The Fakest ‘Reality’ Shows in TV History


It’s tough to turn on the TV without getting a glimpse of a reality show. And it’s not difficult to see why these shows are so popular. In a world of scripted entertainment and fake news, there is a major appeal in watching an authentic show where everything is real.

Unfortunately, there is nothing faker than a reality show, and some of these shows are much worse than others. Just what are the fakest “reality” shows in all of television history? Keep reading to find out!

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

Keeping Up With the Kardashians is probably the most popular reality TV show of all time. And its legions of fans might be heartbroken to discover that this show might also be the fakest one of them all.

How can we tell? Back when Kim Kardashian was getting divorced from Kris Humphries, the show’s producer Russell Jay testified that they had to reshoot at least two scenes involving Humphries. And that basically gives the game away…if you have to reshoot and carefully edit your scenes to create a certain narrative, you’ve stopped becoming a reality show altogether.

Cupcake Wars

Part of what makes Cupcake Wars so entertaining is that contestants are put on the spot in the first round by having to create cupcakes using very unexpected ingredients. The goal of this is to see how well the contestants can think on their feet as they try to MacGyver together something really tasty.

Here’s something that will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, though. Thanks to years of very strong rumors, it’s become an open secret that contestants know about the crazy ingredients ahead of that first round. This would mean that all of their panicking over figuring out what to make is actually a complete lie!

The Jerry Springer Show

It’s almost impossible to think of The Jerry Springer Show without remembering the hypnotic chant of the crowd shouting “Jerry! Jerry!” repeatedly. Of course, the crowd mostly did that when prompted, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg for this fake show.

Storylines were fake and planned in advance, and guests were hand-selected to create certain narratives (often working directly with Springer’s crew). And if those in the audience weren’t rowdy enough to make headlines, producers would do whatever they could to egg them on into a real frenzy.

Cake Boss

Cake Boss was always destined to be a hit. It basically copied the formula Gordon Ramsay made famous with a special twist: this time, the outsized chef is overseeing the creation of cakes that look even better than they taste.

However, the titular boss Buddy Valastro is no Gordon Ramsay. Some of the special events showcased on the program are fake, and Valastro is rarely present in his own shop on days they weren’t filming. Altogether, this news is disappointing enough to make it hard to enjoy the show.

Undercover Boss

Undercover Boss is a show designed to appeal to the little guy. The premise of this show involves bosses going undercover as normal employees to both monitor their workers and learn about ways of improving the business. When the boss is revealed, he usually ends up making promises about improving the business and making workers’ lives better.

Brace yourself: the show is entirely scripted, and bosses typically don’t keep whatever promises they make to employees. Instead of bosses learning to grow as people, the show just rewards them for making fake promises simply to make themselves and their business look better.

Duck Dynasty

Moreso than other reality shows, Duck Dynasty enjoys the reputation of stars who call things the way they see them. This family of Louisiana rednecks acts like they are all about telling the blunt truth, but the production of the show tells a different story altogether.

For example, producers aren’t afraid to interject some artificial drama when they think the actual interactions between family members have gotten too boring. Even weirder, they aren’t afraid to add artificial “bleep” noises to dialogue, making it sound like family members are angrily cursing when they weren’t even cursing in the first place.

Project Runway

Project Runway isn’t quite as fake as some of the other shows on this list. However, it still exaggerates things to such crazy proportions that it’s tough to call it a reality show at all.

Previous contestants have spoken out about how the judges are not very authentic in their judgments. On top of that, the show tries to make every contestant look so extra that they end up seeming more like caricatures than real people.

Ghost Hunters

Unless you’re a believer in the supernatural, this one won’t come as a shock: Ghost Hunters is fake. Moreover, the entire premise of the show helps them get away with faking…well…just about everything!

No ghosts are ever really caught on camera. Instead, evidence of their presence is later dissected by the crew analyzing recordings they have made. So, in addition to the dialogue and events being scripted, the magic of editing can make what would otherwise be a bland recording into spooky evidence of supernatural incursion into our world.

Storage Wars

Part of what makes Storage Wars exciting to watch is the “that could be me” factor. After all, the premise of the show revolves around finding unexpected treasures out of lockers and other storage lots that the stars win via auctions.

However, once David Hester was fired from the show, he spilled all of the depressing tea about how fake it is. Specifically, the dialogue is scripted, the miraculous locker findings are staged, and even some of the auctions themselves are staged. Put it together and there is almost nothing real about this reality show.

Jersey Shore

Starting in 2009, Jersey Shore helped to redefine our idea of what reality television is all about. And we have to admit that it’s quite fun getting caught up in the intoxicating adventures of these loud Jersey personalities when they clash.

Unfortunately, those clashes are planned well in advance along with everything else. Over the years, extras, locals, and even an attorney with an office near the set have said they see the stars rehearse their scenes and reshoot those scenes if necessary. And it’s a lot tougher to get excited in a “reality” show that is just badly scripted programming with really, really bad actors.

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