Why Being a Good Sport Helps Win a Reality Show

Being Healthy for Reality Shows

During the heat of battle in a reality show, it’s very easy to get consumed with winning and put that above everything else. Under the intense pressure to win, people will often do things that they would not in their day to day life. Two incidents that really stick out are a recent chopped episode in which one contestant in her 80s tried to get in a physical altercation with a large man in his 40s over a grill pan.

Battle of the Grill Pan

From the viewer’s perspective, it was pretty clear that he reached the pan first, and that she was trying to pry it from his hands. She also rudely tried to dart under the third contestant to beat him through it, and utterly refused to let go of the pan. When I was watching this, my immediate thought was to quickly jerk the pan away from her so that she would either let go or hurt her arm. The man would have been within his rights, but would have looked terrible using his physical strength to dominate a grandmother even though she was in the wrong. Another approach that I thought would have been valid is to ask the judges for a ruling as the first person to get an item can use that for the remainder of the round. If he left it in the judges hands to review the tape, then he could have avoided being the bad guy and merely played “rules lawyer”. Once again, he would have been in the right and ended up with the pan; however, the older lady would have used this as an excuse for a poor dish.

Instead of friend took the high road by giving up the pan and placed himself at a severe disadvantage since both of his two competitors has the optimal pan, and he was forced to use a regular one. He ended up winning the entire show and beating her in the final round. I think a lot of that was due to how he would represent the show if he won. While their food quality may have been close, the way each handled the situation was entirely different. If the judges and producers reward people for acting badly and bending the rules, more people will do that. Instead, in this case the more polite contestant one the whole show.

Joe Machi Gets the Last Laugh

The second example of where being a good sport helps comes from Joe Machi and Last Comic Standing. For those unfamiliar with the show, Joe was a huge sensation that did amazing in the elimination challenge. He was the odds on favorite to take the entire show because his standup comedy routine was so strong, but because of this the other contestants kept putting Joe on the block causing him to burn through material. By the time the finals rolled around, Joe had used up a lot of his better jokes to stay in the competition, and ended up delivering his weakest set at the round of 4 which got him eliminated. I’m sure he was saving 10 minutes of material in case he got to the finale, but unfortunately that never happened as he fell one episode short.

While Joe found himself with a constant target on his back, he still remained in good spirits and continued to be nice to all the other contestants on the show. Last night, the CastingMaster team, went to see Last Comic Standing live in which the top 5 comics each did a set, and Joe received *THREE* large ovations when he came on stage with many people standing up to clap for him. The applause for Joe was far, far greater than that of the eventual winner Rod Man, and Joe will be able to translate that goodwill to his comedy career. While he didn’t end up winning season 8 of Last Comic Standing, he did build a loyal base of fans who will pack any venue in which he plays.


If you ever find yourself on a reality show, remember those 15 minutes of fame will last forever.  Most people you meet will only remember you for that, and it will make the first impression nearly everyone will think of you.   For this reason, we recommend being nice and trying to make a good impression of playing fair.  You have little control over the edit process, and if you make a few actions that can be painted in a negative light, it will make it very easy for you to get the villian edit of the season.

Most people don’t want the villian edit.  While it can be useful to get more attention so that more people talk about you, the days of getting a huge bump from any individual show are now mostly behind you.  On the otherhand, being a jerk or cheater can follow you throughout your life whether it’s from a dating perspective or when you apply for a job.  As such, I always recommend trying to be the good sport, nice guy, even if that doesn’t mean you win the show.

The good will you create from the viewers will help you for the rest of your life, which can be far more valuable than the $10,000 prize pool, cake plate or trophy.

Emma Smith

I have been a fan of reality shows for more than a decade. I love all genres of shows, and I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on them.

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