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Reality TV Staffers Share The Best Behind The Scenes Secrets Producers Don't Want You To Know

Reality TV Staffers Share The Best Behind The Scenes Secrets Producers Don't Want You To Know
Photo by Michał Lis on Unsplash

I miss the good old days of "reality" tv. Don't you? Do you remember The Real World & MTV's Road Rules? Those were the days, long before everything got convoluted. Then Jerry Springer came along with Survivor and the Kardashians and now it's all just scripted chaos. The fact they use the word "reality" proves they don't know the meaning of it. It's all a show darlings.

Redditor u/flyingbeetlekites was dying to hear from behind-the-scenes peeps who work on tv that sell "realness" by asking...

People who work on reality TV: What happens behind the scenes that you don't want the public knowing?


busting in season 1 GIF by Ash vs Evil DeadGiphy

I love when they show up "unannounced" at someone's house and there's a film crew IN THE HOUSE!


Repeat after Me....

I worked with someone who had been on one and he said they tell you what to say and how to answer. They also mix and match the answers. They basically film you completing a set of sentences in a controlled way and then thread the narrative they're going for. It's utter nonsense end to end.



Was on a kind of "documentary" years ago for British TV. The kind where the person has a problem, the TV people offer therapy, activities and fun things to solve the problem (think supersize vs superskinny) when they did the wrap up interview, the edited the hell out of the segment to get the result they wanted. To the point where they spliced audio together and made it a voice over etc.


Original audio: This didn't solve the problem, but it's a start and I'm really optimistic.



fail seth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy

I've got an old friend who writes for a reality TV show. That's right... scripts the spontaneous stuff for actors to say.


Counting Cars

On Counting Cars. Two scruffy dudes in torn clothes and biker tattoos entering someone's garage unannounced and the homeowner is like, "Hi, how are you guys?"


I've noticed this too. Not to mention, scruffy guys driving alongside you, asking you too pull over so they can get a better look at your car; then asking if they can drive your car. The number of antique cars with completely trusting owners is not realistic. Not to mention they buy many of these cars on the spot. I like the show enough to overlook the obvious staging.


Let's Date?

A German satirist once managed to sneak an actor he hired into one of those reality TV dating shows and while the character he created already was very weird; the TV channel that produced the dating show made him completely over the top.

The whole thing is on youtube with english subtitles even. It's brilliant.



I acted as a lawyer for a reality TV show many years ago. They fired me when I started advising them that they needed informed consent from participants to appear. They said that was impossible, and in any event, half the participants are mentally unwell anyway. I said that just makes me even more certain you need informed consent, and in that case, make sure you have a fully qualified mental health professional sign off of the capability of the prospective participant to give informed consent.

I have not worked for any reality TV shows since.


So much to splice...

f for fake film GIFGiphy

I have a friend who worked as an editor for reality shows a few years back. The thing I remember him telling me is that because they shoot so much footage, he can make any storyline the producers want with it.


For 5 Minutes....

I saw something about those shows where young people live in a house together, go out and get drunk and pick up randoms to take back to the house and have sex with.

Well the production companies have a duty of care to the drunk randoms, so they are taken away from the "celebs" made to sober up enough to provide consent, provide full ID and sign a waiver.

They then meet back up with their match and go have sex on camera and then get put in a cab home.

When I thought they were just drunk it was bad enough, but when you realize they have been sitting around sobering up and still go do this it's just sickening what people will do for 5 minutes of "fame".


Again & Again

basketball wives smh GIF by VH1Giphy

The retakes. Endless retakes. It's tiresome. You think filming has wrapped up but then have to do pickups. The stuff someone messed up on and there can be many.


Not Their Issue

This is a really interesting piece by someone who was in Masterchef but never signed the required NDA, allowing them to be really open about the whole process.

"In the "MasterChef" contract, which a casting director later told me was essentially identical to those of most reality competition shows, they asked me to agree to be subjected to physical and mental distress, to agree to have my medical history used in any way that they wanted and to use it in perpetuity, to agree that my family would likely not be contacted in the case of an emergency.

They asked me to release the show and its employees from liability for any injury to myself from risks both known and unknown. They asked that I release them from liability from the social and economic losses that could result and to please note that the consequences could be substantial and could permanently change the future for me, my family, friends and significant others."



bear grylls yes GIF by NBCGiphy

A friend of my family worked uncredited with Bear Grylls for man vs wild. Because Grylls is at the end of the day an actor (although pretty knowledgeable about what he's talking about) he's required to be insured by his studio. In comes family friend.

Before an episode, family friend (a former british army paratrooper) attends a meeting with Grylls, and his team, who tell him where Grylls wants to go, and what he wants to do while there (EG: The congo, build a raft, survive via fishing, and set up a tree shelter). Family friend is then jetted off to the place in question with his own team, and the group of them mess around in the wilderness, seeing how viable Grylls's plan is.

After a few weeks they jet back, and inform the company about the hazards, validity, and expected cost. This allows the production company to correctly determine any insurance, gear, safety issues, and plan out Grylls's survival trip.

Family friend has some really good stories about being in survival situations, and is always really blasé about things like "oh yeah we picked out a cave to camp in, and a bear tried to eat us lol'.


The Top 100

I was offered top 100 in an early season of a singing show in Australia. I rejected it because the contract they wanted me to sign had a non-compete clause that stated that even if they didn't use me, I wouldn't have been able to release music independently for 2 years and not have been able to release music with a competing label for 5 years. In retaliation they used my footage but heavily edited my voice and used footage of the judges saying "no" instead of "yes". I also wasn't allowed to discuss it publicly for a number of years and am never allowed to use that show's name in conjunction with my career.

I also had a family friend who won a cooking show here in Australia as well. The final was filmed about a month before it aired, after filming the winning contestant, they re-set everything up and then filmed the other person winning. This was so if it got leaked that the intended winner had indeed won, they would switch the footage and air the loser winning instead (giving them the prizes instead). Luckily for me one of their family members told me in secret and I won a couple hundred betting on them to win whilst they were weren't considered a favourite.


We All Know

I live where a show is filmed and have had friends on it twice. The entire premise of each episode was completely fake. Not a single bit of what was happening was real at all. And they told one of my friends--who is an expert on the item he was talking about--what to say because the real description he gave of the item wasn't dramatic enough for the show. So, the description that made it to tv is not even accurate--it's fantasy made up by the producers.

Another friend was on a different reality tv show. In it, he gets caught doing something he isn't supposed to do and is thrown out by security. It's portrayed in the show as if this is all actually happening. Nope. He was hired as an actor to come in and break the rules to get kicked out. Everyone was in on it.



Classic not be, but... A friend of mine has a sister who made it to the X-Factor semifinal 10+ years ago. From around their second or third audition, she signed a contract that specifically said how far she would make it before she got sent home. Everything was planned from her first televised act (there is a pre-audition or two that isn't shown on TV where they select the contestants). The bands and singers that made it to the final also knew beforehand, but my friend's sister told us that she wasn't sure if they were told exactly who was going to win.

Also, if you don't have a tragic nor specifically interesting story to tell when you're interviewed, they'll make up a sob-story themselves. Of course it's been so many years since she was on the show that a lot of things can have changed, but this is how it was back then.


They Own You

i had a friend who was going to go on one of those tv talent shows but wanted me to look at the contract first because i knew quite a bit about the music industry. the contract was horrible. like i've seen some crappy contracts in my time but never any this bad. basically you had to scrub your online history, they own any song ideas/covers you ever posted online, any original songs you come up with now belongs to the record company, the contract you're signed to a 6 album deal if you come in top 5.

And if you try to get out the contract then you'll have to pay them back any money they put into you along with any money they claim your music "lost" which was really just you not meeting projections. you'll also have little control over your artistic voice but will still be blamed if they don't think the songs are good enough, even if you were working with the song writers they force on you.


The Shill


Probably already pretty well known, but on House Hunters, the people looking to buy a house have already bought and signed a contract on their chosen house.

The two other homes they are shown are "shill" properties that might or might not even be for sale. If the house is shown fully furnished, it's a shill. I have friends who were on the show years ago and still laugh about their great acting jobs pretending to be interested in houses that weren't even on the market.


Not so Great

I work in reality and docuseries. Can answer specific questions if you have them. The turnaround time in renovation shows means that the quality is atrocious. Never let your house be used in a renovation/rehab show. You'll end up paying almost full price for crap quality. I would say the only exemption is something like Grand Designs where they document the building process but don't interfere with it at all.


The Bigger they Get

Anyone ever work with "Impractical Jokers"? I love their show, but I don't understand how the people they prank don't recognize them.


I have for some years. As the years have gone on, the boys have gotten bigger and it's gotten to be more of an issue. But they also put a big premium on real interactions.

It may take longer now, but it's all a numbers game of approaching enough people. If they are recognized, they may swap out who is "on the floor" or take a short break until the crowd has changed enough to go back out. I have nothing but nice things to say about how hard they work to make it real.


person holding black remote control

person holding black remote controlPhoto by Erik Mclean on Unsplash


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People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.