Reality TV has been a staple of the entertainment landscape for over 20 years now, starting in many ways with The real world on MTV, one of the most addicting reality shows ever. As the format evolved in the early 2000s, many shows were aired on basic cable. But not all have had their due.
While some reality shows continue to thrive on cable and streaming in one form or another, many were one or two-season wonders that were quickly forgotten. Others succeeded but never really got the appreciation or recognition they deserved.
- 1 ten Project Runway (2004 -)
- 2 9 Rules of the road (1995 – 2007)
- 3 8 Les Osbournes (2002-2005)
- 4 7 Rock Of Love with Bret Michaels (2007-2009)
- 5 6 My beautiful Brady (2005-2008)
- 6 5 Date my mom (2004-2006)
- 7 4 Rock the Cradle (2008)
- 8 3 Scream Queens (2008-2010)
- 9 2 Who wants to be a superhero? (2006 – 2007)
- 10 1 Greenlight Project (2001-2015)
ten Project Runway (2004 -)
Project track is, in many ways, a juggernaut. It is one of the oldest reality TV franchises, spanning nearly 20 years on the Bravo network and now Amazon Prime.
While some things on Project track haven’t aged well, the show is somewhat underrated. The diverse casts, LGBTQ + representation, and commitment to art and education were all unusual then and in some ways even today. The value of the series is lost in fashion, but it is an important series in many ways.
9 Rules of the road (1995 – 2007)
The real world sparked the reality TV explosion in the late ’90s and MTV immediately took advantage with Rules of the road. This show used The real worldThe concept of strangers living together in one house and took it to the road, where strangers traveled together to a new place, every season.
The early seasons had a certain familiarity, as the stars of previous seasons of The real world participated in the show. The group traveled together in a motorhome and faced challenges in hopes of winning the competition. The series ran for 14 seasons, starting in the 90s and spanning most of the 2000s, and was a huge success for the network.
8 Les Osbournes (2002-2005)
Ozzy Osbourne is an iconic rock singer with an infamous past that includes stunts such as biting the head of a bat. It may have been an unusual choice for a reality show, but The Osbournes, one of many rock star-oriented reality shows of the 2000s, is a classic.
The focus on Ozzy and his wife, Sharon, and their two children, Kelly and Jack, caused a lot of laughter and pathos. Sharon continues to be a reality TV celebrity, taking part in shows like The speech and The X-Factor.
7 Rock Of Love with Bret Michaels (2007-2009)
Another rock star-based reality show was Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, who was a precursor, in a way, to The single person model. In 2007, Poison frontman Bret Michaels sought a new girlfriend in the VH1 series, a quest that spanned three seasons.
Bret Michaels starred in other reality shows, including subsequent seasons of The apprentice. It was one of many such shows on VH1 focused on musicians and their lives, like the series Flavor of love, which featured Public Enemy member Flavor Flav.
6 My beautiful Brady (2005-2008)
The Brady Bunch is one of the most iconic sitcoms in television history, and a vintage sitcom that WandaVision references with love. Its cultural cachet has led to My beautiful Brady, in which actor Peter Brady, Christopher Knight and model Adrianne Curry lived their lives for the cameras.
The couple fell in love with another reality TV show, Surreal life. My beautiful Brady lasted three seasons on VH1. Sadly, Curry and Knight arrested him in 2013.
5 Date my mom (2004-2006)
Another dating show with a unique twist was Date my mom. This 2004 MTV reality TV series had contestants dating three different mothers who were actually trying to settle their sons or daughters. The competitor had to choose his date blind from a single description provided by the mothers.
The show ran for two seasons on the network. At the end of each episode, the candidate makes her choice and explains to the other mothers why they were not selected.
4 Rock the Cradle (2008)
The focus on famous musicians continued in Rock the cradleexcept this time the topic was the children of famous rock stars. This six-week singing competition has never produced any stars of the caliber of the top 10 American Idol winners, but the show was interesting for personality and dynamics.
The show ran for one season in 2008. Ryan Devlin hosted the show, alongside a panel of judges including singer Belinda Carlisle, actress Jamie King, June Ambrose and Larry Rudolph.
3 Scream Queens (2008-2010)
One of the most unique reality shows of the 2000s was Scream queens. Instead of a competition to find the next great singer, this show searched for the next famous horror film Scream Queen. The show had a very specific purpose: it followed a group of upcoming actresses as they vied for a role in the Saw franchise.
Actress Tanedra Howard won the first season and won a role in Saw VI, one of the best starters in Saw franchise. The series ran for two seasons.
2 Who wants to be a superhero? (2006 – 2007)
It seems like everyone wants to be a superhero these days, thanks to the genre’s proliferation in movies and TV. In 2006, legendary comic book creator Stan Lee hosted a reality TV show called Who wants to be a superhero? who was looking for the next big star.
Contestants competed in full costume as alter egos in hopes of staring in a Dark Horse comic book and a SyFy movie. The Feedback superhero won the first season and was turned into a action figure by Shocker Toys. He also appeared in the 2007 SyFy channel film, Mega snake.
1 Greenlight Project (2001-2015)
Greenlight project never produced a blockbuster movie and, in many ways, it’s documentation of how do not to make an independent film. Still, the reality TV show created by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, which aimed to give filmmakers a chance with their scripts, provided a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of independent filmmaking.
The show ran for four seasons on HBO and then Bravo, with the third season of production, Feast, being the most financially successful of the individual projects.
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