Reality Shows That Are Totally Fake!


Reality shows have taken viewers by storm as they continue to be among the most popular television shows. Maybe it’s because people want to envision a new and different lifestyle than their current stressful or mundane existence. They want to escape, and reality TV provides that opportunity with these much-loved shows even if they really may be as far from reality as they appear. Following are 50 of some of the fan favorites.

The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

We just might all have within us that nagging desire to matchmake or meddle in the love lives of those we love. This show satisfies these cravings for viewers even if the show often oversteps traditional boundaries of courtship, love, and dating. It may come as no surprise, however, that the scenes where two girls talk it out with each other over a guy are all pre-arranged by the producers. Even the rose ceremony is planned. The contestants are carefully chosen and cast to know who will potentially land in the final three or ultimately win the other’s hand in a marriage proposal.

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

If the letter K, or celebrities who have names that start with the letter K captures your interest, it only gets better from there. Keeping Up With The Kardashians, abbreviated, KUWTK, focuses on the lives of the blended Kardashian and Jenner family. Most of the drama focuses on Kim, Kourtney, or Khloe as well as their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie. It will come as no surprise to viewers that the show is more than a one-take concept. There are many retakes and editing that take place to present the family’s life-centered adventures that are all part of being famous.

American Idol

The All American singing competition has seen so many seasons that new professional singers emerging onto the music scene literally cut their teeth on or grew up watching the show. Part of the appeal is dreaming of making the big time as a performer. Viewers are led to believe that this entails a lengthy audition process that is nerve wracking and tedious just for a chance to get chosen to be ridiculed by the judges. In reality, contestants have to endure several rounds with producers before they even get to go in front of a judge. Sometimes, the contestant is even scouted online directly from the producer skipping all of the anxious wait.


Put several contestants in a setting where they compete to survive, and you’ll naturally draw a crowd of those who want to watch to see the outcome. Add challenges into the mix, and now you’ve locked viewers in for the duration. The producers, however have admitted that they have sometimes hired body doubles to film some of the adventures the contestants are faced with. And, it won’t come as a surprise that most of the footage consists of reenactments to enhance how they appear on camera. Additionally, whether she is just a disgruntled castaway or telling it for real, one contestant sticks to her story that her removal from the show was completely set up.

Love Island

What a lovely imagery to be in love on an island. It sounds like the making of some deep romance. But, when the premise is tossing in groups of single young adults to spend the summer on a tropical spot, it can get dicey. It is no surprise that they begin pairing off. It doesn’t hurt that they know there is a chance of winning a competition if they do. Not to throw some wet water on the idea of an island romance, there is talk that the entire show is pre-planned right down to the couple’s fights or intimacy.

Project Runway

What fashion model wannabe or clothing designer wouldn’t dream about being chosen to walk a runway wearing uniquely created designs or have their creations chosen to be showcased? Though, the ultimate challenges result in a make-believe label that contestants fight to claim the rights to flaunt. Behind the scenes, the judging process may be just as ingenuousness as the fake no-name, made-for-Hollywood finished product label. To be spotlighted on the show often requires the most extreme behavior. Stress and upsets often flare as contestants race to complete challenges and have their designs be chosen. Seems the more catty, the better as far as the producers are concerned.

Big Brother

Based on the idea from a George Orwell book, that someone is always watching, Big Brother has been embraced as a popular reality TV show by fans for years. Contestants appear as house guests who compete through challenges to win a $500,000 prize. They are constantly under video surveillance to give the impression that viewers are casually watching them live their lives together as they fight it out to take home the win. In reality, there have been a few glitches that has made some fans question its authenticity. Once such instance occuredon the British version of the show. The lights went off for a bedtime setting only to flick back on as the contestants were given instructions instead of actually tucking in for the night.

Beauty and the Geek

What awkward high school boy or girl has not fantasized about a gorgeous, popular kid falling for them? The concept behind this reality show pairs teams of beautiful women with teams of males portrayed as geeks. As the show progresses, the shallow, physical trait-minded women seem to become a bit less self-centered. In contrast, the geeky male counterparts appear to gradually step into some socialization shoes and come out of their shell a bit in an attempt to win the girl. The truth is that some have claimed the show hires paid actors. Additionally, at least one of the geeky nerds was not so undesirable after all and actually already had a girlfriend waiting for him.


No, the show is not about fishermen. Catfish is a term used to describe someone who creates a fake personal profile online, uses the picture of someone else, and bio and then pretends to be someone they are not. The concept behind Catfish is about as real as it gets, originating from how this type of fish are used to keep cod fish agile enough to ship across the ocean. In real life, a person who is a catfish keeps us all on our toes as they essentially constantly nip at our fins. The MTV reality show based on these adventures, however, may embellish it a bit. To select who is featured on the show, the producers actually reverse the application process. The ones who actually apply to be on the show are the people who are portrayed as the catfish.

Pawn Stars

The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop store seen on camera is a real store and is truly owned by the Harrisons. However, nowadays it has become more of a place for curious fans to drop in as opposed to an actual pawn shop. Due to Nevada privacy laws, the stars of the show cannot even work the counter in real life anymore during business hours. While the show spotlights customers and their artifacts they bring in to sell or pawn, it also pans in on interpersonal conflicts among the cast members. What viewers may not realize is that all of the items that are showcased have already been carefully researched with prices agreed upon before the camera starts rolling.

Dancing With The Stars

Such an overwhelmingly popular show that draws the attention of millions who tune in each week the show airs. Viewers interact to feel as if their vote is making a difference in selecting the winner of the mirror ball award. We can only trust the voting is done on the up and up, though some skeptics wonder. While the dancing is very much real and would be extremely difficult to fake, the show draws viewer attention to personalities. The segments shown in between the dance competitions are pre-produced and possibly even scripted to some degree. At least one dancing contestant was booted from the show when she refused to follow the suggested script.

Hell’s Kitchen

If the title of the show didn’t capture your attention, the ongoing tension and shouting of the show’s host just might hold you for awhile. What better place than in the kitchen to get all steamed up over the stress of a cooking competition. Chef Gordon Ramsay often flares his temper and doesn’t sprinkle lightly with the cuss words. While he may actually be a little hot headed or passionate in his work, the show follows a pre-written script. Some even claim that the customers sitting to eat are actually actors who are paid to antagonize or react in various ways to keep the audience engaged and wanting more.

90 Day Fiance

The TLC pseudo romantic drama is set on the premise that couples will meet and marry within 90 days is shocking enough. However, this show pushes the limits even farther by making sure that at least one of each member of the rapidly potentially proposed couple can immigrate to the United States on a tourist visa that is set to expire by the time the 90-day courtship is up. As if it needs to be stirred up, the drama is constantly thick. Of course, the producers take full liberties with the setting by frequently requesting that the couples do or say specific pre-scripted things.

Basketball Wives

March Madness seems to be on and off the court. Spectator sports fans get actively involved when they attend a basketball game to watch their favorite players. Imagine looking into the lives of their wives. That’s the premise behind the VH1 show that features wives of famous basketball players. But, among the women of the net, there seems to be a great deal of blocking and running up and down an emotional court. The women may actually get along better than they are portrayed. Some say behind the camera what the television audience sees is really the result of a carefully written scrip and staging.

Breaking Amish

It may come as very little surprise that a reality show based on the quiet lives of the Amish looks less than genuine on camera and underneath production lighting. This is especially the case considering only four of the group was actually Amish. The others were Anabaptist or Mennonite and presented as those trying to make the decision whether or not to return to their communities. Turns out that the drama has already taken place years ago with their personal struggles, long before a camera was forced in front of their faces. The reality is that they had actually left their inborn lifestyle several years prior.

Britain’s Got Talent

Obviously, Americans are not the only ones who’ve got talent. This British counterpart was set to spotlight a vast variety of talented contestants. Some sing. Others dance or put on a magic show. A few years ago a small dog stole the show. Turns out, the dog truly stole the show as it was completely set up in advance. The act was dubbed Jules and Matisse, and they came up as the winners. However, the producers of the reality show did a bait and switch with a dog that resembled Matisse since the dog suffered from an incredible case of stage fright and was unable to complete the high-wire act that won the hearts of viewers.

Cake Boss

With a bit of sibling rivalry and a hint of undercover mob activity, Cake Boss captivates audiences. The baking challenge show comes straight from the Carlo’s Bake Shop, an Italian-American family-owned business in Hoboken New Jersey. Buddy, his wife, Grace Faugno and Mary Sciarrone makes edible art cakes for big-time events. The show focuses on the stress and relationships of the bakers and employees. Perhaps off camera the family isn’t so volatile with each other. In fact, Buddy isn’t even usually at the cake shop when he isn’t filming for the show. There is even speculation that some of the events spotlighted on the show are not even real-life parties.


Imagine living it up in luxury. The fascination of what it must be like to actually live in the opulent setting of a movie star’s home is what is at the premise of this MTV reality show. Celebrities take viewers on an inside look at their luxurious homes, closets, extravagant vehicles, and even their jewelry. Maybe even the celebrities themselves are dreaming of what luxurious living actually looks like on this one. At least one house featured on the show turned out to belong to someone else who rents it out and wasn’t owned by the rapper Ja Rule after all.

Dance Moms

If you ever wondered what it was like to be the mom of a dance competition mom, this show attempts to give you an inside glimpse. This Lifetime reality show follows the training and careers of children in the dance and show business. It features perspectives from the dance instructor’s side as well as the students. The drama enters stage right, however, as the focus shifts to the moms. The on-camera fighting, however, may be a little more scripted than off the cuff prima donna moms scratching each other’s eyes out. Some of them even leave laughing with each other.

Cupcake Wars

As sweet as a cupcake is, the bitter fight that ensures on the show to win the challenges can get downright sour. Bakers come together to fight for the right to create a tasty display of 1,000 cupcakes. Viewers are often disgusted by some of the secret ingredients revealed that the bakers must include in their final results. If you wonder how they think on their feet so quickly to formulate some pretty odd combinations of food groups, the answer is that they may not be so quick witted after all. Some claim that the contestants are told what the ingredients will be before the competition even begins.

Divorce Court

As if going through a marital breakup isn’t traumatic in and of itself, this reality show puts it all out there in front of a camera for all to see. Viewers even step in as self-appointed judges of a sort as they watch the evidence unfold before them in divorce hearings. Both sides have a chance to tell their side of the story before a conclusion is reached on a resolution as their marriage is dissolved. The show was originally presented as a series of dramatic reenactments of real divorce cases that were played out by actors. The latest shows claim to be real-life happenings.

Duck Dynasty

This A&E American reality TV series spotlights the lives of the Robertson family. The family became successes as a result of their family business, Duck Commander. Their main product is a duck call product. They have become a household name with the image of long beards and evangelical faith. They also tout their patriotism to America. The people behind the Robertson family may be very much real, it wouldn’t be a reality show without some drama being stirred up by the producers to capture on camera. Enhanced, post-production edits may even make it look as though they curse at each other quite a bit, since bleeps are added on the cutting room floor to raise some eyebrows from viewers.

Famously Single

If you thought you had it bad as a single person constantly answering questions about relationships fired off by relatives, imagine if you are a famous, well-known celebrity who if still not hitched. This E! Networks show features stars who happen to be single. The show follows them as they are set up with dates and are subjected to counseling sessions. While the show does have faithful fans, many find that the celebrities who are featured on the show are not that great at acting as they are plopped into skirmish situations. Sometimes, they even face someone from their past just to bring on the drama.

Fixer Upper

Almost every viewer who has ever seen this lovely couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, have fallen in love and cannot wait to see the next beautiful personalized house design for the featured clients on the show. Their strong relationship is authentic, and their skill at turning houses into gorgeous inviting homes is true. What you may not know is that the homeowner has already purchased the house they choose before the camera begins filming. Presenting three homes for them to choose from is all for the viewing draw. Only the rooms that are featured on camera are the rooms that are fully decorated, and unless the homeowner pays the extra cost, none of the furniture or the amazing, carefully selected décor is included in the budget.

Hardcore Pawn

There is something about defying dangerous surroundings on the bad side of town or in a risky pawn business. Hardcore Pawn features a family run pawn business located on the rough side of Detroit.. There always seems to be the most unusual customers who seem to happen into the doors of the store, and they always seem to get into some sort of a fight with the family who owns the business. If it seems like Les, Ashley, or Seth get screamed at by disgruntled customers a lot, or that the customers are frequently yanked outside by security, maybe that’s because it’s all part of the act.

House Hunters

It sounds simple enough and even quite a bit enticing especially for viewers who may be considering relocating to a different living space one day. This reality television show follows individuals and families who are looking to buy a new home. This HGTV show is a top success for the network. Realtors help people find their dream home that fits within their budget. As fans walk through the house hunting process with the people spotlighted on the show, they probably don’t realize that final decisions on which house to buy were already set in stone before the camera even started to roll.

I Am Cait

Longtime fans may know Cait as athlete Bruce Jenner who transformed into a female’s body. Caitlyn Jenner’s transition was portrayed in this reality show as more of a documentary that was very much rooted in truth and real-life happenings that took place to go from Bruce to Caitlyn. Curious viewers tuned in to watch it all unfold. Perhaps, they should have kept the show as a documentary and called it a day, however. Because, when season 2 began, the transition had already been complete. So, the episodes began to be more scripted and pre-planned to draw the attention toward controversy that may not even exist.

Jersey Shore

The MTV spectacular follows the lives of eight housemates in a vacation home along the Jersey Shore in Seaside Heights. Some seasons, they ventured away from Jersey to be seen in Florida, and even Italy. The drama that ensures when people reside under the same roof is engaging. But, is it authentic? It’s true that the people starring in the show are real-life friends. However, the encounters and dramatic happenings may even have a hint of reality, but the camera shots and dialogue are often rehearsed with several scenes shot. Sometimes, the camera angles and retakes focus on different delivery or expressions.

Last Comic Standing

Making it as a comedian is one of the toughest climbs to the top of showbiz. So, when a reality show had the idea to portray up and coming comics to find unrecognized talent to give them their moment in the spotlight, it sounded like a great idea. The winner receives a cash prize. However, there is word that the ballots may be stacked with producers putting in their two cents opinions to vote. The editors have also been accused of changing the recordings to make some of the better performances actually appear to be awful and groan worthy presentations.

Long Island Medium

A favorite of TLC viewers, Theresa Caputo claims she is able to communicate with the dead. The show follows her encounters with clients wanting to speak with those beyond the grave. Skeptics, however, look through the facade for evidence of her authenticity as a go-between of spirits. Some have gone so far as to claim that information about the people she meets with and the audiences have already been provided to her. It seems that even if they don’t reveal it to her, the producers uncover everything by using questionnaires, background checks, and even information found on social media and then share it with Theresa behind the scenes as the camera is rolling.

Naked And Afraid

Nothing can be laid bare more than literally stripping a contestant bare naked and leaving them to fight for survival as cameras reveal their vulnerable and challenging experience. The show takes participants and drops them off at exotic locations and then has each one remove their clothing before filming begins. Could it be true that a film crew could actually record naked survivors for the sake of viewer entertainment? Perhaps, the way the come out alive and thriving at the end is because they may be provided with necessary supplies and even some amenities like vitamins, medications, and even feminine hygiene products.

Pimp My Ride

Who wouldn’t want to ride around town in a head-turning vehicle that has been restored and customized just for them? Especially, who wouldn’t jump at the chance of bringing life back to a once cherished automobile? Another MTV reality show presents Rapper Xzibit who offers to transform hideous or run-down cars into works of art. When it’s all said and done, the cars may look like jaw-dropping amazing turnarounds from trashy, beat up vehicles to something you want to cruise down the boulevard riding. While the rides turn out looking stellar, some of them may be nothing more than cosmetic changes for the camera shoot.

Restaurant Stakeout

It sounds like a great idea to hide a camera in an attempt to discover daily encounters inside restaurants. The concept is to uncover where the problems exist. Quite often, the recordings reveal that an employee is standing around doing nothing or somewhat sabotaging the restaurant. Many times, the waiter or other worker is downright rude to a customer. It happened in front of a camera, so how can it be proven wrong? The restaurateur Willie Degel then moves in with evidence to confront the issue and potentially fire them. The truth is that most of the obnoxious, complaining customers are actually actors who are attempting to cause as much trouble an egg on the most unruly reaction as possible.

Say Yes To The Dress

There may be no better fairy tale dream for a bride than to envision herself trying on and finding the most beautiful dress for her big, special wedding day. Say Yes To The Dress is a reality show brought to excited viewers who anticipate observing the process that takes place in an exclusive Manhattan bridal shop that is quite a bit less roomy than the camera portrays. In reality, all of the people featured are attended by sales employees who have been carefully chosen by the producers. Sometimes, they prompt the drama by asking them to intersperse comments that create pre-wedding stress.

South Beach Tow

Maybe it might cross our minds every once in awhile when we pass an accident, stalled car, or a vehicle that has plummeted into a ditch. But, otherwise, how often do we realize or even think about the daily happenings of people in the towing industry? This reality show gives viewers a sneak peek into the day-to-day business of family owned Tremont Towing. The show takes place in Florida where there is plenty of opportunity for high-drama among conducting business to tow people’s cars. Of course, as with most television shows, much of the focus is intentionally drawn to over dramatized reactions to stressful events.

Storage Wars

With a whole lot of curiosity and mystique, the wonder of what is actually stored inside those storage lockers that are rented to stuff full of bulky household goods and such. In California, contents of storage lockers can be sold at auction if they go unpaid for three months. This is the premise of the show. However, David Hester, the former star of the show, stunned fans when he exposed that the show is scripted. He went on to explain that some of the items that are discovered inside the lockers are planned and staged before they are revealed. He further claimed that much of the show is scripted and that the auctions are often pre-planned to present a shocking show in front of the camera.

Teen Mom

Finding yourself young and pregnant is not an easy time for any teenage girl. This American reality show focuses on the day-to-day lives of young mothers who are raising their babies. It focuses on struggles, how their decisions have impacted their families, and relationships. As if having a romance as a teen girl that resulted in raising a baby wasn’t enough stress and drama in and of itself, the show also documents breakups. Everything is selectively edited including intimate conversations just to maintain the high-drama that already naturally exists. It is often as if the child and the mom are growing up together.

The Apprentice

While some argue that President Donald J. Trump is still playing the role he portrayed on The Apprentice firing those who displease him, the show has been a huge success. The idea of the show is to take groups of business people or well-known celebrities to interview for a position at Trump’s company. The catch phrase that Trump mastered with stern confidence, “You’re Fired!” may have actually been revealed to the contestant ahead of time. Perhaps, the biggest complaint contestants may have is that the big prize is really just the ability to say they won with no other prize awarded.

The Biggest Loser

Losing weight is a huge endeavor that many Americans long to achieve. So, tuning in each week to watch someone else successfully achieve this goal is intriguing. While contestants are truly losing weight, the medical professionals who appear on the show may lack necessary credentials to be writing prescriptions for weight loss medications. The show also often portrays those they are spotlighting as slothful, lazy, tired individuals regardless of how they truly live their lives off camera. Oh, and the technology that zooms in on the weekly weight loss total is not exactly as it appears. The contestants have already been measured and weighed sometimes a couple days ahead of time.

The Hills

The Hills is a spin-off of Laguna Beach: he Real Orange County which followed the lives of young professional women living in Los Angeles. As viewers watch, they feel as though they are one of the friends on this reality television series of MTV. But, in reality, some of the people portrayed on camera have actually been carefully cast. This is the case with characters who are introduced, even those with best friend status. One cast member claims that an intimate and emotional scene of Heidi revealing that she is pregnant was done in 15 takes.

The Jerry Springer Show

Perhaps one of the early reality shows presented as a talk show where guests often erupt into screaming fits over controversies. Most who have seen the show have at least questioned whether or not this much extreme fighting and ridiculously messed up lifestyles could actually be real. Skeptics will not be surprised to learn that much of the story lines revealed by guests, down to the guests themselves are carefully crafted to elicit the most reaction from the audience. The production team sometimes even prompts the crowd or agitates them to evoke an emotional response that is caught on camera.

The Osbournes

If the Adams Family piqued your interest, you’re on the right path with enjoying The Osbournes. This quirky family goes about their lives with bizarre happenings. Ozzy Osbourne was an iconic name in rock music. He has now brought in the entire family, wife Sharon, Jack and Kelly as part of a reality show that follows the family through day-to-day life. The show is not for tender ears. There is a lot of cursing, though there are also plenty of light-hearted or outright bursts of laughter to be had. It will come as no shock that much of the show is scripted with the family being told what each episode’s events entailed.

The Real Housewives

This Bravo series documents the lives of some top-dollar, high-class housewives who live throughout the United States. With a name that sets forth expectations in authenticity, are the housewives portrayed on the show real? Maybe it will come as somewhat of a relief to realize that all of what you see on the show is pre planned at least so far as the producers bringing the women together to stir up trouble and fights. Critics claim that the show spotlights and even promotes commercialism or a push for viewers to desire more affluent lifestyles for themselves judged by what they wear, and the consumer-focused objects that they own.

The Simple Life

Maybe living the simple life isn’t that free of drama after all. At least, according to the E! Reality series it may be a bit of a challenge. The series features two wealthy socialites, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. The two are placed in low-paying work situations as the cameras begin to capture their stressful struggles. Their jobs include farming, house cleaning, fast food servers, and even camp counselors. As fun as it is to envision rich girls trying to make it in the real world, they no doubt play up the ditsy blonde image to entertain fans even more.

Total Bellas

World Wrestling Entertainment WWE is a very popular event for fans, but is widely accepted as being hyped and made up. After all, the E stands for Entertainment. If you expected an actual sporting event, you may have been disappointed. Obviously, a reality show that focuses on the Bella Twins is going to meet similar standards. The show captured the day-to-day lives of Nikki and Brie along with their partners, John Cena and Daniel Bryan. Cena and Bryan are no strangers to putting on a show in the rink, and their partners nicely play along for this reality show.

Undercover Boss

Talk about the ultimate in yearly work reviews. Imagine your work being observed through the eyes of someone you think is a co-worker but is really your boss. The premise is intriguing and captures the attention of many watchers who long to be justly rewarded for hard work that seems to otherwise go unnoticed by those able to make decisions about giving a raise. However, what you see on the show and what happens behind the scenes may be very different. Much of the show is apparently scripted with promises made on camera not kept behind the scenes when it’s all said and done in real life.


This popular E! Sensation follows the lives of the wives or girlfriends of favorite sportsmen. The acronym stands for Wives And Girlfriends of Sports persons. The idea was that fans love their sports stars, so why not reveal the women in their lives. The series began in America and branched out to include some international shows as well and spinning off a Miami and Atlanta version. Of course, when you have several prominent women in one setting, it’s easy to slip in some cantankerous moments. Occasionally a woman who wasn’t even in a relationship with a sports star would be brought into the mix just to stir things up.

What Not To Wear

With the idea in mind reminiscent of the iconic fashion do’s and don’ts, this show steps into the dressing room of women who are longing to ramp up their wardrobe. This American makeover show got its concept from the British version. The participants receive money to redo their closet with a total makeover. The camera crew who followed the contestants on the show would often go undercover or even convince the subject matter that they were part of a market research team. Later, the secret footage is revealed for the delight of viewers to watch the transformation take place. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the producers give away every last bit of their existing clothing to charity.

Wife Swap

While the title may sound a bit scandalous, the concept doesn’t actually entail swapping marriages. The reality show took couples who lived completely opposite lifestyles and placed the wives of each into the other household for a week. Viewers watched the wives impose their own ideas and rules on the opposing family with plenty of husband conflicts as well as the reaction of the children, which were sometimes favorable and sometimes rebellious or resistant. Of course, the when the show hit the editing room, it was made to look as the producer wanted, and one husband showcased on an episode later said he wasn’t even really with the partner shown on TV.