Top 10 Reality Shows You've Never Heard Of
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Top 10 Reality Shows You've Never Heard Of

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Lindsay Haley
Have did we not heard about these reality shows until now? For this list, we'll be looking at under-the-radar series whose unique concepts, low ratings, and/or short-lived air time hindered their mainstream popularity. Our countdown includes "The Glass House," "Fetch Me a Date," "Splash," and more!

Top 10 Reality Shows You've Never Heard Of

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Reality Shows You’ve Never Heard Of.

For this list, we’ll be looking at under-the-radar series whose unique concepts, low ratings, and/or short-lived air time hindered their mainstream popularity.

Do any of these lesser-known shows pique your interest? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Splash” (2013)

This ABC competition series saw American celebrities of different talents take a go at a rather difficult and technical sport: diving. Each week presented a new and tricky challenge. Cast members were required to conquer tricks, flips, and dangerous heights. Despite being mentored by a decorated Olympic diver, contestants found themselves in over their heads. Some were even injured. During the series, professional skier Rory Bushfield ruptured an eardrum, entertainer Chuy Bravo hurt his heel, model Katherine Webb suffered a back injury. And they weren’t the only ones to dive into trouble! These unfortunate mishaps and the hilariously bad walkout songs likely contributed to the show’s critical reception and short run.

#9: “Stylista” (2008)

An entry-level editorial position with Elle magazine, a Manhattan apartment, and an H&M shopping allowance were on the line for contestants in this fashion competition series. The premise is simple. Even fashionable hopefuls compete to impress Elle’s director, Anne Slowey, enough so that one of them can work for the renowned publication. Unfortunately, the fashion mogul took cues from Miranda Priestly from “The Devil Wears Prada”'. Slowey proved to be a force in the industry who means serious business. As a result, contestants struggled to inspire the diva and essentially allowed themselves to be degraded in the name of scoring their dream career. Unsurprisingly, the mean spirited CW show only lasted one season.

#8: “13: Fear Is Real” (2009)

In this horror movie-inspired setting, the competition show challenges 13 contestants to survive being “killed off”. Through what's referred to as “rituals”, “execution ceremonies”, and “the death box”, competitors confront surprises and scares that play to their biggest fears. They endured this all to try to win an apropos grand prize of $66,666. Throughout the show, the players participated in freaky tests involving cages, straitjackets, pentagrams, blood, and a large snake. Thanks to the traumatizing tasks and devilish premise, the series was particularly niche and didn’t pull in the greatest ratings. The show ironically didn’t survive long on the CW. It was canceled after its premiere season.

#7: “Mr. Personality” (2003)

A potentially interesting premise was hampered by its odd execution. On this show, 20 bachelors try to win the affections of a woman by their personalities alone. So, the men all wear masks that range from tacky to disturbing. But they didn’t just conceal their identities. Contestants had to avoid talking about their jobs presumably so they wouldn’t be judged by their income either. Additionally, this early 2000s reality show was also randomly hosted by Monica Lewinsky and only ran a mere five episodes on the Fox Television Network. Critics found the idea unbelievable, bizarre, and downright stupid. Its out there approach ensured that “Mr. Personality” came nowhere near as close to the fame of “The Bachelor” franchise.

#6: “Doomsday Preppers” (2012-14)

Airing for 4 seasons on the National Geographic Channel, the reality program follows “preppers” who take drastic measures in anticipation of the end of the world. The people featured were worried about economic collapse, polar shifts, societal downfalls and more. Each survivalist showed us the materials they had gathered and the measures they had taken to prepare for the end. Throughout the episode, they would be informed by professionals if they had taken the right steps. Reviews were mixed at the time of the show’s release in the early 2010s. But in light of recent world events, the show could do better today. Viewers might not think that the preppers’ better-safe-than-sorry mindset is that outrageous.

#5: “My Cat from Hell” (2011-20)

Cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, believed his expertise can help owners resolve conflicts with their problematic feline on this show. He aimed to lean into the animal’s instincts instead of trying to simply force them to behave in certain ways. Through introducing scratching posts, giving cats positive outlets and other methods, Galaxy always strived to make the felines he met happy. Galaxy’s advice often worked and could even be applied to people’s pets at home. If the shoe was on a more mainstream network like ABC instead of Animal Planet, it might be more of a household name. In any case, Galaxy's lessons about understanding pets and bringing out the best in them are genuinely heartwarming.

#4: “The Glass House” (2012)

On “The Glass House”, 14 strangers would live in one dwelling packed with glass walls to limit privacy. The cast members also tried to win a grand prize by competing in mental and physical contests that were narrated by a robotic voice. While that setup sounds similar to other programs, the show tried to be unique by letting the public participate. Viewers could vote on what players wore, what they ate, and helped determine who should go home each week. The blend of so many concepts likely explained why the show had low ratings. On top of that, CBS had a lawsuit against the show for its premise mirroring “Big Brother” a little too closely. In the end, low viewership ultimately shattered this glass house.

#3: “Twentysomethings: Austin” (2021-)

As the title suggests, this coming-of-age show follows a group of people in their 20s aiming to build futures for themselves. Given the show’s reality nature and young cast, there's a hefty dose of partying and relationship drama. But there’s no real central goal that the entire cast is working towards or competing for. As a result, some episodes may be a little hit or miss for viewers who are showing up and expecting wild antics and double crosses every week. But for those who are looking for a slice-of-life show about growing up in your 20s, this may be the bingeable hit for you. Time will tell if this unique show will go on to be a long-running Netflix hit.

#2: “Fetch Me a Date” (2019-)

The unlikely duo of Jonathan Bennett from “Mean Girls” and Dorothy Wang from “Rich Kids of Beverly Hills” teamed up to aid singles in their search for love. During the show, the hilarious hosts and matchmakers accompany the couples they set up on their dates. But the celeb talents eventually take a break from their third and fourth wheeling to open the door for real love to blossom. Ultimately, the singles have a say in whether a second date will happen and update the hosts on their status at each episode’s end. Despite the fun premise, only one season has aired as of August 2022. But if slightly cringy and quirky TV viewing is up your alley, you should binge this entire series.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“House of Ho” (2020-)
The Series Provides Audiences With a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Wealthy Ho Family

“Celebs Go Dating” (2016-)
Recognizable Stars Date Public Commoners in This British Dating Series

“Cooking with Paris” (2021)
Paris Hilton Calls On Her A-lister Friends To Assist Her in the Kitchen

“Bridalplasty” (2010-11)
12 Brides Vie For a Dream Wedding & Plastic Surgery On This Controversial Show

“Sweet Life: Los Angeles” (2021)
Friends Lean on Each Other as They Pursue Dreams & Black Excellence in L.A.

#1: “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” (2008-09)

In 2008, ABC gave us a reality-style competition show that immediately threw a curveball at its competitors. The American contestants actually had no idea they would be sent to Tokyo for the program. Upon arriving, they competed in a variety of weekly challenges. Contestants could go from dealing with trivia to seeing celebrities from episode to episode. While winners got one step closer to ultimate victory, losers faced punishing consequences. The high concept competition only aired two seasons in America. However, the premise was popular enough to warrant six different versions being released in other countries. Anyone who loves wild and unpredictable competitions should be entertained by this show and its spin offs.