Proof Restaurant Stakeout uses actors to play servers

There isn’t really a need to prove that Food Network’s awful reality series Restaurant Stakeout is a fraud: it oozes inauthenticity in every frame, and people featured on the show have described how fake it is.

But here is hard evidence of its fakeness: a casting notice “seeking male or female to play waiter at BBQ restaurant.” The project name doesn’t even attempt to conceal what it’s for: “Restaurant Stakeout (NJ).”

Casting producers want a man or woman 25 to 35 of any ethnicity “to play a waiter or waitress at a restaurant in Somerville, NJ. Commitment will be one to three days of shooting, $120/day.” There is also “$60/day (to be used on restaurant meal),” though it’s not clear if that’s in addition to the $120 compensation.

Actor and comedian Anthony Devito first noticed this and sent me the full casting e.mail message (below) from Casting Networks’ posting.

I’m heartbroken that this comes from the network of Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson, but even more sad that this is increasingly becoming acceptable behavior.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.