Despite its name, it seems like reality television has become overrun with fakery and deceit. Even the most straightforward shows are staged. Case in point: A&E's immensely popular Storage Wars is not actual reality TV. It's a staged, scripted drama, meant to entertain and garner ratings. It isn't the documentary-style real-world setup the producers claim it is.
The biggest and most startling revelations about Storage Wars behind the scenes come from one of the show's stars, David Hester. He launched a lawsuit against the producers in 2012, and the legal filing is an eye-opening peek into all the ways Storage Wars is fake. A&E and Storage Wars producers insist the show isn't a complete and total deception, but they've used some creative ways of defending their position.
If you think Storage Wars is one of the best reality TV shows ever, these revelations will come as an unpleasant shock. Consider yourself warned.
In September 2012, star Dave Hester was fired from Storage Wars after he claimed he expressed concerns over how the show was handled and the trickery that was being employed. After being let go, he filed a formal lawsuit against the show and aired his grievances on a worldwide platform.
Discovering something delightfully unexpected elicits a natural reaction of wonder, curiosity, and oh-my-God-I-totally-scored. This makes for good television.
However, Dave Hester alleged that the show's producers went into storage lockers before filming and moved items around. This way, cast members would "happen upon" certain things and give the cameras good reactions, and the dramatic tension of "Is this valuable or not?" would be palpable.
Even if you spent all day opening up storage units, it stands to reason that not every one of them is going to contain something valuable – or even remotely interesting.
Rumor has it that Storage War's producers plant valuable items already owned by cast members inside the storage lockers beforehand. That makes it look like they've scored an extraordinary find, when really they've only "stumbled" upon something that was deliberately placed there. Dave Hester calls this process "salting."
Dave Hester also reported that interviews with the cast are scripted. Reacting to all the finds and providing a running commentary are, admittedly, probably not specialties of this cast, so instead of letting them talk off the cuff, producers feed them lines.