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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Reality TV Shows EXPOSED as Fake

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- [Narrator] Reality TV shows can be really addictive.

After all, they're specifically designed to grab

our attention and keep us coming back for more.

The format first exploded in the '90s and early 2000s

and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down since.

But just how much artistic license have producers taken

with the term reality?

Let's find out!

Number 10, Keeping up with the Kardashians.

When the series began in 2007, no one quite expected

that it would turn the likes of Kim Kardashian

and Kylie Jenner into global superstars,

famous simply for being on television.

The Kardashian children essentially grew up on camera,

with every detail of their family life exploited

for publicity and ratings.

But just how far does the show truly mirror

the titular family's daily life?

For one thing, the house that the show is filmed in

is not even Kris Jenner's real house!

According to a 2017 article by The Cut,

viewers have noticed more than enough inconsistencies

and slip-ups over the years

to believe that the show isn't at least partly scripted.

One notable instance is in season six,

when Kris Humphries proposed to Kim.

Since that time Kim has gone on to marry,

and have children with Kanye West,

and in his divorce proceedings Humphries had no qualms

about dishing the dirt on Kim's TV show.

When filming the proposal episode,

he said Kim was completely surprised and embarrassed.

Instead of sticking with a less than perfect moment,

Kim reportedly asked the producers

if she could enter the room again and have a do-over,

so that they could capture the exact reaction she wanted.

Interestingly, Humphries claim was later confirmed

to be true by the show's producer Russell Jay.

In the same document, Jay goes on to mention

the other scenes were also scripted, edited or reshot

in order to portray Kris Humphries as a bad guy.

Number nine America's Got Talent.

Starting out in the UK,

the Got Talent show format has generated spin-offs

in over 58 countries.

But, the live auditions aren't really that unscripted.

Take one example from Britain's Got Talent,

posted on a Reddit AMA thread in 2016.

Here, the user explains that any musical acts

which seem too professional are purposefully avoided,

in the fear that they might land a record deal

and drop out before the end of the show,

throwing the schedule into chaos.

The same post also details the experience

of the user's cousin, who was rejected by judges

simply because they didn't have the right image.

Obviously appearances are more important

than actual talent when filming this show.

Things don't get much better when we head over

to America's Got Talent, either.

A YouTube video by CaptainDisillusion

debunked the live audition of Will Tsai, a 2017 contestant

who performed a dazzling coin matrix illusion.

It seems likely that clever editing may have been at work

in his live audition because when you slow down

the framerate on the audition video,

you can see that one of Tsai's coins doesn't move

along with the others when his prop table shakes.

It's not difficult to imagine producers of the show

making this post-production fix in order to boost ratings.

After all, he has his own YouTube channel

dedicated to showing off his magic tricks

which are clearly edited in post-production.

Number eight, The Bachelor.

Everybody's looking for love,

and that's precisely what makes dating shows

like the Bachelor so popular.

First airing in 2002, it remains one of the highest rated

shows of its genre to this day,

as a single man looks for his soulmate

from a group of 25 contestants.

Along the way, there are tasks and eliminations

for any woman who doesn't make the cut.

The series ends with the bachelor proposing marriage

to his chosen contestant.

But this is where the questions begin.

Many viewers have noticed that the majority of couples

who end up together on the show either get divorced,

or never walk down the aisle in the first place.

For a TV show that is claiming to unite soulmates,

it seems a little odd.

It's also alleged that showrunners won't allow

any contestants who are fan-favorites to be eliminated,

in efforts to keep viewer numbers high.

But when asked about his show in 2012,

creator Mike Fleiss admitted that some of it is indeed fake,

commenting that most reality TV shows are fake.

More recently, a 2018 book lifted the lid on the show,

including what is known as frankenbaiting,

or creating a sound bite which has been edited

to have a new meaning.

Number seven, Pawn Stars.

Pawn Stars has enjoyed huge success

since it first aired in 2009.

The show follows the fortunes

of a family-owned pawn business in Las Vegas

and the customers who visit their shop to make a deal.

But just how real is this pawn shop?

Well, to give credit where it is due, the shop does exist.

However, due to the popularity of the show,

it's become more of a novelty tourist attraction

than a functioning business.

Visiting the shop is akin to being on a TV set

since the location is overrun with camera wielding fans

and the shop is filled with the shows merchandise.

What's more, the stars of the show won't even be seen

working the counter outside of their filming hours.

There are more than 50 other staff who are employed

to run the business day-to-day.

In fact, when it comes to cutting deals with customers

on the show, the prices are all pre-arranged

before filming even begins.

This is because customers have to sign a release form

so that the showrunners can legally use their image

and voice on the show.

During this time, any item that the consumer wants to

put forward for sale will have been extensively vetted too.

It makes sense, the show only wants to film

the most interesting and expensive items,

and there isn't much incentive to waste time on the rest.

Number six, American Pickers.

On this show, viewers can live vicariously

through Wolfe and Fritz as they hunt for hidden treasures

in the unlikeliest of places, from abandoned warehouses

to junkyards in the middle of nowhere.

However, the show's authenticity has been questioned,

even down to the credentials of its presenters.

Apparently Frank Fritz had no history

of working as a picker prior to 2002.

Despite his claim that he had a lifelong passion

for collecting, he worked as a fire safety inspector

for 25 years.

After quitting to set up his own business, Frank's Finds,

he met and joined forces with Wolfe

who convinced him to start the show.

The fakery doesn't only extend to the pickers, either.

There have also been allegations that the producers plant

interesting items for Wolfe and Frank to find,

and this is not the only show of its type

to employ such a tactic.

According to a Reddit thread, showrunners on UK TV show

Cash in the Attic have been known to retrieve fake items

from their own van,

if a search of the contestant's house proves fruitless.

It makes sense really: not everyone is lucky enough

to have a priceless antique buried in their attic.

Number five, The Apprentice.

Before Donald Trump became the President,

he was just a businessman with a reality TV show of his own.

The Apprentice gave up to 18 contestants the chance to win

a $250,000 starting contract

to run one of Trump's companies.

But though the show seemed to be offering

an impressive grand prize, all was not as it seemed.

After winning the contest, contestants were supposed

to be named Vice-Presidents of one of Trump's companies.

As it turned out, the role actually involved

being a glorified spokesperson for the Trump Organization.

Not only that, but the evictions aren't even real.

The contestants would hop into a cab with their suitcases,

only to be transported to a hotel which they shared

with the other fired candidates

until the six-week film schedule was complete.

Of course, this was done to conceal

who was still in the running to the outside world.

It's also highly likely producers manipulate contestants

for desired emotional responses.

A contestant from the British version

revealed how producers held up signs with messages

during parts of the show to incite arguments

between fellow contestants.

Number four, The Hills.

This show followed Lauren Conrad and her friends

as young adults attempting to forge their own careers,

with Lauren entering the fashion industry.

Alleged to be scripted to the extreme,

the show had no small supply of drama,

gossip and backstabbing.

One of the show's stars, Spencer Pratt,

revealed that he and Heidi Montag were told by producers

to film a scene in which they thought Heidi was pregnant

no less than 15 times, to get the desired reaction.

The show's creators Adam DiVello, Tony DiSanto

and Sean Travis even did a tell-all interview

with Seventeen magazine in 2016 in which they revealed

which parts of the show were fake.

This included some of the casting, most notably Whitney,

Lauren's fellow intern at Teen Vogue, and Audrina,

who went on to become one of Lauren's closest friends

before another drama-fuelled bust up.

Audrina was a model who producers approached

when they discovered she lived in the same apartment complex

as Lauren, but Whitney Port was discovered

via a casting call.

That's right, the Teen Vogue intern role

was specifically written into the show

so that Lauren would have a friend at work.

The creators also admitted that reshooting did take place,

so that every part of a storyline

could be recorded on camera.

If stuff happens off camera, or stuff happens on weekends

we would go back and get it on camera, DiVello said.

Number three, Jersey Shore.

Jersey Shore first hit screens in 2009, the original entry

in a format which has now been extended abroad.

Although in real life, the stars of the show are friends,

it doesn't necessarily mean

that its free from accusations of fakery.

In fact, most of the regular cast

aren't even from New Jersey,

with the exception of Cortese and Sammi Giancola.

The now-famous Shore house isn't a rental property, either.

Even the nickname Snooki is fake.

Snooki made it up just for the MTV application form

and had never gone by the nickname in real life

prior to the show.

Furthermore, according to several extras

and locals who spoke to media outlets about the casts' trip

to Italy, much of what happens on the show

is planned in advance.

Even an attorney whose studio is across the street

from the Jersey Shore digs said he's seen rehearsals

of their walkabouts and that they frequently reshoot scenes

from different angles, repeating dialogue

and rehearsing facial expressions.

Not only that, their seemingly spontaneous nights out

weren't all they were made out to be.

For instance, the fight between Pauly D and Vinny

just so happened to occur

right under a well-lit streetlight,

and prior to their spontaneous tussle,

bodyguards had cornered off the area to keep drunk fans

and paparazzi at bay.

Castmates were even required to give an hour's notice

anytime they wanted to leave the house,

which Snooki likened to being in jail.

Number two, Storage Wars.

This whole show works because we're excited

to find out if the lockers will reveal a treasure trove

or a mountain of junk.

It's a gamble that might just pay off,

and in each episode there's no knowing

whether you'll witness someone make their fortune.

But, according to an article by The Hollywood Reporter,

Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against the show,

alleging not only that the show was scripted,

but that the storage lockers were salted

with valuable items by producers.

So, if the producers needed good items at short notice,

they would turn to the cast to supply them,

all in an effort to make the show more entertaining.

Of course the items would later be returned

to their rightful owner, but bidding on something

you already own is more than a little strange!

Hester later settled the lawsuit out of court

and returned to the show.

Interestingly, the lawsuit had been based on Storage Wars

being essentially a game show,

with elements of luck and skill required.

Number one, Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.

With Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen

among his repertoire,

Gordon Ramsay is one of the staples of reality TV.

He's well known for berating contestants

and brutally telling them how it is.

But is this always the case?

In 2007, an article by the Guardian detailed allegations

that Ramsay faked sequences to make a restaurant

in Manhattan look worse than it really was.

The lawsuit was brought by Martin Hyde,

the former manager of the restaurant,

who was sacked on camera after Ramsay falsely blamed him

for all of the eatery's failings.

Ramsay claimed to have found rotten hamburger meat

and rat droppings in the restaurant's kitchen,

which Hyde claimed were fabricated lies.

In fact, he even claimed they brought in an unstable chair

created by Ramsay's staff to give the impression

that the furniture was defective,

and paid for extras to react to the food.

Indeed, in scenes which showed Hyde supposedly preoccupied

with his mobile phone, the manager was actually

booking shows for his other business, a theater.

The lawsuit was eventually thrown out of court,

with Hyde having to face the repercussions

of Ramsay's wrath ever since.

Even so, controversy in Gordon's kitchen

goes all the way back to 2005, when he was accused

by a UK newspaper of falsifying a restaurant's performance

on Kitchen Nightmares.

Ramsay later won the case, plus a further libel case

against the newspaper, but this likely isn't the last

controversy we'll hear about this show.

Were you shocked by any of these revelations?

And can you think of other examples of fakery in reality TV?

Let me know in the comments section down below,

and thanks for watching!

(whimsical music)

The Description of Reality TV Shows EXPOSED as Fake