Longest Running Reality Shows

Source: ABC

When reality TV became a staple part of America’s past-time, many people wrongly thought that the trend would be short lived. Whether this is fortunate or not, reality TV is cheap to produce, because hell, who needs writers or professional actors for entertainment, right? This list takes a list at the reality shows that have demonstrated success through longevity, and have stood the test of time.

12. Dancing with the Stars

Dancing with the Stars is the American dance competition premised on the British television series Strictly Come Dancing. The show pairs celebrities with a professional dancer and they perform routines to win the judges points and praise, as well as the audience votes. The couple receiving the lowest combined total of points and votes is eliminated until a winner is declared. The show aired in 2005 and has filmed 21 seasons so far!

ABC/Adam Taylor

11. American Idol

American Idol has discovered some mega-talent including season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson and country-pop superstar Carrie Underwood. The show was created by Simon Fuller and attempts to find a new solo recording artist, with the winner being selected by the viewers. The show is one of the most successful television series in American television history. In it’s first ten years, “Idol has spawned 345 Billboard chart-toppers and a platoon of pop idols including…Daughtry, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard…and Jordan Sparks while remaining a TV ratings juggernaut.” For the first eight years in a row, either the performance or result show was ranked number one in U.S. television ratings. In May 2015, Fox announced that the series would conclude its run in its 15th season.

photo: Michael Becker / TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox

10. The Amazing Race

The American version of The Amazing Race was released in 2001 and has been running ever since.  The show typically features 11 teams of two racing around the world. The race involves mental and physical challenges and requires teams to interpret clues and navigate their way around unfamiliar territory. With $1 million as the grand prize, there is a lot at stake for the teams and drama normally isn’t too far behind. The show currently has 27 seasons and has won 15 Primetime Emmy Awards.

© CBS / courtesy everett collection

9. The Bachelor

The Bachelor has taken some criticism for superficially pairing people together and dropping them into super romantic situations just for our entertainment, but the show has had some success stories including Jason Mesnick and Mollie Malaney, and Sean Lowe and Catherine Guidici. The show premiered in 2002 and has been on the air for 19 seasons and counting. The success of the show also spawned spin-offs, The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise. It has even caused other countries to join in the success of the franchise with shows like The Bachelor Canada and The Bachelor (UK version). Jason Sarlanis, VP of alternative series of ABC has said part of the franchise’s success is in its ability to be provoking: “We want to be the leader in entertainment. We don’t necessarily want to be the leader in family entertainment. We’re looking for things that families can watch together, but that does not mean they shouldn’t be provocative.” Keeping it sexy!

Edward Herrera / © ABC / courtesy everett collection

8. Big Brother

Big Brother is a reality game show based on a Dutch TV series of the same name. The show follows contestants who live together under constant surveillance. The houseguests are cut off from the outside world and are competing for $500,000, with weekly competitions and evictions. The US version of the show premiered in 2000 on CBS and its 17th season started earlier this year in June. Countless countries have joined the Big Brother franchise including the UK, Bulgaria, China, and Israel. The show has inspired spin-off series such as Celebrity Big Brother and Big Brother: All-Stars.

Source: www.vwmin.org

7. Survivor

Survivor is a reality game show produced in many countries throughout the world. The contestants are shipped to isolated areas in the wilderness and must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves, to compete for cash and other prizes. The castaways are voted off in progressive elimination until the sole survivor is declared and the $1 million prize is granted. The oldest incarnation of the show was the Swedish version, which debuted in 1997. The American version launched in 2000 and the first 11 seasons of the show were rated among the top ten most watched shows for their years, respectively. To date, there are almost 500 episodes of the American version and the show has been running for 31 seasons and counting! In 2007, Time magazine included the series on its list of 100 greats TV shows of all-time.

Source: YouTube

6. Cheaters

Cheaters has earned itself a reputation for exploiting peoples’ problems for cheap profit. The show centers on hidden cameras that track partners suspected of cheating. The episodes culminate in the confrontation between the lovers with the host acting as a middle-man, or more aptly, a ring leader. In spite of its sleazy premise, the show has garnered a following and has been on the airways for over 15 years. The show has 14 seasons under its belt and is continuing its production.

Source: www.cheaters.com

5. Road Rules and The Challenge

Road Rules is an MTV reality show that was a sister show of The Real World. The show featured six strangers all between 18-24 with no money, travelling around in an RV. The contestants were given clues and missions to complete at each location they stopped at. The original series lasted 14 seasons and spent 12 years on the air! The show also produced a spin-off series The Challenge (originally known as Road Rules: All Stars followed by Real World/Road Rules Challenge) starting in 1998. The show is still on the air and has produced 27 seasons so far! Who knew MTV would produce something that has stood the test of time.

Source: MTV

4. The Real World

The Real World took the MTV world by storm when it was released in 1992, and it has been nothing short of a phenomenon. The series falls into the genre of a “staged reality” television program and follows the lives of seven to eight young adults living in a house in a new city together. The Real World is MTV’s longest-running program in its history, and it was praised in its early years for tackling some difficult issues like AIDS, death, religion, and abortion. The upcoming season of the series began production in October 2015 and is set in Las Vegas, Nevada. The series is also associated with Road Rules and The Challenge.

Source: Facebook

3. America’s Funniest Home Videos

America’s Funniest Home Videos initially launched as a television special in 1989. By the following year, it had been turned into a series and has continued production ever since. The show features hilarious homemade videos that generally feature unintentional physical comedy. The funniest video, as voted by the studio audience, wins a cash prize. The show has been hosted by many famous celebs including Bob Saget and Tom Bergeron, who hosted the show for 14 years. In May 2015, it was announced that Alfonso Ribeiro would take over hosting for the 26th season after Bergeron’s departure. The show has received 3 BMI Film & TV Awards and several other nominations.

Source: ABC

2. Cops

Cops premiered in 1989 and has shown no sign of slowing down in terms of its popularity. The show follows around American police officers and deputies on their patrols and vice and narcotics stings. It’s actually one of the longest-running television programs in the US and became the longest-running show on Fox when America’s Most Wanted was cancelled after 23 years. Cops is in its 28th season and has won several Primetime Emmys.

Source: www.onlinetvcast.com

1. Candid Camera

Candid Camera captivated audiences over the course of generations. The show got its start on the radio in 1947 as The Candid Microphone. The concept came to the small screen in 1948 and ran into the 1970s. The show features ordinary people being confronted by unusual situations and pranks. Throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s, the show only featured occasional specials until it made a comeback in 1996 on CBS, and moved to PAX in 2001. The incarnation of the series ended in 2004 with the selling of the network, but it didn’t die there. Beginning in August 2014, the show returned with hour-long episodes on TV Land.

Source: www.smh.com.au

Jessica Bowden