17 Secrets And Stories About Reality Shows From People Who Worked On Them And Lived To Tell The Tale
Let's get real.
We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community with insider knowledge of reality TV to share their juiciest reality show secrets. Here are the responses that might have you looking at your favorite shows a little differently:
Disclaimer: Obviously, we can't 100% confirm these stories, but these people are supposedly speaking from their own experiences on reality shows, know someone who's been on reality shows, or simply has insider knowledge.
1. "I auditioned for and got picked to be on Rock of Love. I ultimately declined for a variety of reasons, but not before they had sent the contract to me for review. There was a clause in the contract that explicitly stated they had no liability if Brett Michaels gave you an STI."
2. "I was a barback/bouncer at a bar that the cast of Floribama Shore used to frequent in Panama City. One night the cast was there and Kortni’s ex-boyfriend showed up, started a fight, and proceeded to get kicked out. Later, while we were talking to Kortni about everything that happened, she told us that someone on the production team had gotten friendly with Logan and would text him where they were gonna be just to stir up drama for the show. She also told us the crew snuck him into the house they were staying in without her knowledge so they could film a shot of him standing over her while she slept to wake her up to scare her."
3. "In Pawn Stars, everything is set up in advance. The store and the seller have already decided on a price or if they won't buy it. Knowing this fact ruined the show for me, to be honest."
4. "A friend of a friend was the editor of the first season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Basically, because of him, the entire show was a success. Practically every scene had to be reshot multiple times because the family’s reactions weren't what E! wanted."
5. "I was an undercover haircut on Tabatha Takes Over. The salon and stylists totally know that Tabitha is about to come in and dress them down. Why else would there be cameras around filming random haircuts?"
6. "My aunt’s house was for sale and they used it as one of the options on House Hunters. The couple then chose her house and they filmed their kids playing in it, but they didn’t actually buy her house! It was all fake and those were my cousin’s toys that they showed their kids playing with."
7. "I was a contestant on three different episodes of the UK version of Wipeout (called Total Wipeout here in the UK). The obstacles are not as padded as they look. You slam into them hard and it hurts. At least one person on every episode I participated in was retired from the episode due to injury. I myself have photos of some pretty epic bruises! In the final round of one of the episodes I was on, they had to rescue a contestant because the waterfall-type obstacle she was climbing was basically waterboarding her."
8. "On The Bachelor, when they were filming in the classic 'Bachelor Mansion' pre-pandemic, that’s actually someone’s house that they pay to be in for a month. They aren’t allowed in a majority of the house, so that 'mansion' really feels like you’re living in a small house with 30 other people."
9. "I was part of an entourage in Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta. My friend actually loved the first dress she tried on, which she picked herself. But it was edited so that Lori came in to save the day with the perfect dress after a day of trying on duds."
10. "This was MANY years ago, but a friend of ours had a job on Wheel of Fortune. He had to lie underneath the huge wheel the contestants spin. The producers would radio him and tell him which $$$/prize to stop on and he’d grab the handles underneath and stop it where they wanted it to stop."
11. "In the early seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, some of the queens received a checkout notice from the hotel the morning of filming elimination. They would then go film, get put in the bottom two, and be eliminated."
12. "Back when American Idol first started, they really wanted people to believe ALL the auditioners were seen by the TV judges. When I auditioned, we were all lined up in multiple lines to see preliminary judges (there were maybe 10 lines set up with two each), and they very deliberately passed on good singers for the TV audition in favor of gimmicks, like costumed people and people singing out of tune. Instead of giving talented people a chance and taking the opportunity to filter out the wrong people, they just went with what they thought would make good TV with a few really great singers sprinkled in. I remember posting something about it on their website (we didn’t have much social media back then) and it was deleted by their moderator."
13. "The events on House Hunters never happen in the same day. My family has friends that were on it and they re-wore the same clothes over a few days in order to film the different houses."
14. "My uncle appeared on an episode of My Lottery Dream Home. In the episode, he was 'searching' for a new beach house to buy with his lotto winnings (he did actually win the lottery). In reality, he had purchased his beach house nearly two years before, and they showed him his own home as one of the options, which he naturally chose in the end. Our family had even vacationed at the house before the episode was filmed! They also did a 'three months later' follow-up segment that was in fact filmed the day after the house hunting shoot."
15. "I went on TLC’s Curvy Brides' Boutique to pick out a wedding dress. The scene at the beginning of every show where the bride is being driven to the boutique is staged. You get into a fake taxi once you get to the boutique yourself and park. They then drive you around for an hour asking you loaded questions. I also had three different ‘storylines’ to film and they picked the best one to go onto the show."
16. "I auditioned for a ton of the TRL Beach House shows (yeah, I’m an old millennial). The summer beach house stuff was all way more produced and significantly smaller than they let on. They’d block off a small section of beach and pack this tiny square with those of us who answered the cattle call. You got placed based on how good looking you were (not surprising), and had to stay put during filming no matter how hot the weather got. It wasn’t fun at all. We had to supply everything from water to beach towels, and we couldn't hear anything being said because the mics weren’t hooked up to any speakers. So any reaction was from the audience because some interns or staff were literally off-camera telling us how to react."
17. And, "For hometown dates on The Bachelor if the contestant doesn’t have a nice house, they’ll film it at a family member or friend’s home and claim it’s theirs. The producers have even rented homes to use for certain contestants!"
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.