"House Hunters:" Subjects say it's fake

The Jensen familyThe Jensen familyThe blog Hooked on Houses is giving fans a dose of reality about the HGTV series "House Hunters." According to an interview with a former participant, Bobi Jensen, much of the popular show, which has been on the air since 1999, is faked.

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The premise of 'House Hunters' is that viewers follow a buyer as they anxiously decide between three different houses. Jensen says that, in fact, one house has already been purchased--the producers wouldn't even finalize her as a subject until after the closing. "When I watch other episodes of the show now I can usually pick out the house they were getting based on hair-dos alone," says Jensen. Houses are sometimes shot months apart. While the two rejected properties may be on the market, in Jensen's case, "They were just our two friends' houses who were nice enough to madly clean for days in preparation for the cameras!"

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A former subject of the spin-off "House Hunters International" confirms that one house on the program has already been bought before filming begins. Ted Prosser, who did his real estate search in the Virgin Islands, said in an interview with a St. John blog: "The show is not really a reality show. You have to already own the house that gets picked at the end of the show. But the other houses in [my] show are actually the other houses we considered buying."

Hooked on Houses originally busted the program for using houses already in escrow in 2010, but now they are providing more dirt about other phony details. Jensen says producers tweaked her storyline to make it more TV-friendly. "The producers said they found our (true) story--that we were getting a bigger house and turning our other one into a rental--boring and overdone." Instead they had Jensen emphasize that their old home was too small, something that she claims makes her "cringe" with embarrassment when she watches the episode.

When confronted with Jensen's allegations, a publicist for 'House Hunters' told Entertainment Weekly in a statement:

"We've learned that the pursuit of the perfect home involves big decisions that usually take place over a prolonged period of time - more time than we can capture in 30 minutes of television…. We're making a television show, so we manage certain production and time constraints, while honoring the home buying process…. Showcasing three homes makes it easier for our audience to "play along" and guess which one the family will select. It's part of the joy of the 'House Hunters' viewing experience. Through the lens of television, we can offer a uniquely satisfying and fun viewing experience that fulfills a universal need to occasionally step into someone else's shoes."

Notice no denial of Jensen's claims. Do you feel cheated that the folks on "'House Hunters" are probably only pretending to wring their hands over details such as closet space and kitchen cabinetry or is this standard on so-called reality shows? Please let us know in the comments below.

This isn't the first reality show to be accused of staging:

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