‘Alaskan Bush People,’ ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’ and Other Reality TV Shows Exposed As Scripted
It’s not exactly news that reality TV isn’t always real, with The Hills most famously outing itself as fake in the series finale. But most of the time we just suspect the fakery — that is, until it’s exposed and turns into a media scandal!
Yet another show was reportedly outed this week with reports that Discovery Channel’s Alaskan Bush People aren’t actually “born and raised in the wild,” as they claimed. In fact, they’ve allegedly only been in Alaska for a few years!
Police records show this July, six members of the show’s Brown family were cited for falsifying resident hunting and fishing licenses and actually got them soon after first moving to Alaska just three years ago! Before that, they lived in Texas and Colorado.
It’s ironic this is all happening now, as during last winter’s TV press tour, the new Discovery chief Rich Ross insisted the network would cease airing “fake” programming.
“It’s not whether I’m a fan of it, I don’t think it’s right for Discovery Channel, and think it’s something that has run its course,” Ross said at the time. “They’ve done very well… but I don’t think it’s something that’s right for us.”
That got us thinking about other shows who have been outed as scripted or set up for our TV viewing pleasure. Below, see four other reality shows that were less than real.
Proving the general public is smarter than producers think, former 90210 star Tori Spelling came under fire for her “reality” show True Tori in 2014. The actress was accused of playing up the issues in her marriage for the Lifetime cameras, most notably in the tear-filled therapy sessions. Fans weren’t fully buying the melodrama of it all, and even pointed out the suspicious timing in her husband’s alleged affair, which brought about the show in the first place. The couple insisted it was “all real and honest,” but the jury’s still out.
The Robertson family has endured its fair share of scandal, which has likely overshadowed the original reveal that the A&E series is semi-scripted! Don’t believe it? The family themselves admitted to the fact on TODAY in 2013. Though patriarch Phil maintained they mostly “ad-lib,” his brother Si said producers give them a guideline to follow, plot-wise.
“They come up with ideas and we just get to be ourselves in the situation,” Jase explained.
The black mark on HGTV’s mostly untarnished reputation is the incessant rumor House Hunters is all faked. Fans of the long-running series were up in arms in 2012 when The A.V. Club reported that often the couple or person on the show has already selected their new house, and the other two “options” were just friends’ houses staged for the cameras.
The network rep’s response was vague, ending in the following telling line: “We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process.”
In other words, you can enjoy the real estate porn all you want, but don’t get too invested in if Carol and John opt for the reliable split level or the stately Colonial.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians
We’re not really telling you anything you don’t know, right? But KUWTK had its biggest “OMG FAKE!” moment in December 2011 when Kim Kardashian was photographed wearing the same outfit, hair, and makeup leaving an L.A. studio as in a scene the show claimed was “filmed in Dubai” in October, prior to her filing for divorce from Kris Humphries.