This Is What's Really Scripted About Pawn Stars

It's one of the ironies of modern life that we all play out as though actual reality were being written for us by some cheeky postmodern novelist. Everyone knows reality TV isn't really reality, but we all just accept it for what it is and keep watching it and saying, "Those people are so crazy," as if they really did the things they do naturally. However, we're all well aware that a good amount of scripting goes into these shows that purportedly give us a glimpse into the life and times of a unique person, family, or business in American society. That being said, reality is messy, unorganized, and often painfully boring, so it's no surprise that a bit of scripting is necessary in order for such shows to qualify as entertainment.

Take Pawn Stars, for example. The hit show that enigmatically runs on the History channel may seem totally fake at times, but there's actually more reality to it than you might imagine. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Gold & Silver Pawn shop on Las Vegas Boulevard has become so popular since the show premiered in 2009 that it now receives 4,000-5,000 visitors a day, the vast majority of whom are just tourists looking for a selfie op. But when a seller of "possible TV material" does walk through the doors, the production team gives them a bit of "coaching" to make their 15 seconds of fame more camera-friendly.

Pawn Stars is rewritten — not scripted — reality

While it's true that there is some scripted dialogue on Pawn Stars, the customers doing the pawning are real people, so in a sense you could say that no, the show is not fake. But that's not the whole truth. Executive producer Brent Montgomery told The Odyssey Online that the show uses "scripters" who "feed the characters organic information." Again, it' not scripting, it's just "coaching." They aren't lines, they're just "organic information."

Andy Dehnart, Television Editor at, said in a Q&A for Today that reality show writers go through hundreds of hours of raw footage to find what they can use to forge workable storylines. They choose the characters and the narratives they want seen and told on the shows. "While they're not writing dialogue ... they do produce scripts," he said, but added that some voice-overs on certain competition shows are particularly "suspicious." They're not so much as writing reality, but rewriting it to form what some people call entertainment. So, is Pawn Stars totally fake? The answer is both yes and no. But really, who are we to judge? Who among us can say he or she truly knows what in the world is going on, reality-wise?