List of reality television programs

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This is a list of reality television series, by general type, listed with the date of their premiere. A few details are added for some shows that do not have their own article. See reality television for further descriptions.

Documentary style[edit]

In this genre, camera crews follow the daily interactions of people in ordinary places, such as airports or restaurants, or follow people in a specific profession.

Docusoaps starring celebrities[edit]

This genre, launched most successfully by music channel MTV, follows a camera crew into the lives of celebrities.

Financial transactions and appraisals[edit]

Extraordinary people[edit]

Structured reality[edit]

The Primetime Emmy Awards, which have given an award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program define structured reality shows as shows that "contain consistent story elements that mostly adhere to a recurring structured template."[1]

Historical re-creation[edit]

This genre takes modern-day contestants and puts them in the lifestyle of historical people or places.


In this genre, couples or singles are brought together in dating or romantic situations.


This increasingly popular genre features ordinary people having home or lifestyle makeovers with the assistance of professionals.

Lifestyle change[edit]

Here, ordinary people experience an extraordinary change in their environments or occupations.

Fantasies fulfilled[edit]

Video cameras/hidden camera[edit]

This is perhaps the oldest reality show genre, popular as far back as the early days of television.

Reality game shows/reality "playoffs"[edit]

main article: Reality game show

This, the biggest and most successful reality genre, features contestants who compete for prizes, while often living together in close quarters. They usually feature the elimination of contestants until a winner is chosen. Sometimes they are considered to be "reality playoffs" since their format is similar to that of a playoff in sports.

Talent searches[edit]

Often similar to the game show genre in that there are eliminations and a final winner, this genre centers on contestants competing a specific skill or talent, rather than in random challenges.

Before 2000[edit]

2000s premieres[edit]

2010s premieres[edit]

2020s premieres[edit]

Hoax shows[edit]

Reality shows in which one or more participants are tricked into believing they are taking part in a legitimate show when they are actually the victim(s) of a joke. These types of shows are somewhat akin to hidden camera shows.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "66th Primetime Emmy Awards 2013–2014 Rules and Procedures" (PDF). April 18, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2019.

External links[edit]