What Not to Wear
"My friend was on What Not to Wear, and I was in the audience of people who were there to react when she came out from behind the curtain with her new look. She came out over and over again, but our cheering was never enthusiastic enough for the producers. After about 10 takes, we were screaming our heads off, totally hysterical, as if we'd just seen her rise from the dead. So that part was fake; I thought she just looked alright."
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Finally, a relatable sob story
"Sob stories on singing shows - it's not the contestant's fault!
I made it through a few rounds for a well known singing show and they BEG you for sob stories. on my very first application form, I was asked about the most difficult moment in my life, what obstacles I'd overcome to be there, had I ever experienced bullying, etc.
They pretty much make you tell them a sob story. So I wrote all about my heartbreak when I ran out of coffee."
"My sister's fiancé was on 16 and Pregnant. The children are real."
Love It or List It
"My aunt and uncle were on "Love It Or List It" they had them record both endings and the network chose which one they thought was best. They are still in the house and they love it, but the show says they listed it."
"Everything on Pawn Stars is scripted too. They bought a Jeep from my friend and he was even told when and how to smile or smirk when giving the interview."
"I know someone who visited the shop as a tourist and they pulled something out of the back, and handed it to him to sell them."
"Some friends of mine went on Cash Cab. One guy was chosen the day before and told to come with up to 4 friends to a certain spot the next afternoon. They met a producer who hailed the cab and were told they were going to "a game show". They had to reshoot getting into the cab because my one friend said something like, "what are the chances?! we're on our way to ANOTHER game show!"."
"I have worked on several reality shows. Some are more fake than others, but they are all heavily scheduled and formatted, never spontaneous.
I worked on a certain MTV dating show where one of the contestants tried to escape the house in the middle of the night, and one of the Production Assistants had to tackle him in the front yard and drag him back into the house. It's like prison, they are completely cut out from the outside world (no computer, books, phones, watches) and they are fed mostly booze. They all go insane.
Also, if the show doesn't air, they don't win their prize money. This is a standard for all competition reality shows."
Ratings > reality
"I have a friend who signed up to audition for a show that she thought was "The Bachelorette", or something similar. I guess its standard practice to not give the actual name of the show, and just say, "We need good looking, energetic young women for blah blah blah."
So she got called back, went through a few different interviews and a screen test. Finally, they tell her that the concept is that she will be running a Pawn Shop with another woman. She is a dental assistant with no experience remotely related to the Pawn business.
"Pawn Queens" ended up being on for two seasons and they gave her a backstory about how/why she got interested in the pawn business. Not exactly SHOCKING, but it was pretty interesting to see that they basically looked for hot girls first, then put them into a proven concept ("Pawn Stars"-type reality show)."
"A friend of mine was on Shark Tank recently. The episode hasn't aired yet so we don't know how they will edit the story to be, but they did get an actual deal with actual money from Mr. Wonderful."
"A friend of mine worked as an art director on the American version of "Supernanny". She said pretty much everything was real, maybe editing together to make it a bit more dramatic, but the family interactions were genuine. And she said Jo Frost is a very sweet, warm woman who really does her best for the kids."
I always wondered about this
"In the very first episode of Top Chef they ever filmed, Tom Colicchio flipped out because the dishes the contestants had cooked were getting cold while the film crew took "food porn" shots of them. From then on, all the contestants have to prepare two dishes. One for the judges to sample, and one for the cameras to pan over and show the audience."
"It's a requirement to be on House Hunters that you are already closing on a house. It's free advertising for the agent and a way to be on TV for the couple.
That being said I still watch the shit out of those shows. Interesting to see what $x gets you around the world"
Say Yes To The Dress
"Probably no one on Reddit watches it, but Say Yes to the Dress. It's real. One sister and a few friends have gotten their dresses there, and while they didn't appear on the show (you get asked when you make your appointment), their experiences were the exact same as TV.
Yes, the consultants really are that personable. Yes, you sit where the show is filmed. Yes, the people on the show really work there. No, they won't show you anything outside your budget, and yes, they really do bend over backwards to find you discounts if you need one (like on the show.)
I know there are probably cheaper places to buy a wedding dress, but Kleinfeld's is gorgeous and exactly like it is on SYTTD. The only thing that might be "faked" is if girls/their family are told to be super picky about the dress for ~dramatic effect~.
Fuck most of TLC's other shows though.
EDIT: YAY MORE PEOPLE WATCH THAN I THOUGHT
Edit 2: Again, I've been there a few times, but we were NOT filmed for the show. I can't speak for how real the dialogue is or isn't. BUT the store and its employees are as cool and nice and friendly as on TV!"
"I was on restaurant impossible a couple years ago. They say they have a $10,000 budget for the renovation, definitely does not mean they use it. The host, Robert Irvine, was only there for like an hour a day, of the 3ish day venture, just to get in the way and whine about things for the camera. They made up this whole story about how my boss would lose everything and cause so much stress on his marriage and family if the restaurant failed. They had us "walk this direction with a sullen look" to show that we felt underappreciated as employees. We had four employees actually walk out because of some the comments Robert made. We also did not get paid any extra for any of this. But, while all of that was annoying, I will say this. The food network did pay almost $4k for a very local construction crew to come in, which is awesome for local business/support, the food was very awesome, and I got to learn some insane techniques from world class chef's, at the very start of my career (I am a chef myself now). It was very neat and exciting thing for a small town, and definitely brought our community together. And while the business did still end up failing a year and a half later, my boss was totally fine because he bought out another restaurant and is now very successful elsewhere."