Storage Wars Is Yet Another Reality TV Show That Is Almost Completely Staged

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.

  • Dave Hester Filed A Lawsuit Over The Show's Fakery

    Dave Hester Filed A Lawsuit Over The Show's Fakery
    Photo: A&E

    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.

  • Producers Move Items Around To Get Better Reactions

    Producers Move Items Around To Get Better Reactions
    Photo: A&E

    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.

  • Valuable Items Are Planted

    Valuable Items Are Planted
    Photo: A&E

    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."

  • The Cast Is Told What To Say

    The Cast Is Told What To Say
    Photo: A&E

    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.

  • Cast Members Are Compensated For Planting Items

    Cast Members Are Compensated For Planting Items
    Photo: A&E

    If you need proof that certain items are planted, look no further than the receipts saved by Storage Wars cast members. A&E has seemingly paid "rental fees" for using people's own valuable items in the show. Apparently the practice was most used during the show's early seasons.

  • The Auctions Aren't Real

    The Auctions Aren't Real
    Photo: A&E

    Sometimes, when the camera is supposedly filming an auction, there isn't actually an auction happening at all. It's all a setup designed to trick you into thinking some high-stakes game is taking place, as Dave Hester's lawsuit claimed:

    "While on location filming an auction, Defendants (A&E) also film footage of the cast members and the public bidding when no actual auction is taking place in order to make it appear that any of the cast members is bidding at any given auction, whether or not he or she is actually bidding on the unit."