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HGTV Proves All of Reality TV Is Fake

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HOUSE OF LIES
DailyFeed

We’re all big boys and girls. We’ve come to understand that reality TV shouldn’t be held to the strictest standards of programming integrity. Beyond celebrating the worst elements of American society, we know the genre bears only a passing resemblance to an organic unfolding of events; that the very term can only be applied to its loosest definition.

To quote the brilliant comedian Dana Gould:

“You will never experience less reality than when you’re watching a reality show. You’re watching people, who aren’t actors, put into situations by people who aren’t writers, and they are second guessing how they think you would like to see them behave if this were a real situation, which it’s not. And you are passively observing this; you’re watching an amateur production of nothing. It’s like a photo of a drawing of a hologram.”

The most heated housewife brawls are nudged to their particular, table-flipping, boiling points. And the scripting that goes into competition-based shows can even have the winner determined as early as the casting phase.

At least, that’s what I was told by a former producer who worked on one of the handful of Flavor of Love spin-offs that aired on VH1 (VIA). It wasn’t strides in etiquette and personal growth -- weighed heavily by a thoughtful Mo'Nique from her judge’s perch -- that crowned the queen of Charm School. Contestants’ fates are in the hands of the ratings they’re anticipated to garner.

Or sometimes, it seems, the decision goes over the head of the show itself and straight to the big boss, AKA the network, for another self-serving benefit. Now, I don’t have any inside intel about the fifth season of Celebrity Apprentice but wasn’t it a coincidence that Donald Trump “hired” the way-underperforming Arsenio Hall at the same time NBC (CMCSA) was reportedly making a play for a new talk show hosted by the comic?

I’m just saying.  

The last network we expect to find cooked up scenarios and outcomes is one whose programming revolves around breakfast nooks and bay windows. But, according to a story in The Onion’s AV Club, even the innocuous Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI)-owned HGTV isn’t above faking out its audiences. The extent to which one of its flagship shows, House Hunters, manufactures storylines ranks up there with the best of the worst.

A 2010 exposé revealed that every element about the real estate-driven show can, and has been, staged.

“For quicker turn-around, producers sometimes choose buyers who are already in escrow with one of the three locations shown,” admitted a former producer. “The other two choices that are filmed, are only shown to allow viewers the option of making the choice themselves.”

Now, new testimony is coming from one of the show’s participants, who not only substantiates the story, but one-ups it. After Bobi Jensen and her family had already closed on a property, the show hired them to conduct a make-believe search that didn’t even include homes that were on the market. Instead, they were asked to enlist friends to open their homes for a phony televised showing.

“They were just our two friends’ houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras,” said Jensen.

After being dragged through long hours and multiple takes of faked reactions, loosely scripted deliberations, and the final decision to choose the house for which they’d already made an offer, Jensen and her family were paid $500.

Which doesn’t even come close to the amount we viewers are owed for allowing Fox (NWS) to produce a tenth season of Hell’s Kitchen.
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