QUICK QUESTION: Which Summer Reality Series Do You Admit to Watching?

The sad truth about summer is that it really isn't that much different from the other seasons. While pop culture would have us THINK that summer is basically a three-month beach vacation with tons of margaritas, flattering swimwear, and nonstop frolicking (and who doesn't love a good frolic?), most of us just work the same hours in the same climate-controlled, fluorescent-lit room. You know? It can be hard to appreciate all that sunlight and good times when you're just trying to get those bills paid. That's why summer TV programming is so important: The bright, loud, frequently dumb network offerings are sometimes the greatest indicator that summer is even happening. If we can't actually get to the beach, we may as well watch other people go!

Like every other genre of television, summer reality TV has a wide spectrum of quality. Typically much of it is straight-up garbage (not that there's anything wrong with that!). But some of it actually does have redeeming creative value and could even be considered amazing (lookin' at you, SYTYCD). Because it's already a given that every last one of us has impeccable taste in scripted dramas, it can take a bit of bravery to admit that you hold a summer reality show (or two) near and dear to your heart. So let's do this: Which summer reality shows will YOU admit to watching? Here are some options to help jog your brain (that's a saying, right?):



So You Think You Can Dance


Now in its ninth season, Fox's other reality mainstay was originally conceived as a companion piece to American Idol but never quite achieved the same kind of pop-culture penetration. Which is a shame since this show is actually slightly better in a few of key ways: SYTYCD's dancers are better at dancing than Idol's singers are at singing; the competition itself is as high-profile as dancers will ever get, which guarantees top-shelf talent season after season; and week in and week out we see brand new, original, and occasionally breathtaking choreography (as opposed to hearing a Billy Joel cover for the millionth time). Add to that an engaging roster of guest judges, a truly great host (<3 u Cat Deeley!), and a voting system in which judges actually have power, and So You Think You Can Dance is not only a show I'm unashamed to rave about, it's one of the few summer series I look forward to year-round.



American Ninja Warrior


Summer's seen its share of athletic reality shows ranging from the corny (American Gladiators) to the slightly soul-deadening (Wipeout). But for a few years now, the cable channel G4 has been holding its own American version of the cult Japanese game show Ninja Warrior, the rare athletic competition that prizes nimbleness, quick-thinking, and endurance over brute strength. Noticing the growing audience, NBC's gotten in on the action this year by elongating the early rounds and co-broadcasting the show alongside G4. That's TWICE the coverage! But seriously, this show is a fun one, and it's actually—dare I say it?—inspiring!



Big Brother


Okay Big Brother is obviously something I SHOULD be ashamed to admit I watch, but sorry, the shame just isn't there for me yet. Maybe it's because I snobbishly ignored it until last summer when I accidentally became addicted to the three-hour nightly live feed on Showtime 2? I wasn't even watching the edited CBS primetime episodes, so I rarely had any idea what the house guests were talking about, but still: I was riveted. I love live feeds as a rule—they make me feel like a couch potato Jane Goodall—but it's particularly strange to watch the Big Brother ones. Most of they day everyone sits around staring into the middle distance, but every now and again there's a truly exciting moment where two of them quickly connect eyes and strategize in hushed whispers the second someone leaves the room. I don't know what to tell you, but there may not be a weirder thing on television than Big Brother and I love it.



America's Got Talent


The three series above are my personal admissions, but that's not say there aren't a ton of other widely watched guilty pleasures on the air. America's Got Talent continues to bring in solid ratings for NBC particularly now that Howard Stern has joined the show as a judge. Of all the talent-based reality competitions, AGT is one of the more loud-and-proud fluff exercises (I mean, does anybody even remember its past winners?). But it's still one of the best-produced and frequently fun shows on TV. Credit where credit's due!



Wipeout


The first time I saw Wipeout I couldn't believe it. Was there a huge budget for the CGI removal of bloody noses? I don't care how soft those obstacles are, the human body can only withstand so much! But I will admit my addiction to this show came on strong and flamed out early. After six or so episodes it lost the fun for me and I moved on, but I know a lot of you guys still watch. I ain't judging!



The Bachelorette & Bachelor Pad


I'm gonna be honest, most of my exposure to these shows is limited to Lily Sparks' recaps. But few shows are as devoted to an endless parade of scantily clad himbos 'n bimbos as The Bachelor(ette)(-Pad), and if that doesn't represent summer, then I don't know what does.



Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef


Or maybe you're the kind of person for whom summer means a bleach-blond Brit shouting at chefs? In which case Fox has you COVERED with not one but two Gordon Ramsay-hosted reality competitions. I think there is a difference between Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef, but I'll have to get back to you on that.



Love in the Wild


I'm not even sure what this thing is, but it's back for a second season with unlikely controversy-stoker Jenny McCarthy as its host. I think it involves photogenic young'uns gallivanting around in the jungle before making out over Mai Tais. Maybe you watch it! I don't know.



Any of these new ones?


In addition to the above biggies, there are a couple of possible future guilty pleasures currently on the air. Will you admit to watching Duets, Take Me Out, The Catalina, The Choice, Dogs in the City, or Breaking Pointe? Or what about basic cable novelties like Food Network Star or HGTV DesignStar? And did I miss anything else? There's a lot on! NO WONDER we haven't made it out to the beach yet.



YOUR TURN! Which summer reality series do YOU admit to watching?

Comments (111)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
SYTYCD

I just wish they would stop messing with the format.

I find it sad that DWTS is so popular while SYTYCD struggles with ratings.

Reply
Flag
If reality shows were the only shows on TV, I'd throw my TV out the window. They are

so contrived and phony.
Reply
Flag
None! But hubby likes America's Got Talent.
Reply
Flag
No shame in my game -- I LIVE for Bachelor Pad and Big Brother!
Reply
Flag
SyTyCD: The best reality show ever. Too bad they,ve cut the results episodes.

AGT: It's more like funny/reality... Much better since Howard Stern joined.
Reply
Flag
Okay. Summer reality show guilty party right here.



So You Think You Can Dance-It honestly is quality television. Probably one of the best of the reality show competition things. The people actually have talent. They give Emmy worthy performances.They make you dream of being a dancer. The judges actually know what they are talking about and the choreographers are fantastic.



Big Brother- True guilty pleasure.It's a disaster to see how humanity has devolved over the years but it's like a train wreck. Morbidly fascinating.



AGT- So much talent. So many tearjerk stories. So much craziness. All in one show.



Hells Kitchen/Master Chef- I totally get off on watching Ramsay cuss people out. I can't lie. So the first one is great for that. He's actually mellow and nice on the second one...and that one is a real culinary competition.



Duets- Umm. Robin Thicke, okay?
Reply
Flag
None. Summer or winter. Watched survivor one season, hated it. Will never watch another reality show. The nice thing about that is that there isn't much else on so we dropped cable completely.
Reply
Flag
Love, love, love SYTYCD. Gutted it is no longer on UK TV so have to get my fix via the internet, but still worth making the effort.
Reply
Flag
Hells Kitchen, Masterchef, HGTV Design Star and Food Network Star.
Reply
Flag
SYTYCD is the only one worth watching. So happy it's back!
Reply
Flag
What, no "None of the Above" option?

Reply
Flag
SYTYCD, Breaking Pointe (not to trashy so far, really enjoying it,) Food Network Star & HGTV Design Star pretty well cover me for the summer.
Reply
Flag
I would have been watching American Ninja Warrior, but DirecTV has not comes to terms with G4. So no reality stuff for me.
Reply
Flag
so you think you can dance :) all the way, all summer long
Reply
Flag
opps. "Bachelor shows" ****
Reply
Flag
I watch all those lovely Bachelor...yep, all 3. They're entertaining what can i say...

I also watch AGT(because its not limited to 1 specific talent) and love in the wild.



And ya, I don't really like admitting to most of them... especially the dating ones. Not sure why as I'm clearly not the only one.
Reply
Flag
I watch So You Think You Can Dance, MasterChef, but NOT Hell's Kitchen, and Food Network Star on occasion, one one not on your list, Deadliest Catch, and I've started to watch Breaking Pointe. No dating shows, no singing shows, no housewives shows, and definitely not Big Brother..
Reply
Flag
AGT is the only one I'll watch regularly, as much to watch the judges' reactions to the acts as for the acts themselves. Like fivecentfamily, I enjoy the variety of acts and talents. I've watched a couple eps of American Ninja Warrior, but I'm still undecided.
Reply
Flag
I would not waste one minute on 'reality' TV. It is so unreal.

Watching grass grow, or paint dry is more exciting and fulfilling.
Reply
Flag
AGT is about the only reality show I watch. It's fun and most of the time you can convince yourself that it's actually real. Sometimes the producers make it a bit too obvious that this is more an entertainment show than a true talent competition, but it's still fun to root for your favorite act. I also enjoy the variety of acts which you just don't get with the other competition show out there. I can't stand a full hour of just singing or dancing. With AGT you get a bit of everything, plus the judges are clearly having fun and it shows.



I used to watch Wipeout pretty regularly but the formula is getting tired. The writers are having trouble coming up with new material. I mean after all, how many times can you come up with something funny to say about a hit to the crotch?

Reply
Flag
wipeout and My Big Redneck Vacation
Reply
Flag
So you think you can dance! The best reality show on TV. I also watch Hell's Kitchen.
Reply
Flag
Love SYTYCD been watching since it first came out. Love MasterChef, and Hell's Kitchen. Sometimes watch America's Got Talent. Also watch Food Network Star and sometimes will watch HGTV Design Star.
Reply
Flag
Staff
American Ninja Warrior. Watched 5 hours worth and it flew by.
Reply
Flag
I love Masterchef Australia (the best masterchef!), but the US one is lacking something. Also, SYTYCD. It's brilliant. Big Brother I don't get how anyone can watch. I've tried, and it's so utterly boring, I can never make it through even half the episode. Wipeout I will watch if there is nothing else on TV, but if the weather is nice I'm more likely to just go outside and read a book. HGTV Design Star should get some bigger mention you guys! That show is great! Though I have always loved interior design.
Reply
Flag
I have been watching So You Think You Can Dance for several years with my family.

The dancers combined with professional choreography can be memorable. They make other performance shows look amateurish and embarrassing.

I also enjoy being exposed to some of the music that is used as part of the performances.



I do admit to one truly guilty pleasure - Storage Wars featuring Barry, who elevates the show above trash TV....somewhat. Oh well.

Reply
Flag
thanks, but please don't bring me into this
Reply
Flag
Big Brother. I'm so glad that I don't buy the live feeds because I would be glued to it for no reason. BBAD is enough.
Reply
Flag
None, they're strictly for idiots and channel surfing idiots and people who leave the TV on as ambiance idiots. My next door neighbors watch it constantly and amazingly are only idiots about TV. And when they tell about a great new one OMG I just want to slap them silly. It's all crap, except for maybe... Nope all crap.
Reply
Flag
Gordon Ramsay is doing Masterchef in the US? Damn that would make the BBC version better.
Reply
Flag
Big Brother, Hell's Kitchen...
Reply
Flag
I never watch reality shows but for some reason I love MasterChef, I don't know a damn thing about cooking but I am judging those contestants as if I was a chef of a 5 star restaurant.
Reply
Flag
I use to watch Hell's Kitchen but not anymore. Also use to watch just a little of So You Think You Can Dance. Watched a bit of Master Chef last year but never finished. I do watch some Wipeout and most of America's Got Talent, especially when it gets more competitive.
Reply
Flag
I watch SYTYCD, Ninja Warrior, Big Brother, AGT, Wipeout, Hell's Kitchen and MasterChef. In my opinion, SYTYCD is the best reality show of the summer after Hell's kitchen of course.
Reply
Flag
I like HGTV DesignStar... and maybe Bachelor Pad
Reply
Flag
I loooooove American Ninja Warrior!!!

I plan on falling into the hype and trying both Big Brother and Bachelor Pad this year, feel like I'm gonna like Big Brother, but idk about Bachelor Pad.

Reply
Flag
Shows I watch:

- MasterChef: Not with any degree of regularity, but I find the concept is generally entertaining and interesting, and it's a Ramsay cooking show without his foul attitude. There's some focus on building the contestants' skills up even as each one is eliminated, there's room to grow.



Shows I won't admit that I watch but may:

- Love in the Wild: Last season was totally watchable, this season so far has been nails on a chalkboard thanks to a whole cast of unlikable people who aren't that attractive, many of which are from California so I already see their types every day, and from Jenny McCarthy who is simply not a good host for the setting or concept.



Shows I have seen before and may again but not with regularity:

- SYTYCD: At times very interesting, at other times Mary Murphy ruins it for me. The reason I don't stick with it more is that it's so technical that to a layperson such as myself, what looks great seems to have no resonance with the judges at times, while something that feels stiff and all wrong will elicit their tears. The dancers are generally passionate and attractive, which is often my hook into the show.

- Hell's Kitchen: This has never been my show, my sister usually talks me into watching it, it's ok and interesting enough, but Ramsay's attitude towards everything is so ugly, so nasty without interest in correcting the problem. Every episode feels the same.



Shows I haven't watched but have considered:

- American Ninja Warrior: I have the first NBC episode on my DVR, 3 weeks later, waiting for me to watch it. It sounds interesting, but I think the title is too much "American Gladiators" which they blew the return of.

- Take Me Out: I'm told it was ok, the concept was unclear on Fox's part so I didn't put in any effort to watch.



Shows I used to watch but no longer do:

- America's Got Talent: A few seasons of this show and it began to feel repetitive, America may have talent but it doesn't seem to have varied tastes. I watched a single Howard Stern episode, didn't see enough of the sharp, accurate criticism I was hoping for, passed on the rest.

- Wipeout: Although fun, after having already watched MXC, it was clear that this was a total US ripoff of that show (Japan's Takeshi's Castle - see Tim's "Guy LeDouche" avatar for more - Wipeout eventually was sued and settled not long ago over that). I enjoyed it for a few seasons on its own, but it eventually grew stale from repetitive concepts even as its obstacle course continuously changed. I suspect part of the stale feeling is from the way it's presented, the hosts make identical riffs every time, and the course rarely looks different enough even as new additions are thrown in. What amazed me most was how many ligaments weren't torn by the contestants failing at those nigh-impossible obstacles.



Shows I have never and may never watch:

- Big Brother: Nothing terribly wrong with it, but nothing even remotely compelling to me about it either.

- The Bachelorette and anything related: I will admit to being forced into watching episodes in the past on a single basis, and hated every moment of this vapid garbage. How Fox gets critized for Temptation Island while ABC gets massive ratings for this drivel is beyond me.

- Duets: I'm just not a singing show kind of guy.

- The Catalina: Nothing in the ads suggest it'd be of any use to my viewing.

- Dogs in the City: Uhh... I've already seen The Dog Whisperer a few times, what could this possibly say that'd be different? It didn't look in any way compelling.

- Breaking Pointe: Not my cup of tea, and horrible marketing pushed this away. The title didn't help either, didn't sound like a reality show in any way.



The Worst Thing on the Planet which I've Seen Once and Hope to Never Again:

- The Choice: An ugly concept that boils contestants down to acting like hookers, with confusing rules and threadbare presentation. This is the end of humanity as we know it.
More+
Reply
Flag
I love Hell's Kitchen and I like Masterchef. I watch America's Got Talent, but it only has moments of entertainment. Howard Stern is a good addition, but the talent sucks and the idiots aren't even entertaining. In my opinion, the rest of the shows suck.
Reply
Flag
SYTYCD and Big Brother baby!
Reply
Flag
OMG! That's how I got hooked on Big Brother!



Word of advice - after the 3-hour live feed on Showtime 2, there's a 3-hour live feed on Showtime 2 West. It's not really live, it's a repeat of the previous 3 hour showing. Boy was I mad when the feeds finally caught up to where I started watching that particular night!
Reply
Flag
ramsay
Reply
Flag
gordon ramsey
Reply
Flag
Catalina and Dogs in The City.

Luv ya Price!
Reply
Flag
SYTYCD and I'm sad to say Bachelor Pad. In my defense, the reason I like Bachelor Pad is because it drops the Bachelor/Bachelorette pretense of "finding love" and lets people who are on the whole reality/fame whores unashamedly compete for money and create drama
Reply
Flag
I Look forward to Hell's Kitchen... It is fun. Some of the people are insane, but i still love Gordon Ramsey and his foul mouthed tirades.
Reply
Flag
Hell's Kitchen & Masterchef... with no Kitchen Nightmares I need my dose of Gordon Ramsay.
Reply
Flag
SYTYCD :)
Reply
Flag
The *only* Reality Show that is allowed on my TV is Syfy's FACE OFF.

(Season 3 will be airing this summer)
Reply
Flag
I'm not ashamed to admit I love me some Masterchef. I'm a foodie but I love that in Masterchef, you have amateur cooks. I watch a lot of the Food Network competitions, but there's something completely different about seeing people that haven't had a day of professional cooking training in their lives creating some amazing looking food that I love. And the judging combo is spot on. I couldn't imagine a better combination of 3.
Reply
Flag
Happy to admit to watching SYTYCD and Design Star.

Forced to watch AGT.

Secretly (to my family) watch Hell's Kitchen.
Reply
Flag
SYTYCD. The talent is remarkable. Best reality show hands down. Anyone that lumps it with American Idol and the lot have never seen the show.
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook