Another harsh reality in reality TV shows

Published 10 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 9:04 pm,

taxman Another harsh reality in reality TV showsI have never been a huge fan of reality TV, but every now and then I have been known to catch a show such as Renovate My Family or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Especially with the latter show, what I always wonder is how a financially struggling family can pay for the upkeep on their new dream home after it has been built. It seems like the smart thing to do would be to sell the place, put a few bucks under the mattress and buy a place that’s easier to afford and maintain. As it turns out, I was asking the wrong question. What I should have been asking was how the family would be able to handle the tax bill after their new dream home was built.

The producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition have avoided tax implications by leasing the contestants’ properties during the renovations. However, the contestants on Fox’s Renovate My Family were not so lucky, as an Illinois family found out when they discovered that their new dream home represented more than half a million dollars in taxable income.

This problem is hardly confined to home reconstruction shows, however. As Vic wrote in an earlier article here on Screen Rant, Survivor winner Richard Hatch ended up in hot water with the IRS for failing to pay taxes on his $1 million prize. And remember the Oprah show where she gave everyone in the audience a new car? Those happy people weren’t smiling when tax time rolled around.

Even in the reality TV world, the old saying is true: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

Source: CNN


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8 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. I could’ve sworn I touched on this issue in a previous post but I guess I just thought about it but never wrote about it. 😛

    Yeah, that’s a big deal, especially when one considers the income level of the families that are being helped on Extreme Home Makeover. I would think that the studio’s accountants would be able to come up with some creative way to cover that cost. The show is so popular (much adv. dollars) that I think they could put an amount of cash in escrow (for the IRS) that would be enough to offset both the value of the home and the amount of cash being set aside (if that makes any sense) for a net zero total.


  2. What I can’t figure out is why the IRS shows up 50 times for every dollar we manage to make in this world. they say, “Oh look! Something good happened to you! Fork over a big chunk to us so we can waste it on bronze statues of the senator in his new senatorial library in his home town of Podunk. And oh yeah, that money will REALLY help out with the utility bills for the building too…. Hey THANKS!”

    Immoral. Unethical. Just plain mean.


  3. You can’t expect the IRS to fit the bill. People need to be more educated when they enter into something like this. There was somebody in this same situation on the forensic files on Court TV the other Saturday. He doesn’t have to worry about it anymore though.

  4. Usher,

    That’s why I made the suggestion that an amount of cash be set aside that would be enough to cover any taxes due. Having said that, I can understand what Tilly is saying… I’m sure someone out there has calculated how much money is left from a dollar earned once you subtract federal, state, social security, medicare, and sales tax.

    I would estimate that when all is said and done the typical person probably keeps 65 cents of every dollar.

    Which is ridiculous. 😡


  5. Hey Vic,

    .65 to the dollar is more than the nothing the individual had before. Is there a particular television reality series that is culprit or is this a generalized statement. If so hasn’t it always been the case that gift tax is wieghted haevier than any other federal tax.

    Speaking of which what TV shows are fans of this site into?


  6. Actually I was referring to money earned. The folks who win a home makeover actually go into the negative and don’t keep .65/dollar. That’s why I think there should be a cash amount given as well to cover the taxes for these folks.

    I don’t know about others on the site, but I watch Smallville, Enterprise, ER, Survivor, The Apprentice, Lost, 24, and for the first time…. American Idol. 😛

    I’ve also just started watching the repeats of Battlestar Galactica, which, as it turns out, is as good as everyone has been saying it is.

    Oh, and World Poker Tour. 😀


  7. I try not to watch too much television, but I do get hooked on several of my favorites. I really like some of the reality shows: Survivor, Apprentice (I hope Kendra wins, she has consistently come up with good and successful ideas notwithstanding the disrespectful, unccoperative, egocentric idiot Craig she has had to team with), Nanny 911 and its sister show are a real hoot.. clueless parents abound (I know I would never have gotten away with the behavior that modern kids get away with. In my day, no one called CPS when they got spanked or switched), I love the Amazing Race. ((With Rob and Amber on it really gives it some watching enjoyment. What I really like about Rob and Amber, Meredith and Gretchen, Uchenna and Joyce are that they are all very gentle, supportive, and loving of each other. Ron (what a self centered, egotistical jet jock – typical) and Kelly are a disaster and if she’s even considered a future with him, boy is she making a mistake.)) Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Extreme Makeover Body Edition are getting old, same thing every week. Looking forward to the Martha Stewart edition of Apprentice. ER was also a fav, but that too is getting old.

  8. Although I don’t think Kendra has a strong enough personality to be a VP at one of Trump’s companies, I think she’ll still probably win it because she has a degree. I really don’t believe that Trump will select a non-degreed person no matter what.

    If he *does* ignore the degree however, I think Tana is the clear choice. 😀