Whether we’d admit it or not, we all enjoy watching reality shows from time to time and yelling at our TV sets. These usually hit close to home than other shows and sitcoms on TV, as they feature everyday people going through various unscripted events. At least, that was the original premise of these shows.
In truth, most of these so called “reality shows” are actually staged and predetermined. They involve carefully crafted scenarios, archetypal actors, or sometimes even both. Just to prove it, we’ve gathered a list of the world’s most popular reality TV shows that surprisingly do not depict reality at all.
One of the first reality TV shows to follow a family of semi-lunatics around while they engage in a lot of drama was 'The Osbournes'. The show ran from 2002 to 2005, and proved audiences were interested in these kinds of shows.
Ok, yes, those are in fact their real names, but eventually it came out that most of the show’s events were actually scripted. 'The Osbournes' simply came up with crazy ideas before each episode. Crazy, right?
It was inevitable that the popularity of reality cooking shows would eventually lead to one about cakes. Unfortunately, 'Cake Boss' really takes the cake when it comes to exaggerating drama and controversies.
The store’s owner, Valastro, is often reported to not even work in his shop when the show isn’t filming. Some of the weddings were also reported as fake. Not so sweet but sugar coated and fake!
'American Idol' was one of the pioneers in the reality audition TV show format. The show pitted various candidates against its veteran judges, and often ended up in some hilarious performances.
It’s been reported that the show’s producers send talent scouts to make sure they have a few winners at the end of each episode, and fills the rest of the time with terrible participants who are known flops ahead of time. Talentless and fake.
Say Yes to the Dress
Another popular reality show involving brides is the popular 'Say Yes To The Dress', which basically follows a bride’s journey while finding the ideal wedding dress. Many people that have attended the show’s sets have claimed that a lot of the participant’s reactions were rehearsed and dramatized.
The bridal boutique featured on the show was also exaggerated in its size and popularity. Extravagant and fake.
One of the world’s most popular cooking shows is without a doubt 'Hell’s Kitchen'. Gordon Ramsey used it to become a household figure, and is regularly shown yelling and getting supremely mad at some of the show’s less competent participants.
Sadly, not only is most of the show scripted, but many of the actual customers of the restaurant are paid actors. Oh so blazing fake.
Whether or not 'MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen', or any show involving Gordon Ramsay is real, everyone mostly watches these shows to see the notorious chef yelling at people and inventing creative expletives.
It’s still worth mentioning that, Ben Starr, a former participant, wrote a long blog post claiming that the entire behavior of the cast is fake and intentionally over dramatized. But that is to be expected in prime time television, real, or fake.
90 Day Fiance
There are so many things wrong about '90 Day Fiance' that many of us hoped it was fake from the get go. The premise of the show is that a person “imports” a potential foreign wife or husband, and has 90 days to marry them before their tourist visa expires.
Some participants claimed that the drama in the show was intentionally gained by producers for ratings. There were so many things morally wrong about this show that some had to be fake.
Like many popular reality shows, the main entertaining crutch behind 'Dance Moms' is the drama and confrontations. In 2015, one of the show’s past participants, Maddie Ziegler, revealed that the production basically set it up so that everyone was always mad and yelling at each other.
She even claimed moms would set up fake fights and yell at each other just for show. Not so motherly but extremely fake.
Beauty and the Geek
The premise behind 'Beauty and the Geek' is simple, take a classic dating show and flip it upside down by pitting some of the most beautiful women on earth with the nerdiest men god has ever created.
While this show gave hope to many video-gamers and programmers, it was sadly fake. Not only were many of the geeks acting, but some of the girls were paid actresses. It was totally fake.
The premise behind 'Restaurant Stakeout' is seeing Restaurateur Willie Degel get behind the counter in unsuccessful food establishments and fix their broken businesses. He does this by firing inadequate staff members in a highly dramatic fashion, which is quite a tall order for a weekly TV show.
One of the show’s participants admitted the studio contacted him and screened for bad employees. They also asked the restaurant's staff to act as horribly as possible. Horrendously fake.
'Project Runway' is quite a popular show, and gives a supposed behind-the-scenes look into the work that goes into runway fashion shows. Unfortunately, the show has been outed by many of its former participants, including Jack Mackenroth and Daniel Esquivel.
These designers claim that scenes are extremely sensationalized, and that the reality is much more boring. This one was designed to be fake!
Audiences have been following Judge Judy and her myriad of strange and cringe-inducing cases for over two decades. The show turned this judge into one of the most famous people in the United States.
While the cases are as real as they get, the actual outcomes of each case are always decided before the filming begins. Also, both sides get paid for participating. The court dates? Fake!
The show 'Pawn Stars' might as well be called Acting Stars, as most of its scenes are completely fake and scripted. The pawn store is actually owned by the Harrison family, but functions mostly as a tourist attraction rather than an actual business.
The items on the show are usually researched with prices agreed ahead of time, and the stars don’t even work the counter when cameras aren’t filming, due to various Nevada privacy laws. Pawned and fake.
We don’t really know how to describe the fact that a reality show about ghosts is fake, it pretty much goes without saying. But we’ll do our best. Basically, many people accuse 'Ghost Hunters' of being mostly scripted and not very realistic.
We really hope that this is true, as the only other option is that these guys actually believe they’re running around encountering ghosts. Nevertheless, it’s definitely entertaining. Ghostly and fake, but entertaining.
We would be extremely happy if countries could actually wage wars using cupcakes, but for now let’s just settle on watching 'Cupcake Wars' instead. The reality show follows contestants from different U.S. states who have to bake tasty original cupcakes in order to win the grand prize.
In truth, various rumors have been circulating that much of the competition in the show is actually fake. Half baked and fake!
Reality TV shows often get criticized for not having any creative content. 'Love Island' is a great example of this lack of originality, as it’s simply a mix of 'The Bachelor' and 'Survivor'. The show pairs a group of singles on a tropical island, but according to one naughty Reddit user, it’s completely fake.
Everything from the arguments to the dramas on the show are made up and acted. Romantically fake.
'Mob Wives' basically took a bunch of rugged, tough women from Staten Island, N.Y. that were married to mobsters and pitted them against each other. The show was mostly fake in the sense that many of its events were staged or produced.
Most of its participants don’t actually frequent together, so the producers essentially created various dramatic scenes and fights between them. So fake… and dangerous too.
Toddlers and Tiaras
There’s something extremely cringe-inducing about 'Toddlers and Tiaras', a show which takes the already debatable idea of having adults argue on TV for entertainment, and makes children do it instead.
However, many of the show’s participants and former staff came forward in recent years and claimed that the show is largely scripted, with the drama mostly being fake. Prematurely fake.
Britain's Got Talent
Like Gordon Ramsey’s various reality TV shows, fans of 'Britain’s Got Talent' mostly tune in to watch Simon Cowell get paid almost $100 million per year to dish out creative criticism to the show’s participants.
Unfortunately, in 2015 it was revealed that some of the show’s talents are fake, with producers doing everything they can to make sure things stay interesting. Deceivingly fake.
Before Donald Trump became President of the U.S., he was polishing his acting skills on 'The Apprentice'. The show made him almost as popular as Oprah, and mostly revolves around Trump interviewing candidates for a chance to work for him.
Many of the show’s firing scenes were highly exaggerated, and participants knew ahead of time that they were about to get the axe. Presidentially fake.
Another sad case of fake reality TV is the popular real-estate show, 'Property Brothers'. It follows the lovable Canadian brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, as they broker home sales from start to finish. Unfortunately, much of the show is fake.
The brothers allegedly only renovate a portion of the house which is chosen by the couple. Additionally, many of the exchanges are often shot several times to get the best dramatic effect. Essentially fake.
If you’re looking for a reality show that takes the worst stereotypes about women, from gossiping to backstabbing, and puts them on the forefront, 'The Hills' was made just for you. However, most of these events and dramas are scripted.
Former participant Spencer Pratt revealed that he and Heidi Montag had to re-shoot the scene where they thought she was pregnant fifteen times to make it as dramatic and intense as producers wanted. Intensely fake.
'Survivor' might just be the longest running reality TV show of all time (excluding some like 'Judge Judy'), as it has been running annually for more than two decades. Unfortunately, whether it started in recent years or decades ago, the show has been outed as mostly fake.
Producers have even admitted to using stunt doubles for many of the team’s challenges. Surviving but fake.
'Duck Dynasty' revolves around the Robertson family, which makes most of its vast wealth with creative duck hunting products. The show ran for 130 episodes, and proved that Southerners can be extremely entertaining.
However, most of the show’s drama was exaggerated for ratings, and producers often inserted ‘bleeps’ even when the cast weren’t swearing. The show was actually less vulgar than you'd think… but more fake.
WWE Smackdown / Raw
We thought about including this one here just for good measures. While most boys learn by age twelve that wrestling is fake (both in and out of the ring), a handful of them grow up believing these battles to be true.
It’s hard to imagine that some fans still think that you can get smacked in the head by a chair repeatedly and just show up the next week like everything’s fine. Well, it’s not. Definitely fake.
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Whatever you might think about Kim Kardashian and her family, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that they have managed to make literally billions off their name and likeness by ginning up controversy and getting attention. Their reality show, 'Keeping Up with the Kardashians', has been around since 2007, and it's obviously fake to a very large degree.
It still draws in millions every week though, so apparently, the truth isn’t all that important. Kept up and fake.
In today’s always-connected world, a group like the Amish tend to get quite a unique reputation, and many are obviously fascinated about their lives. And for good reason. 'Breaking Amish' introduced the premise of Amish people trying to break away from their confined lifestyles and moving to New York.
It’s known at this point that the show is actually fake, as these people aren’t really Amish, just acting. Extremely disappointing.
'Southern Charm' is proof that you can make any show successful as long as you put an interesting spin on the classic formula of 'The Real Housewives'. While its premise is interesting, former participant Danni Baird stated in an interview that many of its cast didn’t even live in Charleston.
He also claimed that much of the drama was pre-scripted by producers. So all in all, it’s not so suthers, but oh so fake.
'Hardcore Pawn' revolves around the Gold family, who runs a pawns business in Detroit’s rough 8 Mile. While the show is entertaining and teaches you a thing or two about negotiations and handling people, much of its drama is fake.
Many of the show’s participants later claimed that their incredibly exaggerated fights with the Gold family were completely fake. Entertaining, but fake.
I Am Cait
Caitlyn Jenner rocked the world when she announced her transition into a female, and everyone wanted to follow her story. 'I Am Cait' was the answer to that demand, and followed the lady throughout her challenging gender transition.
Once the first season was over, most of the excitement was gone, so the producers began creating fake scenarios for Cait to react to. Exceedingly fake.
In 2009, 'Jersey Shore' hit the TV channels and became one of the world’s most popular reality shows. While the cast of 'Jersey Shore' are actually friends in real life, most of their drama is apparently made up.
A lawyer whose offices were located just across the street from them reported that many of their walkouts were not only staged, but rehearsed to perfection. Lawyered! And fake...
There’s a lot of merit behind a show about hard-working people finally getting rewarded for all their under-credited hard work. Each episode revolves around a company’s boss going undercover and learning crucial lessons about his employees and business.
Unfortunately, various reports indicate that the show is mostly fake, including the various promises made to employees. Completely devastating… and completely fake.
RuPaul's Drag Race
In 2009, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' showed the world what would happen when you take a bunch of drag queens and put them in a reality show.
Despite its popularity, former contestant Jaremi Carey (Phi Phi O'Hara), claims that the show’s producers often ginned up drama by intentionally getting him emotional and then cutting clips deceptively to make him look bad. Spectacularly fake.
Long Island Medium
Whatever your opinion is on mediums and fortune tellers, you can’t deny that they have a certain appeal. 'Long Island Medium' is a great example of taking that premise to the extreme. Although it does have its fair share of issues, Caputo, the show’s star medium, has been involved in many, many scandals and legal issues over the years.
The star has also been accused of receiving most of her readings from the crew through a hidden earbud. Very medium and totally fake.
Pimp My Ride
Back in 2004, MTV and Xzibit teamed up for a show about breaking down mediocre cars and turning them into pimped out rides. Unfortunately, despite the show’s exciting premise, many of its restorations were fake.
Many of the cars that were “pimped out” never actually got improved the way they were shown, and were simply outfitted with various props that just look good on camera. What a shame!
The Biggest Loser
Let’s face it, most of us should probably spend a little more time exercising and a little less on watching people try to lose weight on 'The Biggest Loser'. But we don’t and that’s why we enjoy it so much.
The show is notorious for putting its overweight participants on soul crushing diets that end up backfiring horribly after the show ends. Many of the show’s “medical professionals” have also been criticized, and are most likely not licensed. Uncertified… and fake!
When E! first launched WAGS back in 2015, it quickly became one of the network's most watched reality shows. The premise behind the show was that you have to have a behind-the-scenes look at the life and drama of being a sports star’s wife.
Unfortunately, most of the conflicts and drama in the show were completely made up. The show’s deceptiveness got to the point where some women in it didn’t even date these athletes in real life. What a fake.
The premise of MTV’s 'Catfish' is certainly interesting. It features hosts Nev and Max as they help people uncover the identities of those they’ve been chatting with online.
You’d think that they get approached by people who suspect they are being catfished, but many claim that the show’s producers actually get approached by people who catfish and want to apply for it. Now that’s just wrong… and fake.
Last Comic Standing
Everyone loves a good standup show, especially one with the premise of 'Last Comic Standing'. The show is centered around finding highly talented comedians and giving them the spotlight. Unfortunately, it was reported that the show’s production ends up picking the winners instead of the judges.
They also deceptively edit good performances to make them look like flops. Why would anyone do that? Insulting and fake.
What Not To Wear
Many dream of being picked up for 'What Not to Wear' and getting $5,000 to achieve a total fashion makeover. Unfortunately, some of the show’s participants claimed that the producers literally forced them to give away all their old clothes to charity.
This was done in order to get tax breaks on their new clothes, which pretty much made them free for the TLC network. Hardcore… but not at all fake.
The Real World
It's ironic that a popular reality show called "The Real World" is actually not real at all. Many of its participants admitted that most of the conversations that happened in the house were actually scripted and pre-planned by the producers./01/Picture1-2.png.pro-cmg.jpg
Everyone gets a rough direction of what they need to do or say, and improvise their way from there. At least that’s something… other than fake.
Professional wrestling always included its fair share of women athletes, as they bring a much needed air of femininity to this mostly male sport.
'Total Bellas' was originally pitched as a reality show about two prominent female wrestlers and their ex boyfriends, John Cena, and Daniel Bryan. We’re not surprised the show was completely fake, considering its source material. Super fake.
Marriage is indeed a very stressful thing, as everything from the huge bills to the pressure of having a perfect event can really pile up on a bride. Not to mention the bonding of two separate lives together.
While 'Bridezillas' manages to capture this reality quite well, many of the show’s participants claimed that production misled them in one way or another. That’s not a nice thing to do to a bride, but anything for ratings, right? So mean… and so fake.
'House Hunters' is one of many popular reality shows that revolve around real-estate. It follows various individuals, couples and families as they hire agents to find the house of their dreams.
Like many of these shows, many aspects of it are completely fake. In truth, many of the show’s participants have already found their house and are living in it before the filming even begins. Bogus and fake.
The number one rule about reality TV shows, is that you never want to anger one of the show’s cast to the point of wanting to destroy the show. When David Hester, host of 'Storage Wars' was fired, he went to the press and claimed much of the show was fake.
In response, the network sued him, and he was recently forced to pay roughly $122,692 in legal costs. Fake show, but very real amounts of cash.
The Bachelor/The Bachelorette
Like many reality TV shows that revolve around finding love, both 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' are mostly scripted. There have been many rumors of producers basically working behind the scenes to create much of the drama on the show.
Everything from casting to the eventual rose ceremony is predetermined, and producers of the show are in control from start to finish. This one would not get a rose from us as it is completely and utterly fake!
Similar to 'WAGS' in its essence, 'Basketball Wives' follows the lives and drama involved in being married to famous basketball players. Unfortunately for the show’s producers, in an astonishing interview, former cast member Matt Barnes claimed that the show is entirely fake.
His claims were backed up by Tanya Young, who was equally unsupportive of the show’s creators. Unsympathetically fake.
The Simple Life
There’s nothing quite like watching rich socialites try to live like the rest of us. This was the premise behind 'The Simple Life', which put Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in situations that forced them to do actual work.
While the show was real in the sense that the girls did work a lot, Hilton admitted that most of their reactions were exaggerated for entertainment value. Exaggerated and fake.
Whitney Port was a famous character from the reality show 'The Hills', and eventually got her own spin-off show in 'The City'. She went to live in New York City and would routinely get into various dramatic scenarios throughout her day.
While the show was essentially real in terms of the people involved, many of its events were either staged or forced by the production. Staged and fake.
South Beach Tow
We thought that nobody would watch a show about towing illegally parked cars, but 'South Beach Tow' proved us wrong. The show’s lead star, Bernice (shown below), is known for using incredibly creative methods for towing cars, and often ends up catching the violator moments later.
The show is obviously fake, but that doesn’t mean it's not extremely fun to watch. Tow away your depiction of reality because this show is anything but real!
MTV is known for having a host of mostly fake reality TV shows, and 'Teen Mom' basically falls under the same category. The show revolves around young girls who have gotten pregnant before age 18 and their journeys through motherhood.
While all the arrests, breakups and other issues shown were real, many of the dramatic conversations were edited to seem a lot harsher than they actually were. Irresponsibly fake.
Lisa Vanderpump was one of the biggest stars of 'The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills', and got her chance for a spin-off with 'Vanderpump Rules'. In the show, she and her staff are followed as they try to manage her restaurant, SUR.
A fan of the show noticed that one of the characters was repeatedly shown with and without her necklace during a scene, which pointed to the fact that it was shot several times and only later pieced together. Busted! And fake.
We’re really very sad to announce that 'The Voice' isn’t quite as authentic as many would want to believe, but don’t take it from us. Rock singer Adam Wiener claimed on Facebook that he was approached by the show, but eventually chose to decline their offer to participate.
He said the show not only chooses their performers, but also picks their songs and music styles. How upsetting! But once again, fake.
The Real Housewives
There was a lot of speculation over the years whether 'The Real Housewives' was scripted or not. The debate around the authenticity of the show came to an end when Teresa Giudice, one of its stars, swore in court under oath that it was fake.
The star claimed that everything from the meetings to the confrontations are all planned in advance by the production. That’s the real fake housewives for ya!
Speaking of reality shows with terrible ideas behind them, how about a show that uses marital disputes for ratings? 'Divorce Court' revolves around married couples that need to come to a resolution around their divorce.
One mother claimed that her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend were hired to act and basically fake a marriage story on the show. High ratings yet highly fake.
Naked And Afraid
Survival reality shows have been the staple of the genre ever since 'Survivor' became a worldwide phenomenon. 'Naked And Afraid' basically takes that premise and runs naked with it, as the show takes participants and makes them live half nude on an island.
The show is extremely produced, and participants receive various amenities from staff that don’t exactly exist on desert islands, such as tampons and various supplements. Naked and fake is more like it.
The Jerry Springer Show
'The Jerry Springer Show' is one of the most outlandish and exaggerated shows on TV. It basically features the worst of humanity, from fathers who happily abandon their children, up to some pretty messed up cases of family abuse. Is it any surprise that the show is completely fake?
At least it’s clear by the audience’s reaction that they’re having lots of fun, and us viewers at home feel good about ourselves. Even if it is fake, it’s feelgood fake.
Just like in 'House Hunters', producers of 'Fixer Upper' weren’t going to risk investing much time and resources only to fail at finding a house for their participants. Most of the show’s houses were already purchased before filming began, but it gets even worse.
Homeowners were reportedly required to pay extra to keep their new furniture, and the production team often skipped renovating various rooms for the sake of cutting down expenses. Now that’s a fixer upper, and a fake one at that.
Back in the day, MTV dominated the reality show market by coming up with various reality shows that involve celebrities and their insanely luxurious lives. 'Cribs' ran for more than a decade, and featured the houses of many popular entertainment figures.
However, a woman named Janette Verla sued MTV after her leased house was promoted as Ja Rule’s fake crib. They may be luxurious, but they’re also very fake.