1. Survivor

Survivor premiered on CBS in May, 2000. The premise was new and exciting. A cast of strangers would be sent to a remote location. They would live without modern luxuries while competing for a $1 million prize. Survivor’s success lead to adventure-fueled reality TV competitions like the Amazing Race and The Mole.

2. The Bachelor

The Bachelor premiered in 2002 and took the dating game to a whole new level. Viewers couldn’t look away while watching hearts get broken every week – and they were surprisingly optimistic when weeks of drama and dating led to those tear-jerking proposals. The Bachelor led to plenty of copycat dating shows, from Fox’s The Littlest Groom to current cable shows like For the Love of Ray-J.


3. The Osbournes

Before The Osbournes premiered in 2002, celebrity worshipers would learn about the lives of their favorite stars by reading tabloid magazines or watching occasional TV interviews. Then, Ozzy Osbourne and his wife Sharon Osbourne did something that many celebrities would not have been brave enough to do. They welcomed MTV into their home, allowing reality TV cameras to film their everyday lives. The list of celebrity reality shows that followed The Osbournes now seems endless.


4. American Idol

American Idol made its debut in 2002. Aspiring singers would compete each week in front of a panel of judges. Only the best contestants would move forward as the competition continued each week. But American Idol offered much more entertainment than that. Unlike TV talent shows before it, Idol invited viewers into the audition process from the very beginning. American Idol quickly became must-see TV and it’s no surprise the format has been attempted on several other reality shows in the past decade.

5. The Apprentice

The Apprentice premiered in the winter of 2004, and with two little words uttered by "the Donald," the show became one of the year’s biggest hits. “You’re fired” became the catchphrase of an addictive show that made even the most cut-throat workplaces look like a walk in the park. Backstabbing, betrayal, and one brutally-honest boss was the formula for success on The Apprentice. The Apprentice may have influenced other work-related reality TV competitions such as Hell’s Kitchen.

6. Laguna Beach

It was hard to tell when MTV’s Laguna Beach premiered in 2004, using a new approach to reality TV that would later be duplicated on hit shows like The Hills and The Real Housewives franchise. Some refer to this type of reality show as a docusoap. Docusoaps play out like scripted TV dramas and the players are shown in situations that often dramatize or glamorize real life.


7. Project Runway

When Bravo announced In 2004 that it would air a reality show about aspiring fashion designers, it wasn't exactly guaranteed that the show would be a hit. Did enough people even care about the fashion world to tune in? It turns out that it didn’t matter. Project Runway proved that whether it’s a show about fashionistas or dog groomers, viewers will tune in if there are enough colorful personalities and drama ever week. Top Chef is just one example of the successful shows that followed Project Runway.

8. Dancing With the Stars

Dancing with the Stars became an instant hit when it debut in the summer of 2005. There was something about a celebrity two-stepping out their comfort zone that appealed to viewers who were hungry for something new. It led to popular So You Think You Can Dance show nowadays.

9. Flavor of Love


We have already put another dating competition on this list. And yes, The Bachelor is indeed the daddy of all love-related reality shows. But the dating competition Flavor of Love makes our list for another reason. The VH1 reality show, which premiered in winter 2006, gave birth to a new breed of reality TV – the trashy kind on which drunk, brawling babes and x-rated hot tub scenes are the norm.

10. Jon & Kate Plus 8

Jon & Kate Plus 8, which premiered on the Discovery network in 2007, followed Jon and Kate Gosselin, their twin daughters, and their young octuplets. Since the success of Jon & Kate Plus 8, we’ve been seeing a lot more reality shows chronicling the lives of non-celebrities. Shows such as Little People, Big World, which follows a family that is affected by dwarfism, and Ruby, which follows a morbidly obese woman, are some of the latest examples.

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Funny cartoon of the day

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