Are Reality Shows Fake?
Are Reality Shows Fake?
This question gets posed a lot especially when there’s a twist in the rules that leads to a polarizing character staying another week or when something happens that leads to a lot of drama. One of the most frequent shows that have this is Amazing Race which often has a save that is announced at the end, only after the teams arrive. While the reality competition shows aren’t “fixed”, it would be naive to believe that the there is no shenanigans to the saves.
The truth is the shows’ production team want to have good ratings for their show. By having a polarizing character like Tony from Survivor
or Rachel from Big Brother
, the audience will tune in because they want to see the seasons bad guys get their comeuppance. When one of the main people leave the show, it’s almost a guarantee that the ratings will fall the next week or so. The production team has some ability to create the tension with the video editing post shoot, but they also have the ability to keep it entertaining during the competition. This has been admitted by any of the teams, but it has been greatly speculated by many people who follow the reality shows.
Other shows like Mystery Diners
or other reality business shows have shows that are based on fact, but have elements “reenacted for dramatic purposes”. These shows lose a lot of their draw when you realize the show’s tension and fights are totally staged for the camera, but that does help explain how they are always able to get the good scenes on TV. It also explains why the people caught stealing or committing other crimes would agree to appear on the show. If you have questions, one of the best things to do is to TiVo the show and watch the credits so that you can pause each slide.
So while there are some elements of the show that are stage, I do not consider this to be “fake” in the strict sense of the word. The shows are based on real world people who are dealing with issues. Additionally, if this really bothers you that the shows have some elements designed to draw the audience, remember that this is something the show does to keep people interested. It may be a drawback of the show knowing there are some external factors, but remember without the people in charge who keep the audience into the show, it’s likely the show wouldn’t still be on the air. The twists are now such a part of the genre that’s it’s expected and if the production team ever just played it straight, it would feel incredibly boring for both the contestants and the viewers at home.
This is something important to remember when you are applying for the show. If you are cast, try to make yourself someone that will make good TV. Whether you are either a fan favorite or a heel, you want to be the person that people are talking about.