If you take a ‘reality TV show’ at face value, you need to rethink some things. However, while it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to deduce that these shows are part-dramatised, it’s slightly more troublesome distinguishing exactly what is fact and what is not.

The issue discussed in great detail on Reddit this week for responses from people who have actually featured on the shows, and several came forward with some fascinating testimonies.

While revealing that Judge Judy cases are decided before the cameras even start rolling is hardly surprising, some of the former contestants have interesting theories and anecdotes about their time on some of the most popular shows in both the USA and UK.

Judge Judy


I was on Judge Judy back in 2010.

Our case was real and hand-picked by the the production team. We had to pull the case from real court in order to go on her show.

The decision of who “wins and loses” is made up before you even walk into the courtroom set. The audience is all actors paid to sit there. Judge was wearing jeans and slippers under her robe. Also, she’s incredibly quiet in real life. As in, I had to really strain to hear her.

All in all, I got a paid three day vacation to LA and stayed in a decent hotel. I also got paid to be on the show AND when I “lost” they show paid the other guy for me.

Pretty amazing, really.


Was Judge Judy nicer than she is on the show?


No, not really.

Because of the nature of the show, she was intentionally meaner to me as I was the “loser.” I also ran with it and bantered with her/argued in true CourtroomTV fashion, so take that as you will.

You don’t really get a chance to talk to her other than in the acting-setting. She only comes into the room after the cameras roll and she leaves before you.


So that’s why people sometimes get an attitude with her even though she makes the decision? The outcome is already decided in advance.


Pretty much. I’m not argumentative at all IRL. But the producer explained to me to “hold my ground” and make sure to play it up.

So, I did just that. Gave her hell and enjoyed every second of it, haha

House Hunters

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I was on an episode House Hunters … it’s reality television, so it’s pretty made up and scripted. They try to make the show like a ‘recreation’ of you buying a home.

In reality, the houses you see you aren’t even considering for purchase, as you have already purchased the house you ‘buy’ at the end of the show. In fact, they only approach you to film the show if you are either in escrow or later, so that they don’t have a bunch of fakers on the program.

They play off your personality, so when you are ‘considering’ the other homes, and even when talking about your own home on camera, you have to say things like “oh I really like the fact that it has a pool”… then the director will say CUT, and he will give you direction to say something like “uhh… I just HATE pools, they are so much maintenance”… essentially they want positive and negative about every little thing, so that the production studios back in NYC can piece together whatever story is most compelling.

You have to remember nothing in Hollywood is real, but HH does a pretty good job of creating the actual experience so that you can compare your lifestyle to others, compare money, etc. Overall was pretty fun. Took about 1.5 weeks to film a 22 minute episode.

Ninja Warrior


I was on American Ninja Warrior. All in all, it’s legit.

The crowd reactions are often from different runs/times, the crowd noise may be doctored here and there, the order of the runs may be changed, and the commentary may be re-dubbed, but that’s all minor TV-stuff that’s expected.

Everyone that worked on the show was incredibly nice. It’s clearly a TV show more than a pure athletic competition, but that doesn’t detract from it in anyway, in my opinion.

10/10, would keep watching.

So, yes, at the beginning the hosts get some TV footage of great reactions from the crowd with no one actually running the course. Then people run the course as normal. I didn’t find it that weird at all, especially knowing how cut-and-paste TV footage is for this sort of thing.

When it starts to get around 3AM, the crowd doesn’t care what’s going on at all. You can start to see the crowd just get tired and lose interest, so they need shots to throw in those spans. That is where it does seem more necessary, although I suppose they could also get more genuine shots at the beginning when the crowd is still energetic.




Throwaway and probably too late for anybody to see this. I was a contestant on Survivor: Pearl Islands. For the most part nothing is really scripted, although obviously it’s cut way out of order for dramatic effect (I learned you can always tell by the pimples that appear and disappear on contestants from scene to scene).

Some people are surprised that we were provided toilet paper and tampons plus a spot to shit and throw away the paper. Which was good because most people had to get up to blast a diarrhea dump at least three times a day from eating rice cooked in stagnant filth water. No matter how much they boiled that water it still tasted earthy and had grains of dirt in it.


If this thread has taught me anything, it’s that reality shows like to edit shit…lol. Do you still watch the show? Is the NDA as hardass as they portray? Was the experience as difficult as you imagined? I have so many questions….!


NDA is tight as hell, I’m probably in violation talking about the tampon stuff hence the throwaway. I do still watch. And the experience was not too difficult and was about what I imagined. There seemed to be two types of people out there, the ones who had no idea what being outdoors was going to be like and then those of us who had done some camping and were used to it somewhat. And just that thrill of knowing “holy shit i’m on survivor” seems enough to sustain a lot of us. Single most underrated challenge has to be getting up the energy to do physical challenges when you haven’t eaten or slept. Doing the challenges felt like being in a hypnotic daze where your body was just willing itself on but your mind was completely gone like in a half dream state. Closest thing I can compare it to is that feeling of taking a tough exam after an all nighter, and the way you CAN function but your brain feels outside of your body?