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A seemingly-fake reality TV show

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent

Every once in a while a story finds you. Such is the case with the hour-long investigation we'll bring you on Friday night, May 2.  

I think it's one of the most unique and interesting stories we've done this year and it came to us in an equally unique and interesting way. It was a tip from a Texas-based cameraman that got the ball rolling. In the past, Izzy Cardoza had done some work for NBC News and so he felt comfortable calling NBC after he says a so-called producer/reality show host didn't pay him for a project Izzy and his crew shot.

Izzy, as it turned out had kept all the tapes as collateral and when the producer/host never came up with a promised certified check, Izzy and his crew walked off the job with the tapes.

Guess who has the tapes now?

That's right, Dateline. And they not only make for compelling television, they allowed us to track down a group of contestants who say they were duped into believing they were going to appear worldwide on a reality show. The group was told that the winner would get $50,000 and the possibility of a big time modeling contract.

The host/producer was a fellow named Gemase Simmons.  He claimed to be a former supermodel, but as our investigation would reveal, that and so many other things he claimed couldn't be confirmed or just weren't true.

As you'll see, Simmons puts the contestants through the kind of grueling physical contests that have become reality show fare, but it's what was going on off-camera that was really bizarre.

We'll show you that, and also what happens when we go looking for Gemase Simmons to ask him what he was really up to.

'Reality Bites' aired on Friday, May 2. Click here to read Gemase Simmons' response after the broadcast.