I work in reality television in Australia on some of the high profile cooking shows. All the time limits and stuff are legit, but almost all drama between contestants is fabricated by producers slipping misleading information to contestants to get them worked up.
Before a contestant is hired for the show they go through three rounds of psychological exams and meetings with doctors. Both to ensure they aren’t insane and can safely be on the show, and also to get a profile on them so producers know what makes them tick.
They also make sure to cast people with wildly conflicting personalities and political views and put them together on most challenges.
It’s all pretty manipulative and I feel guilty being on set sometimes watching what the producers put these people through.