Fox’s MasterChef faked crowd shot

An image of a crowd lined up to audition for Fox’s MasterChef, the Gordon Ramsay-hosted competition between amateur chefs, shows that groups of people were included repeatedly, making the crowd seem bigger than it actually was.

At the beginning of the fifth episode, which aired Monday night, there’s an overhead shot of a crowd of people waving and screaming as the announcer says, “From the thousands that applied…” But as you can clearly see in the video and image below, that crowd was created in post-production, as multiple people appear twice. The most visible is a woman wearing an orange shirt who’s waving enthusiastically.

MasterChef edit Agence France-Presse journalist Alex Ogle tweeted a link to a screenshot, writing “Lies. It’s all lies.” The image appears to have originated on Reddit in a post titled “Television Sorcery,” and the screen capture includes circles that helpfully identify what has been duplicated.

It’s actually stunning, both in terms of the technical flawlessness of the edit and in terms of the extraordinarily unethical behavior this constitutes.

Of course, this isn’t a news program, it’s (an impossibly boring, dumbed-down import) reality competition. But it’s on a major network, and one would image their standards would not include allowing its producers to lie about something like this, even if it did appear on screen for a tiny amount of time.

Watch for it at the start of the episode, at the 5 second mark; again, the woman wearing orange is most noticeable:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.