Five Reality Shows That Changed Pop Culture

Five Reality Shows That Changed Pop Culture

Rather you love it or hate it, reality T.V. is here to stay. When the genre exploded onto the masses in the early 2000’s, viewers and critics alike panned it as a passing fad that would disappear as quickly as it arrived. Now, nearly fifteen years later, the impact that reality T.V. has had on popular culture is undeniable and is a force to be reckoned with in the weekly ratings. Here, we take a look at five reality shows have impacted popular culture as we know it today.

5. The Hills (2006, MTV)
Stars: Lauren “L.C.” Conrad, Heidi Montag, Audrina Partridge, and Spencer Pratt
Premise: A series chronicling the lives of a group of 20-somethings living in L.A. while learning about life, love, careers, friendship and how to ask questions without reading from a script.
The Scoop: After six seasons, the “reality” series revealed what fans suspected all along; it wasn’t actually real. The entire thing was scripted as shown in the final minutes when the overly dramatic scene was revealed to be nothing more than a Hollywood set. The joke was clearly on us.
And Then…: Many stars of “The Hills” have gone on to bigger and better things. Lauren “Don’t-Call-Me-‘L.C.’” Conrad is now a best selling author and fashion designer, while show “villains” Heidi and Spencer Pratt (the two were married during the shows run) have appeared in numerous other reality shows including the U.K.’s “Celebrity Big Brother.”

4. The Osbournes (2002, MTV)
Stars: Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne, Jack Osbourne, Kelly Osbourne
Premise: A look into the not-so-glamorous family life of rock legend Ozzy Osbourne and all of their hilarious hijinks. F*#$ Yeah!
The Scoop: The breakout hit for MTV gave viewers the chance to be a fly on the wall to one of rock and roll’s most famous families. What was surprising was just how “normal” they were. They fought, they cursed, they made up, they laughed, they cursed, they went to the grocery store, they cursed some more. There was also that one time when Sharon threw a ham at their neighbors for being too loud.
And Then…: Oddly enough, Ozzy, the most famous Osbourne prior to filming, has been in the public eye the least out of the family since the series wrapped its four season run in 2005. Family matriarch, Sharon is one of the co-hosts on the syndicated daytime talk show “The Talk,” Kelly is a panelist E!’s “Fashion Police,” and Jack Osbourne has been in the limelight again due to his recent diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS).

3. The Bachelor (2002, ABC)
Stars: Chris Harrison (Host), Alex Michel (Season 1), Bob Guiney (Season 4), Jesse Palmer (Season 5), Jake Pavelka (Season 14)
The Premise: Right around the time of the reality T.V. explosion, ABC got in the game by debuting “The Bachelor.” A take on old dating game shows from decades past, the show centers around one man (the bachelor) choosing from a pool of single women all vying for his affection. At the end of each episode, The Bachelor gives a rose to the women he would like to stay on the show and the ones who do not receive a rose are eliminated and sent home.
The Scoop: The show was an instant success for ABC, and spawned two spinoff shows: “The Bachelorette,” and “Bachelor Pad.”
And Then…: Although each season ends with the bachelor choosing a woman he would like to propose to, the show has not seen much success in lasting relationships. Most couples formed from the show part ways not longer after the airing of their season.

2. American Idol (2002, FOX)
Stars: Ryan Seacrest (Host seasons 1-12), Brian Dunkleman (Judge season 1), Simon Cowell (Judge seasons 1-9), Paula Abdul (Judge seasons 1-8), Randy Jackson (Judge seasons 1-12), Kara DioGuardi (Judge seasons 8-9), Ellen DeGeneres (Judge season 9), Jennifer Lopes (Judge seasons 10-11), Steven Tyler (Judge seasons 10-11), Nicki Minaj (Judge season 12), Mariah Carey (Judge season 12), Keith Urban (Judge season 12).
Premise: 10-12 aspiring musicians sing live and are judged (sometimes rather harshly) by a panel of industry professionals. One by one, the American audience votes someone out of the competition until only one remains to be crowned the American Idol.
The Scoop: “Idol” has been a saving grace for the FOX network, which was struggling to find solid programming. For 12 years the reality competition has been a ratings juggernaut, consistently winning its timeslot in total viewers rating shares.
And Then…: While approximately 10,000 hopefuls auditioned for the flagship season, later seasons would see over 100,000 turnouts all vying to be named the American Idol. The show has launched the careers of several current stars including Grammy award winners Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, who also won an Academy Award for her role in the feature film “Dreamgirls.”

1. Survivor (2000, CBS)
Stars: Jeff Probst (Host), Richard Hatch, Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, Rob Cesternino, Russell Hantz, Kim Spradlin, Colby Donaldson, Sandra Diaz-Twine
Premise: 20 people, 39 days, 1 survivor. 16-20 people (depending on the season) are stranded on a deserted island with limited food and supplies (usually a bag of rice and a machete) and must compete against each other (first in two tribes and then later merged as one tribe), while also battling starvation and the harsh elements. At the end of each episode, one castaway is voted off of the island until only one remains to be named the sole survivor and claim the $1 million dollar prize.
The Scoop: The show was a massive success and is credited for ushering in the reality T.V. craze. The second season “Survivor: The Australian Outback’s” final episode was watched by more than 50 million people and was the top rated television show of 2001.
And Then…: While the show is no longer the cultural phenomenon it once was, it still consistently finishes in the top 20 each week and has helped establish reality T.V. as a mainstay in the homes of families around the country. Several well-known names owe a great deal of their success to the show including Jeff Probst who has won multiple Emmy awards for his duties as host. As well as Elisabeth Hasselbeck who is a cohost on ABC’s “The View” with Barbara Walters.


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