My family won a kitchen makeover from the Martha Stewart show. They said they sent us on vacation for the last week of construction but in reality we stayed home and ate in our basement the whole time. They filmed us driving up the street, had us change our shirts and then filmed us "getting back back from the airport." Can't complain though, the kitchen was nice.
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" the show paid the other guy for me. Pretty amazing, really.
I was on What not to Wear. I will say the hours were really long and they don't make you throw everything away. Also Clinton Kelly was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Went above and beyond to help me get clothes that worked, even staying on off camera at the 15th hour of a day to get the right pants. Stacy was nice too. The weirdest things were the up close re-shoots. if you pointed at anything while being filmed, they'd come in afterward and do an up close of your hand doing the motion. We learned towards the end to just stop pointing.
My high school was on a couple of episodes of MTV Made. The girl wanted to become more popular and the prom queen. MTV put on a buttload of different events in her name to encourage us to vote for her.
What MTV didn't show was that the reason she was unpopular wasn't because she was overweight or in the band or anything, though both were true. She was unpopular because she was a giant jerk... Needless to say, she did not win prom queen. To their credit, the show didn't try to re-shoot it to make it look like she won or anything.
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.
I was on Made, an MTV show about turning nerds into pickup artists/charming people/whatever term suits your fancy. Well, technically, rather I was at a party being hosted for the main star of the show. My family and I happened to be vacationing at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, an island in the Bahamas, when we heard about MTV hosting this party, and 15 year old me figured it would be fun to go. As I walked through the entrance to the party I saw a pretty girl on a seat in the corner. I asked her what she was doing and she said something along the lines of, "They asked me to wait here." From being at the party and later watching on TV, I learned that this was the girl that the star of the show got to go on a date with. In other words, MTV spoon fed a date to a guy on a show about how to get a date. I can't blame the girl for agreeing to it, she got to be on TV and all she had to do was go to a nice dinner by the dolphin enclosure with a fat nerd. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but confirmed to me that, yes, reality TV is as fixed as everyone believes.
American Pickers regularly used to take out ads in antique journals for dealers to sell them items to use on shows. The producers do everything, as you'd expect, and just bring the stars on to talk through a scripted ordeal later.
I was on Holmes on Homes in the second season, we had our weird cement BS floor replaced with granite. The crew were very nice and almost everything was 'authentic' with two exceptions - work took about 2 and a half weeks and they presented it as being a two day job, and Holmes didn't do much work on our place - not for lack of ability but simply because he was busy as heck; his crew were great and he chipped in and led where he could. We paid for materials but the labor was free.
I was on an episode of TLC's "Take Home Chef," season 2. For those who haven't seen it, the premise is that a woman (usually, I think it changed a bit in later seasons) is picked up by Chef Curtis Stone while shopping in the grocery store, he comes home with her to flirt a little and cook and get a mini makeover, and then they surprise her significant other with a fancy meal.
Except . . . they don't really pick you up on that day.
I was approached by the casting director in the grocery store, true. But they scheduled me to return a couple of days later when they would "find" me there. That gives you those couple of days to really make sure your kitchen is clean enough to be on TV, haha. I imagine that the rate of refusal if they wanted to come film your house right that second is probably really high. And you have to make sure your SO will be home in time for dinner. They also talk to you about food preferences and interests so they can make the storyline and recipes.
Anyway, they told me to show up with "no makeup, looking like I just came from yoga or something" so I did just that. When the director saw me the first words were, "That's great! No one ever listens to us and they always come dressed to the nines."
Otherwise, it was pretty much exactly as shown, just a VERY (but fun) day. If you wonder if Curtis Stone can cook, he DEFINITELY can. The food was delicious. He didn't really flirt much with me though and I asked one of the crew about it because I'm not ugly or anything (and I was looking pretty cute after hair and makeup had gotten to me) and she told me that because of some funny/snappy comebacks when we first met in the store, he thought I was a little intimidating. So I missed out on some hot Aussie action, damn.
The only scripted moment was when they had me call my husband in the middle of the day. I never, EVER call him for no reason at work so that conversation was super awkward.
Curtis Stone washed the dishes himself in my sink while we ate (on camera, which is also pretty uncomfortable and funny at the same time).
I worked on one of the final "Extreme Home Makeover" episodes, the '7 in 7' episode where we built 7 houses in 7 days in Joplin, MO after a huge tornado wiped out a lot of the city.
The construction crews were all run by local general contractors and their teams donating their own time which was really awesome. None of the hosts did any of the real work, they just did a few things for cameras.
The host was a huge diva. He only came out of his lavish tour-bus for a few minutes at a time to shoot his scenes.
I was on the MTV game show "The Substitute" that was structured as a reality show. The premise was that some students were in class expecting a substitute teacher and SURPRISE the substitute teacher the school hired is actually the host of a game show and the students participate in it. Well as you can imagine this was complete crap. We found out that we had a chance to be on the show about three months before filming and every student over 18 in my high school was allowed to apply for a chance to be on it. Out of the 200 or so people that applied they picked 60, enough for 3 episodes. We had to sign a bunch of contracts and non-disclosure agreements leading up to the actual filming and then when the day came to film we piled onto buses and drove to a sketchy little studio in Manhattan. Filming of the three episodes took about 8 hours total and all in all it was an absolute blast, but everything was completely manufactured. If our reactions weren't good enough then we re-filmed the segment and the director would come out and tell us what to do. The host would introduce one of the questions in five separate ways and they would pick the best one. Also we were told to laugh at every single joke, no matter how cheesy. 10/10 would totally do again but 0% of it is actual reality. I remember the room had elements of like 5 different subjects in it. There were atlases hung on the wall next to biology stuff. Also there were SO MANY LIGHTS. There was no ceiling to the room we were in, just dozens of stage lights.
I am sure it will be disappointing and not at all surprising to hear that Antiques Roadshow is pretty much like it looks.
Our dusty crap was not selected for a special segment, but we did have our items appraised. They film the segments right out in the middle of where everyone is lined up waiting, so you get to see it unfold.
The one thing that they don't show is how much research the appraisers do. I mean, sometimes they'll say on TV "I did some research" or "I consulted with colleagues" but I think most times a viewer might come away with the impression that the appraisers clap eyes on a piece and immediately understand its significance. But generally they have a laptop and some reference books to turn to, as well as memberships on the fine arts auction sites which show prices realized in previous sales.
We took our table to Antiques Roadshow. We were in the last group to get in, so it was late in the day. We got our piece pulled aside and looked over by the "twins". They took me and my mom aside into a cordoned off area where we couldn't see anything. 10 or so minutes later they brought us out.
Apparently the producer decided not to film our segment, which caused a big fight between the appraisers and the producers. The appraisers said our table was very reflective of the city they were filming in, Philadelphia, because it was Quaker made, and that it would have been a great addition to the episode. Producer disagreed and said they "had all the tape they needed".
They still did the whole reveal and explanation and everything with us even though they weren't filming. It was neat bc they told us the whole history of the piece. Our little table was worth $16,000, and would have been worth $50,000 if it still had the original top. The appraisers were very sweet and friendly. My mom still won't watch Antiques Roadshow bc she is mad at the Producer for not picking our table.
I live near Detroit and had an old ozone-generating air purifier called a Homozone for sale on Craigslist that I had picked up at a garage sale because it looked cool. I got a call from a production company in California that asked if I would be interested in appearing on Hard Core Pawn (the shop is only a few miles from my house) for a chance to sell my item. They offered me $50 for my appearance and I could keep any money that was offered by the shop. I decided to accept so they gave me a date and time to show up.
The place was packed because they shoot the whole season in a couple days then fly back to California. First I did a brief interview with the camera outside the shop about what I was bringing and how much I wanted for it. Then I was ushered inside where they took my item and told me to wait until I was called up. After browsing for a while, I was called up by one of the assistants and they brought me to the counter where the main guy' Les Gold, with the pony tail was standing. We talked for a bit and he asked me about where I was from and explained how the bartering would work.
Once the introductions were out of the way, the cameras go on and he put on his TV character. He seemed like a real nice guy when we were talking but a little sleazy when "in character". Mainly the bartering process consisted of him making gay-jokes about the name of my purifier and insinuating that I may be a homosexual. He made me an offer for $5 and I turned it down then went on my way with the $50 from the production company. I don't have cable so I have never watched the show but my parents watch it and have not seen me on it yet.
When I was 10 I was on this show The F Word. My mum put in an application to be "taught" how to cook (this was one of the 10 min things aged within the episode as a side thing) because she was getting lazy and we'd always just buy takeaways.
She got accepted and it was the most fun day.
Gordon Ramsey and his crew and him showed up one morning and spent the day with us. We lived in a tiny flat without a dining table so they bought a beautiful one with them and let us keep it after as well as lots of other goodies. But apart from that, he was such a wonderful guy to us and when Gordon had finished teaching my mum how to cook paella, we all sat down at the table (my mum, him, me, one of my mum's friends) and ate it all together and discussed random s--- for like an hour while the crew packed everything up. I know the episode is on YouTube but I really can't remember the episode although with some time could prob find it. It was 12 years ago though. We had a copy but it was misplaced while moving. I do have a picture of him, my mum and I though. Such a great guy.
I went on a show called "The Year Of Making Love", where we filled in an exam to scientifically match us up with our ideal partner. It studied our likes, dislikes and what we looked for in a partner.
We all had to drive up to Birmingham or some place, and there was 1000 people. 500 women, 500 men. Split into genders, we sat on each side of a hall, when numbers would be called up and a man and woman would walk onto a stage, meet and walk off down the aisle.
My one didn't show up
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.