2012’s most-popular reality TV stories

It’s time for that year-end, lazy-ass story where I look at what was popular on reality blurred over the past year.

While I have some sense of what is popular and what isn’t, this list always surprises me, and this year is no exception. The stories that were read the most times range from ones about Big Brother to Bikini Barbershop: Jersey, Survivor to So You Think You Can Dance. If I were to only play to ratings, I’d be posting about fake documentaries about donkey sex with Survivor contestants all year.

That’s because, donkeys aside, the sad theme this year was fiction in reality TV. While porn usually dominates this list (and would even more if I don’t filter out stories published before 2012), there’s only one post about naked pictures of a reality TV cast member here, and far more that detailed some kind of fakery. It’s evidence, I think, that it does matter how real a reality show is.

Let’s hope 2013 is less fake than 2012, but even more interesting. Here are the top 25 most-popular stories on reality blurred from 2012:

  1. Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout: as fake and staged as it seems
  2. Two contestants gone after Biggest Loser cast walks out, protesting twist
  3. Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites cast’s returnees revealed months ago
  4. Three tribes, three returnees for Survivor 25
  5. 2011-2012’s reality shows, ranked by ratings popularity
  6. South Beach Tow stages scenes, truTV admits after faked scene captured on video
  7. Sex with donkeys in Colombia: two documentaries explore this real thing
  8. Colton Cumbie and Survivor‘s most bigoted move ever
  9. Survivor Philippines confirmed but preview doesn’t name Jonathan Penner, Michael Skupin, Russell Swan
  10. Caramoan, Philippines the location for Survivor 25, 26
  11. Breaking Amish fake? TLC says some evidence is “not true,” but “some of it is”
  12. Stunning, cruel, and effective plan saves Dan, maybe even Big Brother 14
  13. Big Brother producer responds to leak story: “you are WRONG and should be ashamed of yourself”
  14. A show that actually exists: Bikini Barbershop: Jersey, which is more horrifying than it sounds
  15. SYTYCD winner Benji Schwimmer is gay: comes out discussing his Mormon faith
  16. Kourtney Moon has cancer; Survivor injury still not healed
  17. Is Courtney pregnant with Ben’s Bachelor fantasy suite baby? Did she fake a miscarriage?
  18. Real World Portland cast identified, followed
  19. Did Masterchef‘s Christine Ha, who’s blind, become more than “an inspiration,” “a gimmick”?
  20. HGTV’s House Hunters is fake, but buyer details just how staged it is
  21. Diary room audio leaks into Big Brother house: producers’ attempt to save Janelle?
  22. Willie Hantz ejected from Big Brother house
  23. Top Chef Ty-Lor’s naked pictures are online
  24. Survivor contestants say producers gave them fire, food
  25. In defense of quitters: The Biggest Loser mutiny is the greatest thing ever on the show

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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.