The Worst Reality TV Shows Ever Created
If you’ve ever clicked on the TV after a long day in search of a junky show, you’re not alone. Whether you're addicted to The Bachelor or Keeping Up with the Kardashians, you just can’t seem to get enough of the guiltiest of guiltiest pleasures: reality TV.
Sometimes, the whole "reality" part gets a bit confusing, of course, but that just seems to make it even better (or worse?). Tune in to these 30 worst reality TV shows ever created to enjoy some laughter, some disgust and every emotion in between. Some are no longer on the air, but that’s what streaming is for!
Rock of Love
Whether you love hair bands or not, Bret Michaels isn't exactly an A-list celebrity anymore. However, that didn’t stop dozens of young women from vying for his attention on Rock of Love. Created in July 2007, the former lead singer of Poison literally made women jump through hoops for him.
The craziest part is that this nonsensical show lasted a whopping three seasons, spanning a period of two years. Even better, he was offered the chance to film the wacky show for a fourth season, but he had to turn it down due to the filming of a second show he did for VH1.
My Super Sweet 16
When you turn on the TV and switch to MTV's My Super Sweet 16, you're carried away into an alternate world of privileged teens with too much money and too little time to spend it. (Must be tough, right?) With famous celebrity parents, these teens are lavished with expensive gifts like new cars and intimate backstage passes to meet their favorite artists.
The best part is the show didn’t just feature teen girls. In fact, several young men made appearances on the show to celebrate their special day in style. From Quinceaneras to debutante balls, this show had everything from glitz and glamour to temper tantrums.
Toddlers & Tiaras
Toddlers & Tiaras will forever go down in history as one of the most controversial reality TV shows of all time. Starring young girls dressed up in fancy clothes and heels and sporting pounds of makeup, this show focused on the age-old tradition of child beauty pageants. Featured from December 2008 to October 2013, this TLC show spent years on the shelf after its first season.
However, Toddlers & Tiaras was relaunched as Another Toddlers & Tiaras a mere three years later. Diving deep into the personal lives of the families, this kooky show was canceled in late 2016 but still entertains via streaming.
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo single-handedly changed America during the early 2000s. Aired by TLC, this child beauty pageant show followed the lives of Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Thompson and her family. Of course, Honey Boo Boo originally got her start on the show mentioned above, Toddlers & Tiaras.
Her individual star rose as her show grew in popularity from 2012 to 2014. In fact, Honey Boo Boo and Mama June stole the nation's attention with their riveting — also bumbling — adventures around McIntyre, Georgia. It's a real shame critics didn't like this show!
The Real Housewives
Premiering in March 2006, The Real Housewives franchise first entered the scene with its flagship show, The Real Housewives of Orange County. Documenting the so-called "real lives" of several ultra-wealthy women, this hilarious show quickly expanded to include women in New York City, Atlanta and New Jersey.
The bizarre success didn’t stop there, and shows were later added for Washington, D.C., Beverly Hills, Miami, Potomac and Dallas as well as several international cities. In short, the shows take you on a thrilling ride inside lives filled with as much high drama as there is high society. No matter which one you choose, it’s so bad — it's good!
Released in late 2010, you can thank A&E Network's Storage Wars for showing the world how valuable your boxes of junk could really be. Here's how it goes: When someone fails to pay on their storage unit for several months, the items inside are auctioned to a hungry crowd of vulturous buyers.
This zany reality TV show follows several eager buyers as they go through dusty lockers in search of rare and priceless items. At the end of the show, they tally up their seemingly worthless items to see who racked up the most dough. It gives you eternal hope of finding some rare Pound Puppies in your attic.
Wife Swap was recently renewed for its 11th season, which is further proof that America has super low standards when it comes to entertainment. ABC's Wife Swap first shocked the world in 2004 with its morally questionable premise: Two families from completely different backgrounds swap wives and mothers for a period of two weeks.
Intended to flip family dynamics on its head, Wife Swap usually exchanged an extra tidy woman with an extremely messy substitute. Better yet, some episodes featured a swap of a meat-eating wife with a vegan fanatic. Needless to say, hilarity ensued every single time!
A weekly indulgence for many, Cheaters is an American reality TV show with a hidden camera twist. Investigating the shady lives of supposed cheaters, host Bobby Goldstein's entire job is to catch adulterer's in the act of cheating on their spouses. Currently airing on The CW Plus, Cheaters is fueled by angry partners who are convinced their significant others are sneaking around behind their backs.
Starting with a painfully awkward interview with an upset, suspicious spouse, this show follows investigators as they spend several weeks spying on a potentially cheating partner. It gets worse: They even put hidden cameras in the cheater's home!
Another hidden camera reality TV show, Punk'd originally starred Ashton Kutcher as a master celebrity prankster in 2003. Shown on MTV, this Candid Camera knockoff featured Kutcher pulling the wool over the eyes of multiple celebrities, including Beyonce.
Kutcher even recruited other famous stars like B.J. Novak and Dax Shepard as accomplices on his ridiculously childish show. What happened down the line was even crazier: BET rebooted the show on one of its new networks. From stealing Frankie Muniz's custom Porsche to convincing Justin Timberlake he was under arrest, Punk'd really did take some insane pranks to the next level.
Big Brother is quite possibly the creepiest, most intrusive reality TV show ever aired. Originally filmed in the Netherlands, this up-close-and-personal program shows contestants who live in a remote house, completely cut off from the rest of the world. As if that's not creepy enough, they're constantly monitored 24-hours-a-day by cameras and microphones that are just out of their eyesight and earshot.
Each week, the members vote one another off the show until there's only one "house guest" left standing. The reward for participating in this voyeuristic project is a meager cash prize. How nice!
RuPaul's Drag Race
For those who are unaware, RuPaul's Drag Race is a hot mess of a show starring famous drag queen RuPaul and his colorful contestants. During the show, RuPaul mentors wannabee drag queens on the art of being fierce and fabulous. Every week, a panel of judges, including Santino Rice and Michelle Visage, judge the drag divas on how they walk, talk and rock the runway.
Spanning 11 seasons to-date, RuPaul's Drag Race has even spawned two equally ridiculous spin-off shows, RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars and RuPaul's Drag U. This crazy show has also expanded to Australia, Canada and Israel.
90 Day Fiancé
Proving that there's truly no such thing as "happily ever after," 90 Day Fiancé is part documentary, part reality TV show. Featured by TLC, the show follows random couples who are forced to marry each other within a super tight timeline in order to fix their visa issues. Incredibly, some of the unlucky couples only have five days to get to know each other before walking down the aisle together.
In other cases, the would-be spouses agree to marry each other after only communicating online for a couple of months. What's even more unbelievable is that this atrocious — and what about potentially illegal? — show has spawned several spin-offs!
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
This goes without saying, but Keeping Up with the Kardashians is one of the most pointless shows to ever air on television. Starring scandalous reality TV star Kim Kardashian, this show started off following the vain members of the Kardashian family and now follows Kim's marriage to Kanye West and her relationship with family members like Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian.
If that’s not enough, you also get the ultra snobby Jenner side, which includes Kylie, Kendall, Kris and now Caitlyn (formerly Bruce). Beyond the bored sisters texting each other and checking their social media accounts, this program is the ultimate display of luxury and privilege, minus the talent.
Starting in early 2005, Love Island became a staple gossip reality TV show in the United Kingdom. Starring washed-up celebrities on a stranded island, the show was filled with competition, drama and — you guessed it — drunk, sloppy love. This was just what America ordered, and CBS quickly demanded an American version of the show to be released in late 2018.
It would be a lie to say the show wasn't incredibly entertaining, but it was captivating for all the wrong reasons. Fueled by alcohol, the cast was enough to make you hurl your remote at your TV — while sipping your own Mai Tai, of course.
Starring the surprisingly lackluster host Chris Harrison, The Bachelor is another reality TV show that just doesn't make any sense. Every season features a grossly ineligible bachelor having the time of his life choosing from a bevy of beauties willing to fight for him when they don't even know him. Sure. The worst part? The couple rarely stays together after the cameras stop rolling. That’s what you call time wasted.
Despite this ironic fact, The Bachelor has inspired several more incredibly shallow spin-offs, including Bachelor in Paradise, Bachelor Pad and The Bachelorette. Not to mention awful reboots like The Bachelor Winter Games and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise. "Yuck" doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Paris Hilton's My New BFF
Paris Hilton's My New BFF is dedicated to lonely souls who feel like a superstar best friend is a must-have. Created in 2008, this tacky reality TV program followed 16 girls and three boys as they competed to become Paris' right-hand confidante. Paris added a host of irrelevant guests like Benji Madden, Perez Hilton and Dirt Nasty to the show as well.
Clearly, Paris Hilton's relationship with her first bestie didn't last forever, considering the program was renewed for a second season in June 2009. As for her original BFF, Paris says: "Sometimes people get too caught up, and they change."
The Anna Nicole Smith Show
First of all, rest in peace to Anna Nicole Smith. Remembered as a prescription-powered diva, Anna Nicole's failed attempts to stay relevant were documented pretty accurately on The Anna Nicole Smith Show. In fact, this early reality TV show was so bad that critics called it "an obscene trainwreck."
Not only did it show Anna Nicole Smith at her absolute worst point, but it gave the world a candid glimpse of her sad, slurring state. Criticized almost immediately, The Anna Nicole Smith Show was marketed by E! as the following: "It’s not supposed to be funny — it just is!" How true that was.
Okay, raise your hand if you became obsessed with this disastrous show when it first aired in December 2009. As a spin-off of 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom gave the world the gift of more time with Farrah Abraham, Maci Bookout, Catelynn Lowell and Amber Portwood. Together, America cringed as these young girls fumbled through the rites of adulthood and parenthood with the whole nation watching.
In case you missed it, the show even added Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin, to the crew of wayward women in 2018, but she announced her departure in early 2019. This disastrous show has already spiraled into several sickly entertaining sequels.
In case you didn't know, Jersey Shore was one of the most entertaining reality TV shows of all time — for all the wrong reasons. Starting in December 2009, this train wreck of a show ran all the way until 2012. In the meantime, America fell in love with original cast members like Snooki, Vinny, Jenni, Pauly D and Mike the Situation.
Set on the lovely shores of New Jersey, the show followed the cast doing their favorite thing: GTL (gym, tan, laundry). When they weren't getting shredded at the gym, they were either starting drama at the house or tanning at the beach.
Born in the Wild
If you’re familiar with the concept, you can probably agree that Born in the Wild is the most dangerous reality TV show ever filmed. If not, the whole premise of the show revolves around sending an expectant couple into the wild to have a "natural birthing experience" with Mother Nature as a midwife. With no medical experts or modern medicine on hand, the couple is forced to successfully deliver their baby in the middle of nowhere.
It's no wonder that this irresponsible show has been criticized by real-life doctors for its risky birthing method. Considering the program's suspense is based on a life or death scenario, it's only for those who like some cruelty with their entertainment.
Britney and Kevin: Chaotic
If you missed Britney and Kevin: Chaotic in 2005, you're not alone. The amazingly short-lived series only lasted for five episodes. If you're wondering who to blame for this terribly tasteless reality TV show, you can thank director Anthony E. Zuiker.
Starring then-married Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, the ill-fated show was only aired on UPN for less than 30 days. During that brief window, the world was given an inside look at Britney and Kevin's malfunctioning relationship. Called "career suicide" by critics, this show was a new low for Spears during a time when she had a lot of lows.
For the Love of Ray J
There's a reason so many viewers tuned in week after week to watch For the Love of Ray J. Similar to Rock of Love, I Love New York and Flavor of Love, the show supposedly centered around Ray J falling for the love of his life.
About the egocentric show, Ray J said: "I've been with a lot of women, but I'm ready to get out. I want to do this show to find a ride or die chick, a chick that makes me want to get out of the game." How charming! What a shocker that he failed to find a suitable "chick" across two seasons.
My Fair Brady
For those who haven't seen this corny show yet, Christopher Knight of The Brady Bunch falls in love with his much younger wife, Adrianne Curry. While it was arguably another gold-digging celebrity marriage, Knight and Curry attempted to show the world their love was real when they first met on another reality TV show, The Surreal Life.
Of course, Knight and Curry had to pitch their "age-inappropriate" relationship to the producers of The Surreal Life, who promptly had the couple sign a contract. Originally called Beauty and the Brady, this boring show was an absolute flop. Apparently, nothing beats The Brady Bunch!
Dating Naked is a scandalous VH1 show that debuted in 2014. Centered around contestants who spend their days completely in the nude, the program features rugged participants surviving on an island in a remote location. As if this wasn't strange enough, the show was expanded to a second season in the Philippines. Called Dating Naked: Playing for Keeps, the second season was filled with more — you guessed it — unabashed nudity.
For season three, the naked gang relocated to a location in Bora Bora, where the nudist-friendly survivalists continued to bare it all for the world to see. Thankfully, this exhibitionist show was canceled.
Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People
If you haven't seen Are You Hot? The Search for America's Sexiest People, you're in for an incredibly narcissistic treat if you watch it. Hosted by questionably attractive judges Randolph Duke, Rachel Hunter and Lorenzo Lamas, the show paraded hopeful contestants across the stage for America to cruelly critique.
With some moments that bordered on body shaming, this egocentric show scoured the nation for the sexiest people in America. After failing miserably in the ratings department, the show was thankfully canceled after just one season. Howard Stern later sued the program, claiming they stole the idea from his radio talk show. That sounds about right.
The Moment of Truth
The Moment of Truth is truly one of the most embarrassing reality TV programs ever created. Based on the Colombian show called Nothing but the Truth, the American version made awkward contestants answer a series of increasingly personal questions in pursuit of a cash prize.
With Mark L. Walberg as the host, this tremendous failure of a reality TV show was canceled after about a year. Although FOX tried to keep the sinking ship afloat, the audience became more and more uncomfortable with the nature of the questions. Surprisingly, one female contestant revealed that she cheated on her partner!
I Wanna Marry Harry
You know and love Prince Harry, of course, but this show didn’t feature the real British royal. Starring a red-headed lookalike named Matthew Hicks, the show led the brainless contestants to believe that the imposter was the real Prince Harry. After four ridiculous episodes, ABC pulled the show from the air.
Here's the thing. The four unaired episodes of this insane show are available to watch online. So, if you have a thing for Prince Harry lookalikes and women who are easily fooled, this show could be right up your alley. As for the opinions of most viewers, thank goodness it was over quickly!
House of Carters
Think about it: Aaron Carter and Nick Carter basically ruled in the early 2000s in the pop music department. So, maybe it's only natural they would decide to create a joint reality TV show called House of Carters. Part documentary, part digital junk food, this E! show gave us a behind the scenes look at former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter and his life with his family in Los Angeles.
Premiering in late 2006, Aaron and Nick Carter tried to show the world the meaning of family in between Nick’s recording of the sixth Backstreet Boys album called Unbreakable. After eight episodes, the show was done.
Flavor of Love
Flavor Flav's monstrous show, Flavor of Love, was equal parts entertaining and horrifying. Starring aging hip hop star Flavor Flav as an object of affection, several women tried to outdo each other to catch his attention and, ultimately, his heart.
Basically an exploitative show, some viewers questioned if Flavor Flav's romances with his contestants were even real. At the very least, you can definitely say Flavor Flav enjoyed being the center of attention of countless women. Although he didn't seem to find love, he sure had some fun trying. In the end, maybe that’s all that really matters to viewers of this type of show.
The Ashlee Simpson Show
Don't worry if you don't remember watching The Ashlee Simpson Show. Starring pop singer Jessica Simpson's little sister, the show mostly documented Ashlee shopping and singing her heart out. Unfortunately, Ashlee Simpson just didn't have much going for her in terms of musical talent.
Of course, she doesn’t see things that way. In fact, Ashlee Simpson was once quoted as saying, "I have those songs as well. It depends on what I'm going through in my life, but I'm a huge fan of Bjork. Sometimes I get so emotional because she's so amazing."