reality tv

From Married At First Sight to My Kitchen Rules, we asked reality TV producers to confess what really goes on behind the scenes.

For years, reality TV shows have served as the bread and butter for television networks nationwide. 

Perhaps it's the allure of drama that isn't our own, or maybe it's the opportunity to escape our own reality for an hour each day.

Watch: How To Make Great Reality TV. Post continues below.

Video via ABC.

Whether you prefer intense, volatile shows like Married At First Sight and Big Brother, or you enjoy more wholesome programs like MasterChef Australia and The Amazing Race, one this clear: Reality TV isn't going anywhere.

But have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes when the cameras aren't rolling? While former contestants often speak out about manipulated storylines and mistreatment on set, we rarely hear from the perspective of those orchestrating the show.

Reality TV producers are the masterminds behind recruiting dynamic personalities, crafting compelling storylines, and ensuring each episode captivates viewers from start to finish.

This week, Mamamia's podcast, The Quicky, delved deep into the world of reality TV production and asked three anonymous reality TV producers to spill the tea on what it's really like on set, and they certainly didn't hold back.

Here are their biggest revelations.


Listen: From MAFS To MKR: Confessions Of A Reality TV Producer. Post continues below.

They have stories they'll never stop talking about with their fellow producer friends.

Like the time a manager was on a serious power trip.

"We had one guy in charge of some of us who was on such a power trip that he made us sit in a school chair with our hands on our knees waiting for deliveries. That's all we were allowed to do. Despite being hired to be on set assisting the producers and contestants."

Or when confidential documents weren't discarded properly.

"Embarrassing Bodies let their researchers put all the contestant information in an outside bin for the general public to discover. With three seasons of names, addresses, and abstract conditions that varied from penises that curved right round to a woman who defecated from her mouth." 

Some think dealing with celebs is easier than normal people. Others believe the opposite.

Non-celebrities tend to have massive egos.

"They can both be pretty bad but I'd say non-celebrities take the cake. These days people enter reality TV shows with a huge ego. Gone are the innocent days like the early Big Brother seasons when people were really authentic and less self-aware. And when it comes to non-celebrity folk, it takes a certain type of person to willingly put themselves on TV."

But then actual celebrities can be tough to handle.

"I've had a few shocking celebs, and I won't name names, but some would demand that the runners and junior producers wait for him to leave the lunch tent before they could eat. One showed up to a children's charity event absolutely plastered and was caught running his mouth in the green room about it. I've seen more than a few temper tantrums over trailer space, and call times and some were mad that their name wasn't first on the call sheet. Non-celeb contestants — at least in my experience — are always lovely."

There's a reason so many reality TV contestants are unhinged.

After a string of incidents, producers take steps to protect the mental health of their contestants.

"There are psychological tests taken extensively and welfare producers are now employed which definitely didn't happen until the last few years when a lot of mental health incidents and tragedies started happening on shows. Before then, the tests were done to aid in finding unstable characters, and if a certain borderline personality were found, that would encourage producers to pursue them for a suitable and volatile contestant. Pretty dark really."


But that doesn't mean they don't use certain traits to their advantage.

"Look if they're too stable they won't make for interesting TV. At the end of the day, we need to pick characters, big personalities and people that would do anything to win. Of course, we love the nice, wholesome contestants too, but if a reality show was filled with nice people, it would not last long on air," 

It's true. Producers do have control over the storyline.

Producers will do whatever it takes to make good TV.

"Short answer: Yes, producers influence storylines. At the end of the day, producers are tasked with making a TV show with so many episodes, so it has to be interesting."

But they don't make things up out of thin air.

"Creating storylines is a strong word. I'd say more encouraged. We'd pick up on things because our in-ear monitors pick up absolutely everything being said by anyone with a microphone. So, we'd hear little tidbits and put them in our back pockets to use when we needed to. In my experience, producers didn't need to create the drama, if we lied we could be called out. But we definitely used things to our advantage."

Despite having seen it all, there are still some behaviours that shock them.

Dealing with divas is all part of the job.

"One contestant behaved like an absolute child. They refused to get out of bed and participate in some promotional photoshoots they were contractually obligated to do."

And sadly, not everyone knows how to treat people with respect.

"One judge from a reality cooking show, not pointing fingers but they travel around the country eating food, was so awful to every single person around him. I've never understood how one judge could be so welcoming and kind, while the other, so awful."

Feature Image: Nine.