As much as we’d like to deny it, reality TV has become the defining feature of contemporary TV entertainment in North America. Gone are the days of clever sitcoms, informative shows, and actually educational programming. Instead, we have shows that focus on ‘shock and awe’ and human stupidity and drama, as opposed to, well, anything else.
The reality TV show bug has infected virtually every high-profile channel over the years. MTV has gone from being about music videos to showcasing pregnant teenagers. TLC, which used to feature programming that you could actually learn things from (hence the name The LEARNING Channel), has switched its focus to child beauty pageants. Both the Discovery Channel and the History Channel, once channels where you could actually learn things about the world, have switched to outlandish pseudo-science, aliens and alternative history.
Indeed, reality-based programming is a scourge that has completely taken over modern TV.
And yet, as all-encompassing as reality TV has become in recent years, not even it is immune to terrible mistakes and questionable decisions. There have been many occasions where some TV executive has said something along the lines of, "we need to make THIS into a reality show," sometimes to disappointing results. There are many current reality shows and some that are being planned that are doomed to fail for one reason or another. This article will find out why that is.
The epitome of the modern-day reality show, WAGS follows the lives of various wives and girlfriends of high-profile sportspersons. It’s about as ‘real’ as you can expect from such a show: immediate staged drama between women, fabricated insecurities and drama between the couples on the show, and a heavy focus on partying and exuberant behaviour all around. The reason this show won’t make it is because it has entered into a highly-saturated reality TV market.
14 Lip Sync Battle
Imagine a music-based reality competition without the music. That’s what you get with Lip Sync Battle, a show where people compete to see who’s better at lip-syncing, a skill that has very little use outside of this particular niche. However, unlike many other entries on this list, Lip Sync Battle has actually earned both praise and good ratings during its first few seasons.
13 WWE Tough Enough
WWE’s attempt to cash-in on the reality TV industry has yielded mix results. While Total Divas has some promise because of its relatively unique premise, WWE’s other major reality program has failed hard in recent years. Tough Enough, a show about creating the next pro wrestler, did once have some promise, as WWE actually had greater control on who’d win because they were looking for someone who could actually wrestle. Sadly, those days are long gone, as the most recent edition of T.E. has been abysmal in its execution.
12 Dash Dolls
To further capitalize on the spreading Kardashian name, the E! Network has created another spin-off that focuses on a group of women who work in one of the family’s Dash stores. As you can probably imagine, a reality TV spin-off of one of the most high-profile reality shows in recent memory isn’t likely to offer anything new, and is going to fail sooner or later.
11 Police Women Of [Insert City Name Here]
Law enforcement shows have always drawn some large audiences over the years. Programs like Cops, World’s Wildest Police Videos, and Jail, have always drawn interest from viewers who enjoy ‘raw’ confrontations between police and civilians. It’s unfortunate, then, that TLC would dig its own grave by creating a police reality show that focuses solely on one half of the police force.
10 Guinness World Records Primetime & Unleashed
If at any time TV execs decide to revive the old shows that focused on breaking world records, they should avoid making the same mistakes that were made with these two shows. Tended to be half educational and half shock programming, Guinness World Records Primetime and Unleashed showcased both real world records and people attempting to break very unconventional records. These included such bizarre and ludicrous records as: sitting in a bathtub full of snakes, balancing glasses on one’s chin, and squirting milk from one’s eye.
9 Pitch Slapped
Music-centric reality TV shows are a dime a dozen, and they go hand-in-hand with the modern pop music industry in the United States. Few shows centered on music showcase anything truly unique anymore, so they’ve started to branch out into smaller sub-sects of musical endeavor. Pitch Slapped is all about a group of Capella singing teams trying to reach the big time.
8 My Diet Is Better Than Yours
Continuing on the theme of recycled ideas, here we venture into the world of reality TV weight loss challenges. Following in the footsteps of such shows as Extreme Weight Loss and The Biggest Loser, My Diet Is Better Than Yours has five competitors pick a trainer and weight loss program type that they must stick to, with the contestants who lose the least weight being eliminated one by one.
7 Ex-Wives Of Rock
Another show about the personal lives of celebrities, Ex-Wives of Rock is all about women who were once married to rock stars. In other words, it’s a show about women who didn’t really do anything themselves to become famous, and have cameras following them around long after their major relationships had ended. As you can imagine, a show like this would follow the same reality TV formula in the hopes of catching people’s attention: bitter people talking smack about their former lovers, scripted confrontations and cheesy dialogue.
6 The Real World: Go Big Or Go Home
The Real World is one of the earliest and most famous reality TV shows ever recorded. It was the show that made raucous behavior acceptable long before The Jersey Shore was ever a thing, and how they’re adding a new element to it with this new entry. The contestants absolutely must perform challenges and other crazy things on the show or they will be eliminated, no questions asked.
5 Finding Bigfoot
Yes, in this day and age, there are still people who believe in the existence of Big Foot. Some of these believers, in fact, are so ardent in truth of said myth that they created a reality show documenting their attempts to capture the creature’s existence on camera. You can imagine the kind of reality programming this would yield. Most of the show is centered on reconstructing previous Bigfoot sightings, and the show has an overbearing sense of outlandishness to it.
4 Outrageous Acts of Science
This reality show’s questionable future is based entirely on other shows of the same genre, namely Mythbusters. Also known as ‘You Have Been Warned’, Outrageous Acts of Science is all about performing high-risk stunts and creating/destroying things in the name of science.
3 "Food Porn"
This is what happens when you take an Instagram obsession, present it to a desperate TV executive, and turn it into a TV show. No seriously, this is the hook for the show according to tvseriesfinale.com. It’s a show about a guy who travels the United States in search of those foods that are promoted the most on social media.
2 Rehab Addict
No, this isn’t a show about people constantly checking into rehab centers. It’s about ‘rehabbing’ old homes with the goal of preventing them from being demolished by developers. It airs on the DIY Network, and caters mainly to those who love watching about real estate, interior design, and home ownership.
1 Paranormal Lockdown
Any time you see any reality show involving the words ‘paranormal’, ‘supernatural’, or ‘ghost’, you might as well roll your eyes and change the channel. For years, television executives have tried to cash-in on humanity’s morbid curiosity with the supernatural and the afterlife, and the results have been dreadful. Shaky cameras, over-sensationalized ‘encounters’, and a lack of genuinely scary moments have all but ruined the genre for many people.
Paranormal Lockdown is but the next in line of a series of reality shows centered on spooky locations. The basic premise is that two people will stay in a haunted house for 72 hours and will try and record their encounters with the supernatural. While the idea might sound fresh and interesting (after all, who hasn’t wanted to explore a creepy abandoned lunatic asylum?), this is something that’s more fun doing in person, as opposed to seeing someone do it on TV. After all, these are TV personalities, and they’re not going to film themselves getting into any real danger. To that end, expect a lot of fake sights and moments that will make this show look more like a C-level horror movie than a really scary reality show.
Sources: tvseriesfinale.com ; mtv.com ; E!
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