Former 'Storage Wars' Star Files Lawsuit Claiming Show Is Fake


However, those controversies didn't stop people from watching the shows. "Breaking Amish" remains popular, and "Man vs. Wild" was highly rated until it ended for reasons unrelated to the previous controversies.

"I don't think that, in the immediate, claims of fraud will make a huge difference in viewership," Michael O'Connell, an editor at the Hollywood Reporter told ABC News. "'Storage Wars' gets huge, huge ratings, and this lawsuit probably won't turn people away."

As reality TV in all iterations has become more and more popular, with reality programming on just about every channel, people have adjusted what they expect from such shows.

"We accept that there will be a certain amount of staging – mostly for logistical reasoning – but if you take even more liberties, it can become an ethical issue," O'Connell told ABC.

People also have different expectations for reality shows based on which channel airs them, O'Connell said.

"People gauge the believability of these shows based on what network they are on," O'Connell said. "With A&E, History Channel, Discovery Channel, TLC, people are more inclined to believe you are getting things at face-value, because of the educational premise of those networks that has sort of been ingrained into the psyche."

He compared that to shows like "The Hills" and "Jersey Shore" on MTV. With those shows, people tend to recognize that they are watching largely fabricated drama, for the sake of watching the drama.

It might also be true that people expect a show based on a real profession to be mostly real, because they are watching professionals do their real job. That's unlike shows with stars who appear to be people on the show simply to be TV.

As for whether a reality show might feel pressured to fabricate scenes in order to build or maintain drama, O'Connell notes that is certainly possible, but also risky for such popular shows.

O'Connell does note that it is too soon to say whether Hester's complaints are true, and that the key will be whether other people involved with that show, or other ones produced by the same companies, openly corroborate Hester's claims.

"'Storage Wars' has been on for a long time, so a lot of people have been involved in its production," O'Connell said. "It'll be interesting to see if anybody else comes forward with the same complaints."

Hester is requesting a jury trial, and is seeking upward of $750,000 in damages.

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