Reality TV Hoaxes You Thought You’d Never Fall For


Devious Duck Tales

Duck Dynasty follows the Robertson family of Louisiana and the entertaining and often hilarious ongoings of its duck-call business. Despite the show being a major hit, the ratings fell after the claim was made that the show conveys what producers call “guided reality”. It appears that the producers would often offer the cast a vague outline of what should occur and have the family play it out. It seems that most viewers will happily watch anything the show dishes out, even if it is an outright invented version of reality.

Keeping up with the Reshoots

The Kardashians first rose to fame entertaining the world with their hilarious family antics on the reality TV show Keeping up with the Kardashians. Russell Jay, one of the show’s producers revealed some of the show’s secrets during the ongoings of Kim K’s divorce to Kris Humphries. Jay testified that the show included multiple reshot scenes, some of which were even shot on a sound stage. We’re not exactly surprised.

Not in the Wild

Bear Grylls is known as the ultimate survivor but the star’s camping prowess might not be as impressive as you think. In 2007, the UK’s Channel 4 conducted an investigation into the supposed credibility of Grylls’s show Man vs. Wild. A few concerning claims emerged, one of which stated that Grylls, in fact, stayed in hotels while ‘in the wild’ and that some of his stunts were elaborately set up by a production crew. In light of the scandal, the show issued a statement that said it was newly committed to becoming more ‘transparent’ to viewers.

Not Born Wild

Alaskan Bush People follows the Brown family, a ‘wolf pack’ who supposedly lives ‘wild’ in the Alaskan state, surviving off the land alone. An ex-girlfriend of one of the family’s brothers revealed that as far as she knew the family had lived in small houses in multiple Alaskan towns, not exactly surviving in isolation, now is it?

Britain’s Got Lies

According to one internet user who participated in Britain’s Got Talent, there are several untelevised rounds that contestants go through before making it on TV. This is pretty misleading as the initial ‘auditions’ are supposed to be the contestant’s first interaction with the show. The producers weed out the unwatchable potentials and get rid of anyone who is ‘too professional’ to be considered amateur.

The Great British Fake Off

Viewers love the Great British Bake Off. It’s witty, whimsical and features delicious food! Unfortunately, this show is not all it’s cracked up to be. The judges apparently record two comments for each contestant’s bakes, once positive and one negative. The producers then get to choose which one is aired depending on the angle they want to go for. The contestants also apparently have three months to plan their ‘spontaneous’ cake. We gotta admit we’re disappointed.

Fool’s Island

Love Island is one of the UK’s most popular reality TV shows. It follows a group of gorgeous singles who all head off to a remote island in search of ‘love.’ Not quite. The arguments that are featured on the show are entirely scripted. The scenes that show contestants getting down beneath the sheets are actually fake and have been filmed several times in order to look believable.

Kitchen of Lies

Hell’s Kitchen follows the super aggressive and super entertaining antics of world-class chef Gordan Ramsay judging a bunch of terrified amateur chefs. One previous contestant revealed that the cast are woken up at 2am to film, in order to catch them when they’re more irritable. The producers would also strategically pit contestants against one another, instigating many of the televised arguments. Sounds brutal!

Judging Judy

You’d expect the ongoings of a courtroom show to stay true to reality but apparently, that’s not always the case. Judge Judy does actually televise real cases but the outcome is decided long before anybody steps into the courtroom. The people sitting in the audience are all paid actors and apparently, Judy is wearing pajamas under her robes. Not very judge-like.

Jersey Shore Fakery

We’re sorry to disappoint the Jersey Shore fans out there, but it seems some of the show’s most infamous fights were staged and shot in multiple takes. A nasty brawl between Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi and Angelina Pivarnick aired during the second season. Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to notice that in one shot Jwoww, who is trying to break up the fight, is wearing socks, while in the next she is barefoot. Multiple fights on the show were reportedly planned and discussed before the cameras were rolling.

Bachelor Bust

Over the years the bachelor has become more and more like a soap opera rather than a reality TV show. A previous contestant has revealed that the men and women who appear on the show are selected based on their ability create drama. The producers already have final contestants in mind before the show is shot. Alcohol is almost always present in the hopes that contestants will become belligerent. Safe to say, we’re tuning out.

WWE Woes

We’re sure no one is going to be shocked to discover that ‘professional’ wrestling shows are entirely faked. The wannabe actors all receive scripts before the cameras roll, the wrestling moves are almost all stage acting and the winners of the fights are all decided before time. We’re seriously unsurprised.

American Hoax

American Idol is one of the world’s most popular reality TV shows. The series supposedly offers average joes a chance to appear before a panel of judges and take their shot at hitting the big time. You might think that the rising stars are legitimate but that might not be true. according to one credible source, scouts are actually sent out to search for the most prominent contestants who will go on to make it into the final rounds.


MTV’s self-improvement show ‘Made’ follows a different teen each episode. The featured adolescents receive help from a professional in order to learn a skill they desperately want to obtain or a goal they want to achieve. Alas, according to a previous contestant, the show is scripted and the teen in question already possesses the skill they are trying to learn. What a bummer.

Jerry Springer Fail

The Jerry Springer Show seems to have been around forever. Americans simply can’t get enough of the family brawls, big reveals and trashy storylines. The participants stories are real but they are said to be highly exaggerated. Producers also feed Jerry lines in the hopes of getting the most dramatic response. The audience is also told which reaction to make for the cameras.


Call of the Wildman follows the life of Ernie Brown Jr. (aka The Turtleman).  Brown is a self-taught pest control operator who handles snapping turtles and poisonous snakes on the regular, but things might not appear as they seem on your screen. According to an online investigation, there were several occasions when animals were allegedly killed because of inappropriately staged situations. In one particular episode, Brown wrestles a ‘stray zebra,’ turns out the animal had in fact been sedated beforehand.

House Hoax

Millions of Americans spent their Saturdays watching the mindless and entertaining reality TV show House Hunters. Much to their disappointment, in 2012, a participant of the show came forward to claim that her experience had been largely set up by producers. She claimed that she had already picked the winning home prior to the show. Producers released a statement saying the things can indeed be altered due to the quick production process. Right…

Storage Whoppers

Dave Hester caused a scandal when he sued his employers from Storage Wars for wrongful termination and for supposedly committing fraud against its viewing audience. In the lawsuit, Hester claimed that “nearly every aspect of the series is faked.” He also accused producers of planting valuable objects in the participants’ storage rooms. Hester later reached a settlement with the network for an undisclosed amount.

Theatre Moms

Dance Moms was always packed with juicy drama. Sadly, the tears and tantrums weren’t real. Maddie Ziegler, who starred in the show, revealed, “It’s hard to do a reality show when there’s so much crying and drama. The producers set it up to make us all yell at each other…The moms have a fake fight sometimes. Afterward they just start talking and laugh about it.”

Not Quite Surviving

Everbody loves Survivor. The excitement, the anticipation, the grueling physical challenges and the behind-the-scenes antics all made for great TV. Unfortunately, executive producer, Mark Burnett, has admitted to tweaking the show – just a bit. He claimed that he had reshot scenes in order to get the best angle. He did, however, claim that none of the reshoots affected the outcome of the show.

Cab Uncanny

Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab revolves around unsuspecting streetwalkers hailing a cab and being hastily asked a bunch of trivia questions which, if they answer correctly, they’ll win cash money for. Not quite. Apparently, producers did hand-select the contestants but the game itself, once they make it inside the cab, is very much unstaged.

The Hills Have Lies

The Hills followed the lives of glossed-up pseudo-adults working on their faux careers and apparently, their faux relationships. The former Hills star, Kristin Cavallari admitted that many of the on-screen relationships that took place were just for the cameras. Her relationship with Brody Jenner was just one of them.

The Voice Voters

One of the many things that fans love about The Voice is that they have a large say in the outcome of the show. We’re sorry to crush your delusions, but that’s just not the case. Participants are made to sign a contract that producers have the final say in who continues on the show and who gets booted. The hopeful singers can be kicked off the show, even if they may be winning the public vote.

Mystery (Less) Diners

Mystery Diners was of the Food Networks most popular shows. The series planted hidden cameras as well as mystery diners in restaurants, all in the hopes of busting the employees who were taking advantage of the unknowing owners. Much to viewers’ dismay, it was revealed in a magazine article that many of the supposed employees were in fact hired actors. We knew those tears looked fake.

The Phoniest Loser

The Biggest Loser has received a lot of criticism over the years. Many health professionals feel that dramatic and rapid weight loss is unsustainable and potentially dangerous. More alarmingly, a past contestant made the claim that her trainer fed her Adderall and Yellow Jackets, pills that contain ephedra extract, a federally-banned weight-loss supplement. Other contestants have accused the show of using phony scales and lying about the time period between weigh-ins.

Restaurant Fakeout

Restaurant Fakeout uses hidden camera footage to catch restaurant employees getting up to no good. Alas, a previous contestant of the show claims that “none of it is real.” Another restaurateur who was featured on the show, Lucia Ivezaj, supported the claim, revealing that she was explicitly “told what do, how to act,” and had to “change clothes every couple of hours, pretending it was another day.”

Last Comic Chosen by Producers

Last Comic Standing follows the usual reality TV show formula; comics perform, are judged by a panel of famous celebs and the crowd is slowly whittled down to eventually produce a winner. The celeb panel on this show featured Drew Carrey, Brett Butler, and Anthony Clark, whose judgments were allegedly overridden by producers in order to create the “best reality show cast.” Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Carey said, “They’re presenting this to the public as if it’s a contest, but it’s not.”

Lying Chef America

Iron Chef presents itself as one of the most dramatic, high-intensity cooking shows on television, as with most reality TV, it turns out that most of it is for show. When Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema attended a taping of the show, he left more than a little disappointed. He claimed the taping was mundane, the chefs obviously knew about the ‘secret’ ingredient beforehand and that the meals cooked in the segment were not actually the dishes served to the judges. Since the show takes hours to tape, sous chefs actually recreate the dishes that the judges are filmed eating.

America’s Got Lies

Like many of the contestants on America’s Got Talent, Timothy Michael Poe had a tragic backstory to go along with his singing audition. Poe claimed that he had been severely injured while serving in Afghanistan, suffering a broken back and a brain injury. Sadly, there were reports that Poe had falsified his claim and that few records could support his story. After several unstable appearances on talk shows, it’s clear that Poe should look into receiving the help he clearly needs.

Catfish Caught in a Lie

Anybody who has sat through an episode of Catfish knows that there’s something about the show that seems a little bit… fishy. The series follows people who have supposedly been duped by other internet users into thinking they are someone other than they actually are. In a 2014 interview with Vulture magazine, one of the executive producers claimed that it’s actually the catfish who most often contacts the show. He also revealed that the producers have been in contact with the participants before the show is filmed.

Fake Boyfriend

Farrah Abraham got her start being featured on MTV’s reality series Teen Mom. Since her days on the show, it appears she is willing to do just about anything to make it back into the spotlight. It was alleged that Abraham brought in a fake boyfriend to appear on VH1’s Couples Therapy. The production company behind the series actually filed a lawsuit against Brian Dawe, the fake boyfriend, for misrepresenting his relationship with Abraham.

Not Your Crib

MTV’s cribs was all about revealing how the rich and famous live, not rent. One episode in particular didn’t quite get the whole honesty thing right. The episode that took viewers inside the home of Ja Rule featured the rapper’s rented home, not a house that he actually owned.

Dinner Improbable

Robert Irvine is best known for hosting the Food Network’s Dinner Impossible. The star often boasted about his impressive resume but after a little digging by a local newspaper, it was discovered that the chef had embellished his CV. He claimed to have designed Princess Diana’s cake – he did not. The star was soon fired from the show and promptly replaced.

Pick Up Fail

The Pick Up Artist supposedly followed a guy named Mystery who sought out random, love-lost, nerdy men and taught them how to woo women. The show was more than bit cringey but it appears it was also faked. One of the previous average joes featured on the show was in fact selected from a talent agency.

Breaking Amish

In 2012, TLC first aired the Breaking Amish. The show centered around a group of young Amish folk who ditched their reclusive and conservative village and made for the bright lights of the Big Apple. After a few episodes, rumors started to swirl that the cast was not exactly who they said they were. Two cast members, who were supposedly meeting for the first time, actually had a child together. While another member of the cast had not ditched the Amish faith recently, but actually 14 years before the show first came on the air.

Gullible Ghosts

Not everyone believes in paranormal activity. It’s difficult to buy that Ghost Hunters was based on real paranormal events. And so, it was no surprise when Aaron Goodwin, who starred as the show’s lead ‘ghost hunter,’ revealed that network staged reactions and sound effects featured in the program. He said it was “sickening” that he was part of such a “fraud.” Ouch.

You’re Fired

It’s strange to think the president of the US once hosted a reality TV show. The apprentice has been on the air since 2004. According to multiple reports, most of the show is relatively authentic. The dramatic firing segment is, however, all scripted. Producers need to make sure that the great decision is as shocking as possible, hence a script.