Over the last decade, reality TV shows have become the norm. Gone are the days when family based sitcoms made the world turn. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a good variety of scripted TV shows out there but reality TV has put a stake in the ground and isn’t going anywhere. Viewers like the opportunity to peer into the lives of other people (not always celebrities) so they can enter a world they normally wouldn’t have access to. We get caught up in the loose story lines and become invested. Whatever your interests are, you’re bound to find a show that interests you. From shows that focus on homes and décor to shows that are competition based, there is a long list of success stories.
However, just because a show has been around for years and has a steady stream of loyal viewers doesn’t mean that they need to continue indefinitely. Despite the wide variety of shows available, new concepts are possible. We haven’t seen everything so networks should feel encouraged to explore new possibilities.
Shows that are currently available have revamped their concept in order to maintain viewership. Others encourage drama to increase the shock factor. While this might work for some shows, networks have to know when to move on to something new. Take a look at the following list to see some popular shows that have hit a wall and should consider packing it in.
15 Married at First Sight
Out of the 12 couples matched to date, only two have made it the distance (Jamie Otis and Doug Hehner and Cortney Hendrix and Jason Carrion). These stats make you question the validity of this show and the commitment of the participants. It seems that despite using science-backed matching techniques (the e-Harmony metrics come to mind), true, lasting love remains out of reach for participants. Is it even possible for strangers to be compatible even though science says they are? Is it too much pressure to ask them to make their marriages work despite the initial awkwardness?
With divorce rates through the roof (was anyone else surprised by the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt divorce filing?), it’s no wonder marriages don’t work today. It’s “easier” to walk away than work through issues. The idea that participants in this show are in real marriages doesn’t seem to deter them from bowing out. Despite proclaiming that they’re ready to take the risk and settle down with someone they don’t know, it seems the reality of going through with it is too much to handle.
Verdict: Prevent needless broken hearts (divorce is hard) and move on from this show
14 Real Housewives (All Versions)
I’d like to think that women do more than sit around sipping wine and bad mouthing each other. Nothing good ever comes out of these set up scenarios but drama (and the occasional spin off series). These women just can’t get along. I understand that drama sells but does anyone else have a headache from listening to all of the bickering? Forced interactions have a tendency to hit a fever pitch during the reunion specials. Does anyone recall the special for The Real Housewives of Atlanta a few year ago? Things got tense between Porsha Williams and Kenya Moore (to be fair, Moore instigated it). Williams took the situation to a new level when she dragged Moore across the stage by her hair.
Besides this, the situations these ladies find themselves in are just too unbelievable. But then again, isn’t reality TV scripted anyway? Also, the name of the show doesn’t do it justice. While it may have started off as a show that followed wives of high profile athletes, actors and TV personalities, very few of the women are actually wives…let alone housewives.
Verdict: Save marriages and let this show go
13 Toddlers in Tiaras
This is another example of women who can’t get along when forced to spend time together. Not only are they behaving badly but they’re behaving badly in front of their daughters. For the most part their kids are well behaved and put up with the drama but a few are portrayed as being mini divas. You can’t blame them, pageants that include expensive costumes, full makeup and hair, coaches, trophies and lavish transportation would make anyone feel like a celebrity. Their every need is catered to and they usually get what they want. Granted, it’s impressive that toddlers have the patience to learn and perform a routine (mostly by themselves) in front of a room of strangers because we all know how short their attention spans are.
Verdict: Until these moms can act reasonably and respectfully towards each other, it’s best to turn this off
12 Keeping Up With the Kardashians
Does anyone even care about these folks anymore? Why bother watching the show when all of the family members are in the news everyday anyway? Have you noticed? From Kim’s outfits to speculation on who Khloe’s dating, there’s a constant stream of news for social media junkies. The show has been around for such a long time that perhaps it’s time to consider taking a step back and explore other ventures.
With the introduction of Rob’s new show with Blac Chyna this is highly unlikely. The continuous family drama (most recently Rob posted Kylie’s cell number online) makes it hard for some viewers to look away. You just never know what’s coming next or what to expect. Maybe that’s why the show has lasted as long as it has. In order to keep audiences coming back for more the show has got to keep them on their toes and create reasons for them to be curious.
Verdict: This show should quit while it’s ahead
11 Sister Wives
From the time this show premiered in 2010, it has courted controversy. When the patriarch Kody Brown introduced a fourth wife to the already massive family, tensions rose even higher. Does anyone else feel uncomfortable watching this show? Producers may be aware of the waning interest in this show since season 8 hasn’t been confirmed.
Part of the tension on the show has been caused by the legal problems they’ve been plagued with since debuting their family on TV. They had to leave their home state of Utah because of increased scrutiny. Plus, Meri was “catfished” last year. What seems to be causing the most tension is the fact that Kody may be considering divorcing his current wife Robyn and possibly adding more wives to the mix. The current sister wives are threatening to leave if this happens. If they supposedly don’t want to do the show anymore why bother?
Verdict: It’s time to focus on their problems, preferably away from the spotlight
10 My Strange Addiction
You have to admit this show knows how to draw viewers in. From watching a woman who likes to eat mattresses to a man who’s dating his car, the stories seem far fetched and hard to believe. While it’s possible there are deeper rooted issues at play (which need attention) putting a bright spotlight on the addictions these folks deal with is uncomfortable. If these conditions are real (there’s debate as to whether some of them are fake) then it’s likely very difficult for them to discuss them openly, let alone have audiences aware of their secret addiction.
One of the good things to come out of this show is the fact that watching participants struggle might open the eyes of others with strange addictions. They might be encouraged to get help. A big part of the show is discussing the health implications of some addictions and consulting a therapist as needed. Once these folks are aware of the issues that caused their strange behavior, they can take steps to improve and lead a more “normal” life.
Verdict: There’s no need for a series that turns participants into a sideshow
After the first five or six seasons, the show started to lose its appeal. Contestants have figured out alliances are needed in order to last on the show. As a result, alliances start forming almost immediately. Unlike the first season where everything happened organically, subsequent contestants have just copied the formula in the seasons that followed. When it was introduced back in 2000, it was a new and exciting concept. No one had ever done anything like it. Reality TV was the new kid on the block and everyone was hooked. For the first time viewers could be a fly on the wall.
But after 33 seasons, nothing seems new anymore. The producers have tried their best to upgrade each new season with slightly new concepts (for example, tribes divided by gender, age, social class and primary attributes – brains, brawn and beauty) but at the end of the day, it’s still the same old show.
Verdict: It’s been a good run but it’s time to move on to something new
8 Teen Mom OG
This started out as a harmless show highlighting the reality of teen pregnancies (it’s a spin off of 16 and Pregnant). However, over the course of seven seasons, the show has morphed into something more. Maybe it’s the attention received from the initial success of the show but some of the cast have become different people compared to who they were. Farrah Abraham’s parenting skills are called into question at least once a week on social media. Relationships have ended while questionable ones have begun (everyone has something to say about Amber Portwood’s fiancé).
It doesn’t seem right to keep giving this show the attention it gets. Many of the ladies have been through very stressful situations (from adoptions to stints in rehab) that should be handled privately. But that’s not the point of reality TV. The more drama the better. We can hope that when this show eventually comes to an end the kids involved won’t be affected by their time in the spotlight. And hopefully these young mothers learn from the experience.
Verdict: These moms aren’t teens anymore so it’s time to move on
7 Naked and Afraid
Why do participants subject themselves to harsh conditions and possible injury and starvation? To be fair, at least one person in the duo usually has some form of survivalist training. We have to assume that there’s discussion and preparation (for example, how to build a fire) before they’re thrown into the wilderness to survive on their own. The show’s concept makes sense, when we’re stripped of all of the conveniences in life we’re accustomed to, can we survive on our own for 21 days. The question is, why bother trying? Aren’t nature adventures like the ones on Bear Grylls' expedition shows enough? Why do contestants have to be naked and only allowed one tool for the three weeks they’re alone?
There’s nothing wrong with “roughing it” in the wilderness and exploring your limits but protecting yourself from the elements with simple things like clothes, shelter and a supply of food seem like the bare minimum. There’s still a thrill while testing your limits but it’s done safely.
The show’s in its sixth season and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Clearly there are folks willing to take on the challenge and the risks.
Verdict: Creating a new version (Naked and Afraid XL) with teams doesn’t make the show less concerning to watch
6 Big Brother
Currently wrapping up it’s 18th season (with the 19th and 20th seasons confirmed), much like Survivor, this show stirred the curiosity of viewers when it debuted back in 2000. It’s spawned versions in the UK and Canada. The fact that strangers have to live together, secluded from the world outside, was intriguing. It was a new take on the popular Real World series. Again, like Survivor in its early days, it took some time for houseguests to figure out the ropes and form alliances.
With the framework for the show already in place, each season sees the houseguests split into alliances early on and scheme their way to the finals. Producers are now trying something new to keep viewers interested. Big Brother: Over The Top starts on September 28, 2016 and can only be streamed online. It goes back to the original show roots which was more about watching the interaction between the house guests than the insanely competitive show it has become.
Verdict: It’s time for Big Brother to stop watching and take a break
5 The Bachelor
Oh yeah, I went there. This show’s definitely popular but what purpose does it serve? I mean, other than allowing one guy to date lots of women at once. Or the stampede for the runner-up of the Bachelorette to become the next Bachelor. The track record of relationships surviving after the final rose ceremony is dismal. It doesn’t seem as though the purpose is to find a life long partner for the bachelor. Despite the best of intentions, the couples can’t seem to make it work. Perhaps it’s the pressure of the situation or after having spent more time together they realize that they’re not compatible. Whatever the case, this show has left a lot of broken hearts in its wake.
As the show progresses and the women become more invested, bickering and bad mouthing begins. After all, they’re all dating the same guy and competing for his affections. Things are bound to get tense especially since they’re all living in the same house.
Verdict: A broken heart isn’t worth 15 minutes of fame
4 Dance Moms
This show started innocently enough. It follows the training of young performers at dance studios in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles, California. Granted, these girls have real talent which says a lot since few reality TV shows require this. The series follows how hard the girls work every week to win competitions and remain at the top of their game. It’s not easy but they make it work. Much like Toddlers in Tiaras, the mothers are the ones who seem to take center stage. With the amount of bickering and backstabbing that goes on, it’s surprising that their daughters are able to set aside the drama and perform at such a high caliber.
With Abby Lee Miller facing charges for assault and fraud, perhaps it’s time for her to take a step back and focus on those issues.
Verdict: With many of the girls in positions to take their dance careers to a new level, it would be useful to focus on this (away from the cameras). At least for now.
3 Seven Year Switch
Does marriage mean nothing anymore? In case you haven’t seen this show, four couples switch partners for two weeks as part of experimental therapy. How exactly are couples supposed to work on their marriages if they spend time with someone other than their spouse? Won’t this magnify their struggles? This was the case with one of the couples in the first season. After the experiment the husband, Neal Carney, decided that he wanted children whereas his wife Leah didn’t. This couple chose to divorce because the show didn’t help mend the problems in their marriage.
What happened to therapy that works? Depending on your stance on marriage, this show takes counselling to a new extreme that can either make a marriage stronger (spouses realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side) or destroy it.
Verdict: Rather than trying to solve their problems in front of the world, couples with issues should seek help that focuses on solving issues instead of encouraging them to live with someone else
2 Who Want’s To Be A Millionaire
OK, be honest. Does anyone watch this show anymore? It was a fresh, new concept 15 seasons ago but nothing much has changed about since then. It’s been hugely successful, with an attraction at Disney World and countless games but it’s time for new game shows to step into the limelight. The show has tried to inject innovation by changing the format. For example, in season 9 the difficulty of a question was no longer tied to a dollar value, it was completely random. To make things interesting, the value of the question wasn’t revealed until after it was answered correctly. In the next four seasons contestants were given the opportunity to double their money in certain weeks. Questions became worth double which gave contestants a chance to increase their winnings quicker.
Verdict: Despite the modifications, a new take on the game show genre would be a welcome change
1 Storage Wars
Season 10 of this show wrapped up back in May. Considering the premise of the show, it’s surprising that it’s lasted so long. In an effort to keep viewers interested, there have been spin offs over the years (for example, Barry’d Treasure and Brandi & Jarrod: Married to the Job). There’s excitement when a storage locker opens up and the buyers are allowed to look inside. They all have techniques to determine the value of a locker based on its setup. As a result, bidding can climb quickly if the locker is perceived to be valuable.
However, this excitement has been tainted by accusations that the lockers are staged with valuable items to make the show interesting. Series regular Dave Hester only added fuel to the fire when he filed a claim that seemingly confirmed this. He and producers have since settled their differences but you can’t help but wonder if there’s some weight to the claim.
Verdict: It’s time to move on to something new