If you own a television, you are exposed to programming that falls into the realm of “reality shows.”  These are programs that are, for the most part, scripted and, in some cases, purely fiction.  I guess that our lives have become so meaningless that we have to tune into someone else’s lives that were media manipulated to falsely grant them celebrity status.  It is the biggest media scam in the world.

It works like this:  TV executives create an artificial program to attract viewers; they attempt to attract more viewers by creating interesting and compelling storylines using staged and scripted dialogue.  They then use other media outlets to miraculously elevate the characters to household star status through other TV programming, magazines, newspapers and other social media.  This creates more interest and more viewers; resulting in greater income for these same TV executives.  If you like to watch made-up TV programming, keep watching and if not…quit watching these shows and get a life.

If you believe that this is a small issue, I have listed 342 “reality shows” that have appeared on television programming in the United States.  This does not include those shows that appear on television in foreign countries or aired prior to 2001.  I have listed them by genre, starting in 2001 along with the year that the program first aired.


Documentary style (63 total)

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.


Historical re-creation (8 total)

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

Science (3 total)

This genre documents scientific analysis or exploration firsthand.

Dating (46 total)

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

Law Enforcement/Military (12 total)


Makeover (20 total)

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

Lifestyle change (20 total)

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

Fantasies fulfilled (5 total)

Docusoaps starring celebrities (39 total)

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

Hidden camera (10 total)

Perhaps the oldest reality show genre, popular as far back as the early days of television.

List of reality game shows/reality “playoffs” (35 total)

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. Usually, they feature the eliminations 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 (62 total)

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.

Spoofs (9 total)

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.

Parodies (10 total)

While not reality TV in the proper sense, these scripted parody shows reflect the level of pop culture status that reality TV has achieved.