10 Things To Know About How They Cast Catfish

Since the Catfish show is all about thrills and surprises, how does the show’s casting process work? Find out how they pick their subjects.

After the documentary Catfish was released in 2010 and the MTV reality series started airing, everyone was used to the idea of someone lying about their identity while chatting with a potential love interest online. Even though most of the relationships don’t work out, the show is still exciting and entertaining to watch.

RELATED: Catfish: 10 Most Memorable Catfishes, Ranked

Both Catfish and Ghosted are reality shows about dating but nothing really compares to the MTV show hosted by Nev Schulman where people lie about who they are. Since the show is all about thrills and surprises, how does the show’s casting process work? Fans of Catfish miss Nev’s co-host Max but the next best thing to having him back on the show is learning more about the behind-the-scenes of this juicy reality series.

10 The Couple Signs A Waiver

Catfish: The TV Show (Season 2) | Ep. 3 | Act 1 (Screengrab)


While it seems like Nev and his co-host Max Joseph (and his other co-hosts since Max left the show) knock on someone’s door with no prior communication, that’s not exactly the case.

The couple has to sign a waiver and, according to Vulture, this makes sure that everyone agrees to be filmed for the MTV show. This definitely makes sense. Since the new season is being filmed via the Internet, it seems safe to say that the same waivers would be signed here as well.

9 The “Liar” Is Found Before The “Hopeful”

Spencer and Katy episode of MTV Catfish

According to Vulture, the person who is lying and doing the catfishing is found before the “hopeful” aka the person wishing that the love connection works out.

Marshall Eisen, who is the senior vice president of news and docs for MTV and also an exec producer on Catfish, told Vulture, “It’s often the catfish we hear from first because they’re looking to unburden themselves. It’s not always the case, but it probably happens more than people realize.” There is a question on the application that says “Do you have a secret or something to confess to your online partner?” It’s interesting to think that a little over a decade ago, no one used the term and now “catfishing” is part of Netflix reality show The Circle.

8 MTV Makes Sure Everyone Talks To A Therapist

Max Joseph and Nev Schulman in Catfish MTV

MTV arranges therapy for people who have been on Catfish. According to Cosmopolitan, this is because being on the show brings up a lot of feelings and it can be really difficult. Fans have definitely seen a lot of tough episodes where emotions got heightened.

RELATED: 15 Craziest Catfish Episodes, Ranked

This sounds like a good idea, as the people who appear on the show all have a lot of hopes, dreams, and expectations for how things are going to go.

7 The Application Asks About Reasons Why Couples Haven’t Met Yet

Rod and Ebony episode of MTV Catfish

Part of the MTV casting call application asks, “Why haven’t you been able to meet in person yet? Does your significant other make excuses of why they can’t get on a webcam or meet in person? If so, what are the excuses?”

Often, a couple won’t actually get to know each other in person because the “catfish” will always have reasons why they can’t make the planned meeting. From getting into a car accident to someone close to them being sick, Catfish viewers have heard it all.

6 The Application Also Wants To Know How The Hopeful Feels

The application also asks, “If you were to finally meet, what are you most excited about? If you were to finally meet, what are you most nervous about?”

People are curious about how catfishing still happens and getting the chance to get to know each hopeful more helps answer that question. While it might sound wild for someone to fall in love online, these people really have hopes that things will work out.

5 Background Checks Happen

It sounds like a lot of time, attention, and thought is put into casting each season of this MTV reality show, and there’s something else fans should know about it.

Background checks are performed when the show is going through the casting process, according to Cheat Sheet, which is another good thing to know about how Catfish works.

4 The Producers Are Aware Of The Catfish’s Identity But Nev Isn’t

Nev Schulman and Max Joseph in Catfish on MTV

There are many people considered “villains” on reality shows and on Catfish, the person lying about who they are could be doing it for good or for evil. It really depends on the situation and fans have seen all kinds of scenarios.

RELATED: 10 Things Keeping The Kardashians Busy Even After Their Hit Reality TV Show Ends

If the producers are aware of who the person doing the catfishing is, what about Nev and anyone else who is hosting with him? According to Cosmopolitan, the producers may have this information but Nev isn’t told. This makes sense since that allows Nev and whoever he is working with to find out the truth while being filmed.

3 Casting Took Place On A College Campus

Nev Schulman and Max Joseph in MTV Catfish

In 2018, Catfish looked for students at San Diego State. According to The Daily Aztec, the casting director, Mike Esposito, was searching for someone who attended that school who might have been part of an Internet romance.

Esposito explained, “This is a very fluid process because we are casting all year round. We’re in the new season already, but we still have a lot of slots to fill.” He also said, “We do read every application that comes across our desk, as crazy as that may sound.”

2 The Producers Make Sure That People Aren’t Just Looking For TV Fame

Max Joseph Tracie Thoms and Nev Schulman on MTV Catfish

Many celebs have gotten famous after short-lived reality shows but there are definitely people who want to get on TV so they can be known worldwide.

RELATED: 10 Most Addicting Reality Shows About Real-Life People (That Aren’t On TLC)

According to Cheat Sheet, Eisen said in his Vulture interview that the producers make sure that people aren’t just looking for TV fame.

1 People Can Decide To Opt-Out

Taylor Season 7 Catfish The TV Show

According to Vulture, it’s also possible that some people would decide to opt-out of being on the show, and the team at MTV will totally understand. Eisen has said that everyone has appeared on the series but it’s something everyone keeps in mind.

This is what makes the experience of watching Catfish so thrilling: anything could happen and fans really never know what to expect.

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Updated: November 7, 2020 — 4:00 am

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