Reality TV Shows

Reality TV shows arose as a named genre of programming in the 1990s. Networks introduced a number of series that featured the unscripted interactions of ordinary people, as opposed to actors or celebrities. Early reality series were a unique form, but the genre has expanded to include shows that infuse other genres-game shows, documentaries, etc.-with unscripted elements.

Eventually, almost every network made us watch reality shows.

The earliest reality series were ground-breaking in that they attempted to focus on the real lives of their characters. MTV's The Real World was arguably the first modern American reality series. It featured a group of non-actor young people living together in a house. The group's daily activities played out via cameras scattered throughout the house. There was no script or plan for how the events in the house would play out.

Very quickly, aspects of reality TV crept into other types of shows. Survivor merged reality TV with the game-show genre. Participants in the show engaged in a competition. Their interactions were filmed and presented in manner that emphasized the unscripted drama between them. This hybrid reality-game show became a very popular subgenre. It eventually encompassed a wide range of competitions, including those involving music, dance, cooking and weight loss.

The reality formula eventually evolved to include unscripted shows that claimed to present the every-day lives of celebrities. Other reality series followed the professional--and, to a certain degree, personal--lives of ordinary people such as police officers, fishermen or others in hazardous occupations. The reality genre also sometimes connects itself with fiction genres. In paranormal-investigation series, for example, real-life investigators go about their business and the show attempts to use their activities to generate suspense.

Love Island
Love Island
90 Day Fiance
90 Day Fiance
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Keeping Up with The Kardashians
Keeping Up with The Kardashians
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days
The Challenge
The Challenge
Bad Girls Club
Bad Girls Club
RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul's Drag Race
Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures
Love & Hip Hop
Love & Hip Hop
American Idol
American Idol
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
Jersey Shore: Family Vacation
Are You The One?
Are You The One?
The Voice
The Voice
The Masked Singer
The Masked Singer
Ink Master
Ink Master
America's Next Top Model
America's Next Top Model
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta
Mama June: From Not to Hot
Mama June: From Not to Hot
30 For 30
30 For 30
Naked and Afraid
Naked and Afraid
The Ultimate Fighter
The Ultimate Fighter
The Bachelorette
The Bachelorette
The Sheards
The Sheards
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Ridiculousness
Ridiculousness
Chrisley Knows Best
Chrisley Knows Best
Black Ink Crew
Black Ink Crew
60 Days In
60 Days In
Lizard Lick Towing
Lizard Lick Towing
Basketball Wives
Basketball Wives
Shark Tank
Shark Tank
Impractical Jokers
Impractical Jokers
Mountain Monsters
Mountain Monsters
Ex On The Beach
Ex On The Beach
Teen Mom
Teen Mom
Geordie Shore
Geordie Shore
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked
RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked
Songland
Songland
Temptation Island (2019)
Temptation Island (2019)
Love After Lockup
Love After Lockup
The First 48
The First 48
Total Bellas
Total Bellas
Floribama Shore
Floribama Shore
Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore
Bar Rescue
Bar Rescue
The Bachelor
The Bachelor
The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race
Mob Wives
Mob Wives
Growing Up Hip Hop
Growing Up Hip Hop
Sister Wives
Sister Wives
The Curse of Oak Island
The Curse of Oak Island
The Next Step
The Next Step
Comicstaan
Comicstaan
Alaskan Bush People
Alaskan Bush People
Below Deck
Below Deck
The Real World
The Real World
Deadliest Catch
Deadliest Catch
Intervention
Intervention
1000 Ways to Die
1000 Ways to Die
Botched
Botched
Paranormal Caught on Camera
Paranormal Caught on Camera
World of Dance
World of Dance
Little People, Big World
Little People, Big World
Naked and Afraid XL
Naked and Afraid XL
The People's Court
The People's Court
Live PD
Live PD
Top Chef
Top Chef
Wheeler Dealers
Wheeler Dealers
Family Karma
Family Karma
Big Brother
Big Brother
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Gypsy Sisters
Gypsy Sisters
Little Women: Atlanta
Little Women: Atlanta
Married to Medicine
Married to Medicine
Bringing Up Bates
Bringing Up Bates
Outdaughtered
Outdaughtered
Hot Bench
Hot Bench
The Jeff Dunham Show
The Jeff Dunham Show
Welcome to Plathville
Welcome to Plathville
Deadliest Warrior
Deadliest Warrior
90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?
90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?
Lost Gold of World War II
Lost Gold of World War II
Forged in Fire
Forged in Fire
Temptation Island
Temptation Island
Shahs of Sunset
Shahs of Sunset
True Life
True Life
Undercover Boss
Undercover Boss
Ghost Hunters
Ghost Hunters
Families of the Mafia
Families of the Mafia
Love Island: Australia
Love Island: Australia
Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood
Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood
The Incredible Dr. Pol
The Incredible Dr. Pol
Fast N' Loud
Fast N' Loud
Wife Swap
Wife Swap
The Will: Family Secrets Revealed
The Will: Family Secrets Revealed
The Real Housewives of New York City
The Real Housewives of New York City
Hoarders
Hoarders
Braxton Family Values
Braxton Family Values