Reality TV isn’t real at all, y’all, in case you haven’t heard.
More allegations of reality show fakery have surfaced, and this time, it’s HGTV’s real estate program “House Hunters” that’s being accused of being a house of lies. Or at least a few fibs.
The show has been exposed for manipulating scenarios before, notes The A.V. Club, but a new story posted Tuesday on the blog “Hooked On Houses” is grabbing attention after a former participant named Bobi Jensen shared her experience on the show for an episode taped in 2006.
Among the claims made by Jensen: producers attempted to alter her and her husband’s reasons for moving; prior to being selected for the show, they had already found their new house; and the other two houses presented as options were actually their friends’ houses and weren’t even for sale. Jensen also says she loves the show and isn’t upset over the experience.
For its part, the network claims the show’s practices are necessary due to the constraints of producing a show of this nature.
HGTV programming executive Brian Balthazar responded to the accusations against “House Hunters” in a statement:
“We’ve learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a period of time — more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television. However, with a series like House Hunters, HGTV viewers enjoy the vicarious and entertaining experience of choosing a home — from establishing a budget, to touring properties and weighing the pros and cons of each one. We’re making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home-buying process. To maximize production time, we seek out families who are pretty far along in the process. Often everything moves much more quickly than we can anticipate, so we go back and revisit some of the homes that the family has already seen and we capture their authentic reactions. Because the stakes in real estate are so high, these homeowners always find themselves right back in the moment, experiencing the same emotions and reactions to these properties. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to ‘play along’ and guess which one the family will select. It’s part of the joy of the House Hunters viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else’s shoes.”