Fact or Myth: Do some Reality TV shows Scam their Viewership?

In recent years a popular conspiracy theory has garnered life within the Reality TV fan base.  Thousands of fans have questioned the legitimacy of many so-called “reality TV” shows.  So just how real or unscripted are our favorite reality productions?  Are the real fans being scammed?  Why is this theory snowballing and where does it originate from?

Sharon Kleinfeld  with Monster Castings Reviews 877 217 8055 admits at one time she too has had her doubts with regards to certain shows;  “I’ve had some clients who experienced friendly ‘suggestions’ from producers while on set.  They have never once been given a script but it may have ‘slipped’ as to what sort of role, or what sort of personality the show sees that person portraying.”  

So is it all smoke and little to no fire?  Well, not exactly.  There have been intense speculation, substantiated rumors and even admissions over the last several years.  Here’s a few examples from Monster Casting Reviews

Survivor (Say it Ain’t so)  

Survivor's survival came into question after executive producer Mark Burnett admitted to re shooting scenes using stand-ins to get the best shot. According to ABC News, Burnett said he recreated a river swimming race from season two using body doubles and then spliced into the real race. "The only other thing we've done is when the two tribes approach [host] Jeff [Probst] for a challenge, we may do that twice—because I want a nice wide shot," Burnett insists’ none of his tweaking has affected the outcome of a show.

The Voice

Voice fans may think they have a lot of say in how the competition goes, but the truth is, they probably don't. Thanks to a very questionable contract signed by Voice  participants, as obtained by the New York Daily News, the show's producers reportedly are the one that have the ultimate say in how things progress. So the report claims, the show can "eliminate contestants at any time, even if they are "winning" with the public," and "ignore the show's voting system, which includes sales figures for contestants' songs on iTunes, in the event of problems."

Storage Wars

In December 2012, Dave Hester blew the lid off of Storage Wars when he sued A&E for wrongful termination and committing fraud against its viewing audience. In his lawsuit, he alleged that "nearly every aspect of the series is faked" and accused the crew of "salting," a term for planting valuable objects inside participants' lockers. Hester says he wasn't asked back on the show after he complained about its practices to the network. Hester reached a settlement with A&E the following July for an undisclosed amount that we suspect he is happily storing in his bank account.

Theater Moms

If you assumed all the fighting and drama on Dance Moms was for the cameras, you'd probably be right, at least according to co-star Maddie Ziegler. Speaking to USA Today in 2015, the adorable youngster revealed that some of the show's most dramatic moments aren't exactly, you know, real. "It's hard to do a reality show when there's so much crying and drama," she said. "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 laughing about it." Color us unsurprised.

Breaking Amish

Just two episodes into Breaking Amish, reports circulated that the cast of the show wasn't exactly who they said they were. Among the craziest allegations: two cast members said to be meeting for the first time actually had a child together; and another said to be leaving the faith for the first time had allegedly split about 14 years prior. The scandal eventually grew so big that TLC had to release a statement. "There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on Breaking Amish," the network said. "Much of it is not true, but some of it is—and is addressed in upcoming episodes."

While there may be a little something to the ‘scam’ theory when it comes to certain genre’s within the ‘UN-Scripted’ sector.  Sharon feels these sorts of ‘directives’ are more prevalent in certain type of shows “dating or in house competition shows for example”.  She feels however that they are few and far between.  “It’s one of the first things I ask my clients in our post mortem follow up meeting”, says Kleinfeld.  “95% of my clients have never had anything close to that type of experience while on set”.  

The conspiracy & scam theories regarding Reality TV are always going to be there.  I guess in the end we all have to decide for ourselves.  As Monster Castings Sharon Kleinfeld  has pointed out, I for one like to think that it’s a small minority of shows that are guilty of this practice. 

Zoey Butcher

Monster Castings