What Scripted TV Shows Might Also Make Good Reality Shows?

The trajectory of Showtime’s The L Word from a soapy drama about L.A.-based lesbians to The Real L Word, a reality show set in the same world, is enough to fill any struggling TV writer with dread. Because who really needs to pay someone to put words in the mouths of actors when shooting the real thing is cheaper and often just as compelling? Take Bravo's Real Housewives series. Please. No, but seriously, consider how The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills serves up high drama as enthralling as anything to unfold on Dynasty or Dallas in the ‘80s—and what’s more, it’s all real. (Sort of.) It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but reality TV draws viewers, and, in the case of The Real L Word, extends the franchise life of a show that would otherwise have simply been put out to pasture. Showtime’s announcement last week that the series would be renewed for a third season, possibly bringing it to the East Coast, got us thinking: What other shows could benefit from a reality spinoff?

The Real Bones

There are only 88 forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Certainly one of them, preferably photogenic and with piercingly soulful blue eyes, and who is perhaps locked in a state of perpetual sexual tension with her FBI liaison, would be willing to have her cases explored on camera.

The Real Archer

Certainly the world of global espionage is a rich, untapped reality TV subject, and what better way to introduce subjects to covert operations than through a lovable, mother-son-run family business? It’s like Cops meets Cake Boss, but with assassinations, gadgets, and deadly ninjas!

The Real New Girl

Audiences instantly warmed to this indie-twee twist on the Odd Couple formula; and there’s no reason an actual, Real World-style living arrangement between an impossibly doe-eyed ingenue who recently left her boyfriend and three sloppy dudes couldn’t result in non-scripted primetime magic, as well.

The Real Bob’s Burgers

Reality TV loves families and loves workplaces and REALLY loves families in workplaces. Voila! The Real Bob’s Burgers, following the exploits of a hard-working couple running a family diner in economically choppy times, and their three, deeply weird children.

The Real Breaking Bad

Granted, finding a dying-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin willing to put his life on camera would be a development challenge for any reality producer. But once someone finds the guy—and he’s out there! We just know he’s out there!—well, the rest of it “writes itself,” as they say.


Can you think of any other scripted shows that you'd love to watch a reality version of?

Comments (22)
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The Real Dexter.... :D
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Terra Nova would make a great reality show. The hard part would be in coming up with the dinosaurs.

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The real Community. But I guess it would just pale in comparison to the scripted one, since it would never be as funny.
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Please, please, I beg you! Don't give ideas for new reality shows, we are already packed with stupid non-sense TV shows as it is.
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House! I am sure there must be a real doctor who is like him. XD
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If there was, he lost his license, got sued into bankruptcy, and landed in jail by now.
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Dexter FTW :D
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Dexter and Superjail.
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I'd love to combine Top Shot and Real House Wives.
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Terra Nova is pretty much I'm a Celebrity anyway. We get to vote for who gets eaten by a dinosaur.



The West Wing could have been a reality show or a documentary at any rate, as could have ER.
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We gotta make a real life "Fugitive". Free a convicted murder that claims a one armed man did it. Then have 1 camera crew follow the murderer and 1 camera crew follow the detective! Genious!
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happy endings could be a good reality show, but also a save choice. Happily divorced would be a funny reality show,, 2 broke girls , 90210, and supernatural
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Young Justice.



Teenagers in a convert superhero team.
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Lost would make a great reality show. People voted off the Island will be killed by the smoke monster.
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Castle would work well as a reality show -- cameramen follow around a novelist who follows around a detective who follows around criminals. It doesn't sound fun, but I'm sure it would be. Kind of.



Dexter would be an awesome reality show spinoff... if you could find a serial killer who's willing to broadcast his identity as a serial killer.



Oh! The Walking Dead! The show's producers may have to intentionally infect a bunch of people and turn them into zombies, but think of the ratings!
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Television producers have been turning people in zombies for decades now.
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How about if, instead of reality-izing a scripted show, we just combine two reality shows? American Idol, for example, could be joined with Survivor. Dancing with the Stars would be great if combined with Wipeout.
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I'd love to combine Top Shot and every Real House Wives. Some people might not make it to seasons end but we love the violence right?
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Or The X-Factor and Deadliest Catch.
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And who wouldn't want to watch America's Next Top Model combined with the Amazing Race?
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Firstly I must say I hate almost all reality shows except maybe the Amazing Race and the 'Regular (non-celebrity) Apprentice but I really wouldn't mind seeing a reality version of Breaking Bad. However I am not sure how they will get consent from a legal point of view. LOL
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Duh. Terra Nova, would make a GREAT Survivor-style show. I'm sorry, Shannons, the tribe has spoken...
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