10 year old to get “caught” with his Gameboy color.

6. A Rare And Genuine Good Time

From Redditor u/mirthquake:

My family and our home were on that show This Old House in the late ’90s. Norm Abrahams was the host, and they picked our house because of my dad’s collection of Shaker furniture. The idea was that we gave him a tour of the house (while being filmed) and then he demonstrated to the camera how to make furniture like ours.

Everything was 100% genuine. Norm and the crew were kind and super respectful to all of us. No second takes. When he explained to the camera how to build replicas of the Shaker furniture, it became apparent that he was a master woodworker. Before he left we all took photos together and he signed some stuff. It was a really special day.

That was right when reality TV was starting to pick up steam. MTV’s The Real World was big at the time. I don’t think Survivor had come out yet. That was the show that opened the floodgates.

7. Just A Home Makeover Gone Terribly Wrong

From Redditor u/JynxedDraca:

Not me, but I bumped into someone that was on the Property Brothers show. According to them the two brothers were only ever on site for the filming, they threw out/hauled away all the person’s furniture and what it was replaced with was very pretty looking but hard and uncomfortable, bad quality (like had to be replaced within a year bad quality), impractical for the family, and the family could not get anything from before the makeover back that they wanted.

From Redditor u/XxsquirrelxX:

Apparently, those home makeover shows are terrible for the people who’s homes are getting a makeover. Don’t quote me on this, but I remember reading that a lot of people from Extreme Home Makeover end up having to sell the house because they can’t afford the cost of upkeep anymore. Ruined the show for me, I liked it as a kid.

8. Casually Pretending To Be A Millionaire

From Redditor u/sugarface2134:

I knew a guy pretty well who was on Millionaire Matchmaker. Spoiler: he was not a millionaire. He drove a nice car and owned his own business but lived in an apartment with a roommate. They filmed him in his apartment parking garage pretending all the nice cars were his. He seems to be doing well now and probably is a millionaire at this point – he was always about the smoke and mirrors for self promotion and it worked. It seems to have worked enough to make him quite well off these days, but yeah that show was nothing than a PR stunt and an ego boost for him.

9. Cue The Melodrama Or Get Cut From The Show

From Redditor u/Saturninefilms:

I was in an episode of MTV’s True Life. The whole thing was fabricated and they painted my (now ex) girlfriend’s family to seem like they didn’t like me at all when they absolutely loved me. When we weren’t giving them enough drama, they told us we would have to amp it up or they’d cut our segment. Fun experience, though.

I’ve done a few documentaries (behind the camera and in front of it), too, and it’s by and large the same kind of thing regardless of topic. I don’t think True Life is special by ramping up drama and faking things. It’s the nature of entertainment, I reckon.

10. Shopping Around For Potential Homes

From Redditor u/kateinoly:

I knew a girl who was on the Tiny Homes show with her mom. She said they had already bought the tiny home, and the show set things up like they were looking at a bunch of others and picked that one.

From Redditor u/Radioactivocalypse:

At least I feel we’re moving away from that sort of staged shows. But I guess that’s why Escape to the Country always ends up with, “Wallace and Janet decided not to purchase any of our Cornwall properties and moved to Worcestershire instead.”

11. The Perfect Wedding Dress Does Exist

From Redditor u/magicunicornfarts:

I was on Kiesha’s Perfect Dress, a spin off of Say Yes to the Dress. My cousin was looking for her wedding dress. They would have her come out multiple times in the same dress to get different takes of our reactions. Would tell us to say mean things [if] we didn’t like the dress. She did end up buying her wedding dress from the show however and it was very beautiful.

From Redditor u/hocknat:

A coworker was on Say Yes to the Dress. Her drama was “would they find the 34-thousand dollar dress she wanted in stock.” In reality she had already bought it months ago and brought it to the store.

12. Beating A NBA Player At Basketball

From Redditor u/grizramen:

My friend in middle school was on an episode of Super Nanny. He told me that everything was already planned out and staged. At the end of the day he got to meet his NBA idol Dwyane Wade and came into school the next day with Wade branded clothes and shoes Wade had given him. I also knew my friend was not truly being himself in the episode… he’s usually a pretty quiet, shy, respectable kid. At the end of the episode, I remember them showing him beating Wade in a 1-on-1 basketball game. If that isn’t scripted, then I don’t know what is.

13. Not Actual Renovation Professionals

From Redditor u/killagoose:

I was kind of on one. For one episode. I used to live with a couple of friends of mine who owned their own remodeling business. They were contacted by HGTV to be on a show about flipping houses.

Basically, the hosts of the show knew absolutely nothing. The hosts would have my friends show them what tools to use and how to use them for a shot, and then the cameras would roll and the hosts would act like they were doing all of the work. It was all fake, though the work was really done by my friends and the house was really sold. Last I heard, the family still lives there.

14. The Producers Were A Little Too Involved

From Redditor u/McSteazey:

I was on the dating show Elimidate. It was setup to the point that the producers did their best to create drama by pushing questions like: “XYZ was really acting like an *ss that last round. Tell us about what an *ss XYZ is.” I felt the final show edits were pretty accurate to the real life events though.

From Redditor u/crimesofparis513:

I knew someone who was a contestant on that show! She was actually a staff member and a girl was a no-show, so they pulled her in even though she had a boyfriend at the time. The guy asked each girl what she thought his haircut, and my friend said, “I think it’s awful. I should just shave it all off.” She got eliminated.

15. Time To Throw A Temper Tantrum

From Redditor u/RayNooze:

There was a family in our neighborhood who was on a show here in Germany. One day, when accompanied by the camera crew, one of the daughters suddenly threw a screaming fit in public, which was totally unusual for her. When the mom was asked later what the hell had happened, she said, for a tantrum you get 200 bucks extra.

From Redditor u/ChaseDonovan:

This reminds me of an episode of 30 Rock. They’re filming a reality TV show and the characters keep throwing drinks in each others faces when on camera.

16. No Training Was Done On A Dog Training Show

From Redditor u/ThousandPaperCranes:

I was on a dog training tv show when I was 8-ish. The idea was that the dog trainer came in and helped our family integrate our new puppy into our household, to give us training tips and advice, etc.

The whole thing was basically bogus. The ‘trainer’ came to our house for maybe 30 minutes tops and gave us extremely basic advice. The producers also told us we had to get changed and pretend that he was visiting us 3 months later after he gave us the advice and how it had made our life better yada yada yada. It’s so dumb because our puppy was clearly the same age in the ‘before’ and ‘3 months after’ shots and my family aren’t actors so our reactions were really fake.

One of the producers also made me say, ‘I love you, [dog’s name]!’ while hugging him for about 6 takes.