Dec. 18, 2012 at 8:59 AM ET
Like all television shows, reality programs require some type of editing. Whether it's cutting a scene a certain way to heighten the drama, or putting a contestant who isn't necessarily at risk of elimination into the bottom three to encourage voting, it's all part of producing a reality show meant to intrigue and entertain viewers.
But this year, it seemed more reality show participants stepped forward to accuse their programs of crossing the line into scripted territory.
'Kourtney and Kim Take New York'
Media coverage became tougher for Kim Kardashian after she filed for divorce just 72 days after marrying NBA star Kris Humphries in 2011, and it spilled into her reality TV venture. After a season two episode of "KKTNY" aired in January this year showing Kim and her mom discussing her troubled marriage during an October 2011 trip to Dubai, his lawyer questioned whether the scene was filmed well after the reality star had already returned to the States. (She filed for divorce Oct. 31, 2011.) The scene in question took place in a car with blacked-out windows.
Photos of Kim and mom Kris Jenner reportedly leaving a Los Angeles sound stage in December in the same outfits they wore on the episode in question seemed to bolster the argument, but the Kardashian matriarch denied the accusations that the scene was taped and added after the trip.
"We shot the entire episode in Dubai," Jenner said in an interview on HLN.
In June, Bobi Jensen told the blog Hooked on Houses that her experience on the popular HGTV program didn't exactly show the reality of her home-buying experience. She said that producers of the show wouldn't consider her until she had purchased a home, tweaked her family's story because it was "boring," and when she couldn't find houses on the market to film at, the show followed her to friends' homes.
HGTV didn't exactly deny that there was a teensy bit of fudging going on. "To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process," Brian Balthazar, HGTV's director of programming and development, told TODAY.com in a statement after the story broke. He also explained that the cameras go back to a potential house after a family has already looked at it because "everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate," but assured that the reactions to the homes are genuine.
'Dancing With the Stars'
Season 13 contestant Hope Solo left the ballroom bash's fans' jaws on the floor when she made accusations against the competition and one of its popular pros when her memoir, "Solo: A story of Hope," was released in August. In the book, she not only accused partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy of abusing her and the show of covering it up, she also suggested that the program was scripted.
"The lack of transparency on the show was frustrating. I started out thinking I was in a competition, but the longer I lasted, the more I realized that it wasn't really a competition -- it was an orchestrated reality show with a preconceived plot line," she wrote. "Maks wasn't my coach or teammate -- he and I were just characters on a television show. But I wasn't sticking to the script."
She didn't stop there. The section about her experience on "DWTS" also claimed "that there was some secret memo going around that said who would be ousted each week."
ABC declined to comment on that story, but a show insider told us, "There was no memo stating who was going home -- simple as that. There's never been anything like that. No one knows who's going home before they even perform."
TLC's popular show offered "an unprecedented look into a rarely seen world, following four Amish people and one Mennonite" as they leave their communities for the first time and move to New York. But soon after the program debuted in early September, it faced accusations of being fake. A Facebook page called "Breaking Amish The Truth" posted photos of two cast members who had allegedly left their communities in 2011, prior to production on the show, and suggested that another cast member had married and divorced before the show taped.
When the accusations surfaced, TLC said in a statement, "There is a lot of information floating around about the group featured on 'Breaking Amish.' Much of it is not true, but some of it is -- and is addressed in upcoming episodes."
Those episodes turned out to be reunion specials that discussed the accusations: Rebecca does indeed have a baby, Kate has a DUI in Florida, and more revelations.
MTV's "The Hills" was billed as a reality series, but in September, stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt admitted that it wasn't exactly reality. The couple told Us Weekly that they faked their fights for the cameras. "I was hell-bent on being the bad-guy character on the show. I got caught up in it," Pratt told the magazine.
The pair weren't the only ones who claimed the show was fake. During a recent appearance on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," Kristin Cavallari backed up Heidi and Spencer, and told host Andy Cohen that the show was "pretty fake. ... Fake relationships, fake fights," she said. The season 13 "DWTS" contestant also said she was acting on "The Hills."
On Dec. 11, former "Storage Wars" star Dave Hester filed a lawsuit against A&E, accusing the network of wrongfully terminating him and rigging the show by planting items in storage units.
"A&E has committed a fraud on the public and its television audience in violation of the Communications Act of 1934, which makes it illegal for broadcasters to rig a contest of intellectual skill with the intent to deceive the viewing public," his lawsuit alleges. Hester also claims that the show's interviews are scripted, that scenes are staged and that cameras have filmed even when there were no real auctions happening.
A network spokesperson said A&E doesn't comment on ongoing lawsuits.
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