Reality shows tend to cater to viewers who enjoy watching drama and conflict between real-life people. In the early days of reality television programming, shows were real. Gradually, reality programs used scripted segments and scenes were “pushed” into a direction that producers felt made the most impact. Cut to today where it’s difficult to ascertain what's "real" and fake in reality TV.
No matter which way a show goes, some of them air longer than necessary. It seems after a reality program admits that they’ve manufactured their content, it increases their viewership. It’s okay to admit you watch a certain reality show simply to see what ridiculousness is going to come next.
On the other hand, there are some current reality TV shows that should no longer be on. They’ve run their course, rehashing the same type of drama season after season. Just because the show moves to a different city doesn’t mean you’ll witness different conflicts, interactions, and story ines.
Most reality shows barely make it past one or two seasons, but some on this list made it a decade or more. Others are still on the air. There are also some recent programs that provide no value to the current television landscape, so they need to go.
Here are 10 Reality Shows That Went On Too Long (And 5 That Need To Go).
15 Too Long - The Apprentice
The Apprentice was the ultimate “job interview” TV show. Each season, about sixteen participants competed in business-related contests. Hopefully, well enough to make it to the next round. The final prize? A job in the Trump Corporation, running one of his companies. The show ran in different varieties for 15 seasons and spawned Donald Trump’s famous catchphrase, “You’re fired!”
Spin-offs included The Celebrity Apprentice, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, and more recently, The New Celebrity Apprentice hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like many of the shows on this list, The Apprentice slowly became trite and the same each season, relying on drama to propel its ratings. Many of the contestants in later seasons seemed to try too hard and were over-the-top.
Plus, the winners never really got a job as outlined by the show: they became PR representatives. So, what was the purpose of the show?
14 Too Long - American Chopper
For 6 seasons, the team of Paul Teutful Senior and Paul Teutful Junior (known as Paulie) created custom chopper-like motorcycles for consumers and celebrities, including NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. But the number of legal issues and one particular argument didn’t immediately end the show.
Legal problems stemmed from two sources. First, Justin Barnes, an artist, filed a suit claiming his original designs were used on merchandise without his permission.
After Cody Connelly left the show in 2007, he sued the Paul Sr. For “misappropriation of likeness, breach of contract, and fraud.” The show used his likeness in posters and other merchandise, and never received the promised “old school chopper” that Paul Sr. told Connelly would be his.
In 2008, Paul Jr. Was fired from the show for an explosive argument between him and his father. It makes us wonder if building those motorcycles was worth it.
13 Needs To Go - The Bachelor/The Bachelorette
It’s time to stage an intervention with The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and any more future spin-offs. The two base shows have been on for 22 and 13 seasons respectively. Other related shows include Bachelor Pad, Bachelor in Paradise, and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise.
At first, The Bachelor offered a unique method in selecting a significant other, but now it’s time for The Bachelor/Bachelorette to go. 2009 should have been the end after participants revealed some behind-the-scenes “magic.”
Contestant Megan Parris stated the producers edited footage to create fake story lines and “bullied” contestants into saying certain things to the camera. One Bachelor said in an interview the producers told him they “need their fair share of villains every season.” Even the latest season seems more about promoting Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s professional racing brand.
12 Too Long - Jon & Kate Plus 8
It’s easy to criticize a show like Jon & Kate Plus 8 for airing even one episode. The mere idea for the show - following around a married couple with sets of multiples - is wrought with potential family problems. And that’s eventually why the show ended.
One of the main issues viewers had with the show is the children’s involvement.
They appeared to be pawns for Jon and Kate to further each others personal interests. When Jon left Kate (which turned the show’s name to Kate Plus 8), the children were put in the middle of an intense custody and marital battle. There are plenty of rumors that claimed Kate wanted to have sets of multiples to get a show and become famous.
Currently, there are intermittent seasons of varying length, which hopefully means the show is on its way out.
11 Too Long - 19 Kids and Counting
19 Kids and Counting ran for 10 seasons before a scandal ended its run, which probably could have gone longer. The show was one of TLC’s top-viewed programs, but that doesn’t make it good.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are devout Baptists with 19 children - 9 girls and 10 boys. The show focused on their daily life and struggles with such a large family. At first, the idea for the show was intriguing, but not much changed from season to season, with the exception of the addition of 3 more children and 4 grandchildren. Many viewers got tired of their beliefs, often wondering if they practiced what they portrayed on television.
19 Kids and Counting was canceled following an apology from Josh Duggar on the report he was an abuser.
10 Needs To Go - Teen Moms
Teen Moms began as a spin-off to 16 and Pregnant, where the girls featured in the latter show were the focus of the former. Teen Moms is currently in its seventh season, but how long is too long?
Now that cast members are beyond their teen years, it make no sense to keep a show on the air originally meant to showcase teen moms. It’s clear that using most of the same cast members of the original Teen Mom is meant to create the most drama. You can’t fault MTV for continuing to use teens that were the most popular and had the most issues both inside and outside their family.
But it’s time for the young women to move on and live somewhat normal lives, and to let the kids grow up and have a childhood.
9 Too Long - Ghosthunters
The SyFy version of Ghosthunters lasted 11 seasons from 2004 to 2016, plus special episodes. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson were paranormal investigators who staked out places purported to be haunted. Before the show, the two hosts were plumbers for Roto-Rooter. They moonlighted as paranormal hunters during off-hours.
Fans have enjoyed the combination of interpersonal drama and paranormal investigation, but many of the investigations has been highly criticized and debunked, especially in the usage of and data collected from the “paranormal” equipment the crew uses. The tools (like infrared thermometers)are not used correctly, and no actual evidence has ever been shown or given proving the existence of the events that happened in the show.
Wilson has said their contract “forbade them from faking evidence on the show.” Regardless, Ghosthunters went on for unbelievably long.
8 Too Long - Cheaters
Cheaters is a reality show like an accident on the side of the road. It’s hard not to see what’s going on.
The show takes the suspicions of a significant other and investigates the suspect like a detective would. The suspect is followed and taped - video and audio. When evidence of infidelity surfaces, the host confronts the cheater, and then mediates a interaction between the partner and suspect. The potential amount of drama and turmoil is obvious and hard to look away from.
This reality program has had its share of controversy, including some people on the show who were paid actors.
Other problems arose when some of the cast - the director and security guards - were charged with restraining a woman. And those are some of the tame issues!
Cheaters is pure entertainment - staged or real - that has remained on the air for far too much time.
7 Needs To Go - Big Brother
If there’s one show that has become too predictable in recent years, it’s Big Brother. Groups of contestants live in a house together and compete in physical and mental challenges to become the “last person standing.” The show has been on since 2000 and has spawned quite a few spin-offs. The franchise even has an exclusive CBS Access version that is essentially the same except for the shorter 10-week season.
Big Brother seems like it’s scripted to the point where viewers know who’s going to hook up with who, what people are going to have the most conflict, and who is returning to the house simply to cause problems. Also, the same people return seasons later. Shouldn’t fans get to know a new group each time?
Participants have reported incidents of harassment and bullying between them, but the show continues.
6 Too Long - Jersey Shore
Jersey Shore ran for 6 seasons, but that’s 5 seasons too many. The show focused on 8 roommates living on the Jersey Shore during the summer. In later seasons, they moved to different locations. The show’s cast was heavily stereotyped as Italian-Americans, despite a couple of the members who were not Italian. Also, a few of the cast members were not even from the Jersey Shore area. Right away, the show began on lies.
Each episode seemed to have more drama between the cast than it could handle.
Fights, vulgar language, and constant attempts to hookup drove the storylines for many seasons. Jersey Shore gave use household names in “Pauly D,” “JWoww,” and “Snooki,” but contributed nothing positive to the Italian-American community or television in general.
You can catch a reunion series, Jersey Shore Family Vacation, airing on MTV in April 2018.
5 Too Long - Mob Wives
Running for 6 seasons, Mob Wives was about a group of Staten Island women dealing with their lives after husbands or other family members were arrested and jailed for alleged crimes tied to the Mafia.
The first season of the show had good ratings and reviews, but was essentially The Real Housewives on adrenaline. Later seasons had critics and viewers wondering why the show was still on the air.
Many felt the show glorified the Mafia mentality.
Relatives of victims that have been killed by family members of the cast have called the show disgraceful and suggested that certain members need to crawl into a hole and stay out of the limelight.
Unfortunately, Mob Wives ended on a sad note. About a month after the season 6 premiere, wife Angela Raiola died from throat cancer and pneumonia.
4 Needs To Go - Real World
Real World (also known as The Real World for a short time) is considered the show that birthed the modern reality program.
Inspired by the 1973 documentary An American Family, Real World dealt with common problems young men and women faced as they made the transition into adulthood. However, as the seasons hit double digits, and more reality shows entered the television fray, producers opted to focus on bad behavior and immaturity to keep the show relevant.
In doing so, it went from a realistic portrayal of young life to “guided” and scripted, which are two complaints of many modern reality programs. With 32 seasons and a couple of spin-offs (Road Rules and The Challenge), it does seem that if Real World returned to its roots, it could last for some time. But continuing as it is now, Real World doesn’t deserve another season.
3 Too Long - The Biggest Loser
For 17 seasons, The Biggest Loser transformed overweight participants through competition. The winner was the one who lost the most body weight percentage in relation to their total weight. The show hasn’t been officially canceled, but numerous scandals and controversies have prevented the show from continuing.
While it looked like the contestants enjoy a healthy regime of eating and exercise, many critics disagreed. Doctors and health experts claimed the procedures used in the show were unhealthy. In 2016, allegations against the producers have stated the contestants were malnourished, dehydrated, and over-exercised to lose as much weight as possible.
It had been reported that diet pills were given to the participants.
Finally, one of the biggest complains about the show comes after the contestants are done with the show. Many of them put some, all, or even more weight back on after the show's filming was over.
2 Too Long - Road Rules
In the middle of its 12-year run, Road Rules was nominated for an Emmy award. The show was a spin-off of The Real World where a small group of men and women travel in an RV solving clues and completing missions. The participants have their money taken away and only live in the RV.
Road Rules is one of those shows where once you experience one season, you know what to expect from then on: live in an RV, solve clues, complete missions. That’s the crux of the show, and it rarely changed. The locales each season were unique and interesting, but beyond that, the show could have been canceled after the Emmy nod with no one the wiser.
MTV has stated that the show is not in production, but the production company hasn’t said whether that mean the show was canceled or not.
1 Needs To Go - Toddlers & Tiaras
It’s obvious why Toddlers & Tiaras is a reality show that definitely needs to go. There’s no denying that beauty pageants are extremely popular, but when Toddlers & Tiara premiered, it drew immediate ire from viewers, who seemed most angry at the moms in the show.
One major complaint was the way the children were dressed - often inapprorpiately, with massive amounts of make-up. It made them look ridiculous and on display like a show-ponies. Most can agree that the parents were living through the kids to compensate for something they never achieved. Whether it’s for wealth, fame, or infamy, many of the kids are exploited.
However, few of the kids understood what they wanted, as evident in the spin-offs Eden’s World and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. In the end, Toddlers & Tiaras was basically about who can create the most drama in the shortest time.
What reality shows do you think went on too long? Or need to go? Let us know in the comments!