‘Claim to Fame’ Bosses Reveal Rules Every Player Must Follow


The Claim to Fame cast has a long list of rules that must be followed to get onto the show. The executive producers of ABC‘s hit reality competition series have opened up about those guidelines, providing a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get cast and win Claim to Fame.

Eric Detwiler and Scott Teti told People that the rules not only apply before and during the filming process but also after a player has been eliminated. In the series, 12 “nepo babies” (family members of famous people) gather in a California mansion for several weeks of competition. The goal is to keep your famous family member’s identity a secret while trying to unveil the other players’ claims to fame. The contestants are barred from internet use while filming, having only clues provided on the clue wall and through challenges to work off of when forming their theories.

Detwiler and Teti explained that those clues can sometimes be fake hints meant to sow chaos among the cast. “When that happens, those mistakes can be crucial and create even more suspicion than the actual clues themselves, taking contestants down wild rabbit holes,” they said. “But in some cases, these red herrings can actually lead to even more discoveries than the original clues that were intended or overlooked. That’s the magic of Claim to Fame!”

Since Claim to Fame is all about keeping secrets, lying is completely allowed in the series. But here’s what’s not.

Contestants Can’t Be Younger Than 18

There is no age maximum, however.

“So far, the youngest contestants have been Season 1’s Logan (Jason Aldean’s cousin) and Season 2’s Travis (Neil deGrasse Tyson’s son), who were both 22 years old. The oldest have been season 2’s Jada (Dolly Parton‘s niece), who was 44 years old, and season 1’s M. Lamar (Laverne Cox‘s twin brother), who was 50 years old,” Detwiler and Teti said, adding, “Could a future season potentially feature someone’s parent or grandparent? Oh, the stories they would have to tell…”

No Distant Relatives Allowed

“Distant or far-removed relatives (such as second cousins and beyond) are not considered” in the casting process, the EPs explained. Carly, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson‘s niece who had a meltdown in the Season 2 premiere, were given a special exception when listing Hanks (her uncle by marriage) as her celebrity relative.

“In the case of Carly, her relation to Tom Hanks through marriage (to her aunt Rita) was accepted in consideration of her close relationship with her uncle from a very early age,” they said. Of course, Wilson is also famous, though it seems Hanks was more of a draw for the show’s team.

Hugo and Carly face elimination in 'Claim to Fame' Season 2 premiere on ABC

Players Can’t List More Than One Claim to Fame

Even in cases like Carly’s, where they’re related to more than one celebrity, players can only list one family member as their celebrity relative for the show.

“In the rare instance a contestant is related to more than one celebrity, they agree ahead of time as to which celebrity relative they will be playing as ‘related to’ during the competition,” Detwiler and Teti told People. This implies Carly got to choose which of her famous relatives she’d submit.

No Electronic Devices Allowed During Filming

This one’s pretty straightforward. Detwiler and Teti said, “It would be unfair for any cast to be able to scour social media, make calls or otherwise try and research another contestant’s identity online.” Chuck Norris‘ grandson, Max, was cut from Season 1 when it was revealed he had a secret phone.

“Contestants must succeed at gameplay, follow the rules, and rely only on their memory and personal discoveries throughout the competition to figure out the identity of another player’s celebrity relative,” the EPs said. “If they violate the rules, they can be eliminated from the competition.”

Kevin Jonas in 'Claim to Fame' Season 2

ABC/John Fleenor

No Picking Your Own Roommates

Housing arrangements are determined by the show’s staff, not the players. This is meant to make sure all involved can focus on the gameplay instead of interpersonal dynamics.

“Unlike other house competition shows, Claim to Fame contestants are assigned their bedrooms by producers,” said Detwiler and Teti. “Producers do not want the bedroom selection process becoming a distraction to the competition,” they added. “We want to get right to the good stuff!”

The Guess-Off Names Must Be Accurate and Pronounced Correctly

In each elimination round, the person doing the guessing has “one shot to say the name correctly — in its entirety and with the correct pronunciation — or they will be the one going home,” they shared. Had Hugo said Neil Tyson deGrasse instead of Neil deGrasse Tyson earlier this season, he would have been sent home. It wouldn’t have mattered that he got the right celebrity. Like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, the correct answer must be correctly pronounced.

Here are the other Claim to Fame rules:

  • Applicants must go through a screening process that involves “clear background checks, as well as both medical and psychological evaluations by licensed medical providers, before they are permitted to film.”
  • A player’s claim to fame doesn’t have to be a living celebrity.
  • The “two truths and a lie” shared in the premiere must be submitted in advance, which allows “contestants a chance to strategize their gameplay before heading into the competition.”
  • Real names aren’t required.
  • Hosts Kevin and Franklin Jonas are “in the dark” about the celebrity relatives as well because producers “wanted the hosts to play along and have genuine reactions when celebrity relatives are revealed in the ‘Guess Off’s.”
  • Contestants can spy on other players, but they can’t rifle through private property. Peeking into someone’s open journal, however, is fair game.
  • Everyone’s clue count is the same.
  • Some clues are red herrings “meant to throw off contestants.”

Claim to Fame is re-airing Episode 8 on ABC on Thursday, August 17, at 10/9c. There will be no new episode on Monday, August 21. Find out who best followed the rules and bested the rest of the players in the Claim to Fame Season 2 finale on August 28.

Claim to Fame, Mondays, 10/9c, ABC





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