21 Popular Reality Shows You Didn’t Know Were Staged

Reality television often projects the idea that everything happening is natural and part of the plan. While certain competition shows are staged due to their nature, others that people might not know are fake to a certain degree. While some aspects of them might be based on legitimate reactions, plenty have more staged moments than people realize.

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Photo Credit: Logo TV.

RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the most popular reality television shows today due to the incredible talent that the contestants provide. That’s impossible to fake as the makeup and design elements are done legitimately. But, when it comes to the soundbite sections, they’re often taken out of context to create extra drama and storylines for the series.

WWE Total Divas

Photo Credit: E!.

WWE Total Divas focused on the world of professional wrestling and many of the female wrestlers who worked for WWE. It concentrated on their lives both in and out of the ring, and while they did an excellent job at making everything seem real, many aspects of the show were fake. The wrestlers were placed into specific scenarios where drama could be exaggerated to make the show as entertaining as possible.


Photo Credit: WE tv.

Bridezillas ensure brides appear under high-stress levels as they plan their wedding, often becoming emotional and frustrated at specific scenarios. That’s put together to entertain people, but the brides themselves didn’t always realize that was the type of show they were putting on. Several former brides have stated they believed they were taping a completely different show, proving that not everything about this is as accurate as people think.

The Osbournes

Photo Credit: MTV.

The Osbournes was a massive hit with fans and helped spark interest in seeing celebrity families in their natural lives. While people bought into the series’ honesty because of their eccentric personalities, the family has since admitted that many scenes were scripted. MTV placed them in specific situations that weren’t natural to them, which is anything but reality.

Say Yes to the Dress

Photo Credit: TLC.

Choosing the perfect wedding dress is a situation that many people can relate to. The emotions that come with that big decision are often huge, which the series tapped into. But many of the time, the scenes were rehearsed, and the reactions of those on camera were faked to bring extra levels of drama that enhanced the show.

The Voice

Photo Credit: NBC.

People love The Voice because the contestants are genuinely trying to break out into music and make a career for themselves. However, the show often recruits people to be part of it and even casts them beforehand. It has also been claimed that specific songs, including genres, are chosen for the contestants, which takes away from the reality aspect.

Hell’s Kitchen

Photo Credit: Fox.

This popular cooking show is popular due to Gordon Ramsay’s expletives and how he reacts to the decisions made by others. While his responses might be genuine, a lot of the show is staged, and the scenarios they’re placed in can often be done to add drama rather than focus on the culinary skills of the contestants.

MasterChef USA

Photo Credit: Fox.

MasterChef USA is another cooking competition that focuses on contestants’ skills. That’s what ultimately hooks audiences, but their personalities are exaggerated. They must agree to let the show make things up about them to take the drama to the next level, including cutting quotes to create specific narratives that might not have happened.

Dance Moms

Editorial credit: Lifetime.

Few reality shows have produced as much drama as Dance Moms, which is one of the reasons for its popularity. People love seeing the tension and arguments occur, as it is compelling to watch. But that doesn’t mean that everything is realIt’s been confirmed that producers would create scenarios to instigate fallouts, pushing people into that rather than making it genuine.

Jersey Shore

Photo Credit: MTV.

Jersey Shore is one of the most iconic reality shows of all time, and it’s one that was full of drama. While that helped the series succeed significantly and created genuine celebrity names from those involved, many scenarios weren’t real. Whether it was rehearsing situations ahead of time or putting the cast into situations where tensions would rise, this show was faker than most would expect.

Pawn Stars

Photo Credit: History.

Pawn Stars mixes staged moments with reality, and that’s one of the reasons why the series has proven popular. Les, Ashley, and Seth’s responses are real, as they don’t know what will be presented, but everything else about the series is staged.

Storage Wars

Photo Credit: A&E.

Seeing various people bid on items inside a storage unit is surprisingly more entertaining than it sounds, mainly because of the personalities involved. However, former cast member Dave Hester has claimed that the show is staged and that high-value items are placed into the units to enhance the show.

The Only Way is Essex

Photo Credit: ITV2.

This popular British reality television series has become iconic worldwide. The show features many larger-than-life personalities, and the drama surrounding their love lives has provided countless hours of entertainment. But most of it isn’t real. Many former stars of the show have come out and claimed that situations were scripted or that storylines were explicitly created to increase the drama.

Catfish: The TV Show

Photo Credit: MTV.

Catfish: The TV Show has an exciting premise focuses on the evolving dating world and social media’s impact. People pretending to be someone else to create romance is a compelling drama, and seeing the catfish get caught out is the hook. But it has been claimed that it’s the catfish who sign up for the show first, which defeats the entire premise of this one.

Cake Boss

Photo Credit: TLC.

Cake Boss shows excellent detail when creating various cakes and pastries. But there’s added drama in securing commissions, even though they’re already agreed upon beforehand. That’s where the show is staged, as the drama surrounding the baking is all just added in.

Fixer Upper

Photo Credit: HGTV .

The idea that each episode features several homes is only sometimes accurate in this show. That’s because the house has to be purchased to apply for Fixer Upper, guaranteeing the episode will work. That means the other two visited homes mean nothing, with that being done for staging purposes.

Wife Swap

Photo Credit: ABC.

Wife Swap is an exciting concept that perfectly fits reality television, featuring tons of drama. But even though the series proved successful, most of the situations were scripted, intensifying everything in each episode.

Pimp My Ride

Photo Credit: MTV.

Pimp My Ride was a popular series and one that featured some truly impressive vehicles on display. But even though fans want to believe tons of changes were made to the cars in each episode, that wasn’t the case. Some cars barely had any tweaks, despite what the show would claim.

Project Runway

Photo Credit: Bravo.

Project Runway might’ve been a top-rated show over the years, but that doesn’t mean it’s all reality. A former contestant, Jack Mackenroth, stated that the show chooses who will be eliminated ahead of time, showcasing that the series is somewhat staged.

The Hills

Photo Credit: MTV.

The Hills was a popular reality series that gripped audiences. With various personalities and lots of drama, it’s easy to see why the show was a hit. However, many of the scenarios that the cast was involved in were fake or scripted, taking away from the legitimacy of certain moments.

Share Article:

Matt Williams

Writer & Blogger

Join the family!

Sign up for a Newsletter.

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.
Edit Template