Q: I’d like to know how the producers of "Amazing Race" and "Survivor" keep contestants’ mouths shut? These shows filmed months before and family members and close friends of contestants definitely know that these people went for these shows. What happens, for example, if a contestant from "The Apprentice" who was in the final three tells people who will get [fired next]? —Chris
A: The short answer: They get sued for a lot of money.
Producers try to ensure surprising conclusions for their series by building a financial penalty into the contract that cast members sign. If they reveal anything, they’re liable. For “Survivor,” the fine is $5 million — $4 million more than the prize the sole survivor takes home.
Crew members and others who come into contact with the production also sign confidentiality agreements. For “The Amazing Race,” the fine specified in contracts for the cast and others is $10 million. Creator and executive producer Bertram van Munster told Reality Check magazine last year that “We have actually had people sign confidentiality papers in countries where $10 is a fortune.”
In some cases, producers resort to deception and other tactics to keep results secret. As we’ve previously discussed , “Survivor” and “Amazing Race” losers don’t head home immediately; they’re sent to an undisclosed location to wait out the length of the production, so their early return doesn’t spoil too much. And for the finale of Bravo’s “Project Runway,” producers filmed a fourth runway show at New York’s Fashion Week, even though there were only three finalists. That was necessary because the episode during which designer Austin Scarlett was eliminated had not yet aired by the time Fashion Week rolled around. So Austin presented a decoy collection and pretended as though he was a finalist, even though he had no chance of winning.
Despite producers’ best efforts and the threat of financial ruin, word can still leak out. An online betting site stopped taking wagers on “The Apprentice 2” after receiving a number of bets on two cast members. Though those bets were placed months before the show concluded, they correctly identified Jennifer Massey and Kelly Perdew, the final two. —A.D.
Q: Did Bob Guiney, former Bachelor, wed the girl he chose (Estella) and if he did, are they still together? —Marjie
A: He did not, although he is indeed no longer a bachelor. Guiney married soap-opera star Rebecca Budig (she plays Greenlee on “All My Children” ) last summer at his family home in Michigan.
Apparently the couple met when Budig was hosting the ABC Family Channel rebroadcasts of “The Bachelor” — before Guiney had actually appeared on his own show. Reality TV World reports that Guiney had eyes for Budig even then, but she had a boyfriend, so he went ahead and did his show.
Seems a bit unfair if you’re one of the Bachelorettes who was about to try to seek Guiney’s heart, but hey, at least the “Bachelor” version of the show has brought one couple to the altar, even if it wasn’t the couple that the show intended. —G.F.C.
Busy week for reality premieres
And we thought January-February was prime time for reality show premieres, what with "Apprentice" and "Survivor" and "American Idol" all blasting back onto our screens.
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Turns out March is no slouch after all, with a number of new and returning reality shows premiering during the month -- heck, even during this coming week. Here's a quick list of some of them:
March 1:"The Amazing Race 7" premieres, complete with Rob and Amber from "Survivor" trying for another million. CBS, 9 p.m. ET.
Also March 1:"Nashville Star 3," also known as the singing show where they can really sing, premieres, hosted by country singer LeAnn Rimes. USA, 10 p.m. ET.
March 2:"America's Next Top Model 4" premieres. This time, Tyra Banks has moved her loft of posers from New York to Los Angeles, and there's no plus-sized competitor. UPN, 8 p.m. ET.
March 6:"The Starlet" has its series premiere. Young actresses compete for a talent deal with the WB. Legendary Faye Dunaway sounds a bit ridiculous delivering the show's cheesy exit line: "Don't call us, we'll call you." WB, 8 p.m. ET.
March 7:"The Contender" has its series premiere. Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard serve as hosts/mentors for this new boxing competition, which sadly, is best known for the recent suicide of 23-year-old contestant Najai Turpin . But with renewed interest in boxing sparked by Oscar-winning "Million Dollar Baby," maybe the show can score a knockout anyway. (If NBC can get Hilary Swank to take on the winner, that is.) NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET. —G.F.C.