If you happen to be a sucker for Cinderella rags-to-riches stories (*raises hand), chances are you never miss an episode of “My Lottery Dream Home.” Other reality shows merely showcase the wealth of the Housewives and Kardashians who have spent all their lives in luxury. This popular HGTV series is all about average folks whose lives change literally overnight, thanks to one lucky Powerball ticket, scratch-off lotto card, or other game of chance. Suddenly, families who could barely afford to pay the mortgage on a tiny ranch house are choosing between a place with a huge chef’s kitchen or one with an in-ground pool and wet bar. Of course, part of the show’s appeal also lies in its host, David Bromstad, whose bubbly personality, unique wardrobe, and terrific tattoos make him the perfect person to help the winners find their home sweet mansion.
But as we all know, so-called “reality” shows are anything but. Typically, lots of planning, edits, and guidance from the producers combine to make the finished product look both believable and interesting for a home audience. “My Lottery Dream Home” is no exception. While the people on the show are, in fact, real lottery winners, their house-hunting journey isn’t always what it appears to be.
Finding a dream home isn't as surprising as the show makes it seem
The show almost didn’t get off the ground in the first place. TV executive Mike Krupat, whose company is behind “Dream Home,” told Mediaweek that they struggled to cast the first season; out of nearly 1,000 winners they contacted, only 10 agreed to be on the show. “Lottery winners don’t really need the exposure and they don’t need the money to participate,” he said. Once the show took off, more winners were willing to let themselves be filmed.
Filming just one episode is a 6-hour-a-day grind as cameras and lights are set up and multiple takes are shot. One winner from Washington state told the HeraldNet newspaper that he and his wife had to pretend to be surprised to see the same room over and over again. (Now we’re wondering how many times that Long Island woman had to exclaim, “Oh, DA-vid!”)
Another winner had to do an even bigger acting job. A woman identified as “Jennyd40c863665” told BuzzFeed that her uncle appeared on “My Lottery Dream Home” … two years after he’d already bought a beach house with his prize money. He agreed to tour his own home along with two others before making his “selection.” Jenny revealed, “They also did a ‘three months later’ follow-up segment that was, in fact, filmed the day after the house-hunting shoot.”
Still, most of us would gladly put up with a little fake reality if it meant having a million dollars, a gorgeous place to come home to, and David Bromstad to help us find it.
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