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Your Comprehensive Guide to Reality Game Shows

Within the past few months, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I love reality game shows. I love watching the competition week after week and seeing who’s playing the best “game” throughout the duration of the show. I also realized that these reality game shows all appeal to me for different reasons. Some show juicy hook-ups and loads of gossip, while others show people racing all around the world.

If you love reality game shows as much as I do, you’ll appreciate and understand this guide, but if you’ve never seen any or aren’t sure which one to watch, I have you covered.

The Challenge: airs on MTV

I’ve been a fan of “The Challenge” for a while now, and in my opinion, it never gets old. What is unique about this show is that there’s constant drama mixed in with aggressive competitions. Each and every week, we see someone in a fight with someone else, or a new relationship budding. There are also brutal challenges each week that require athleticism, skill, and intelligence. Since the show is finishing up its 31st season, lately they have been adding tons of more twists to the game, making the game itself more interesting and of course, creating even more drama! MTV has even added cast members from their shows in the U.K. This is the perfect reality game show to watch if you love a little drama, but also a little (un)friendly competition.

The Amazing Race: CBS

“The Amazing Race” is very different than all of the other shows on this list. It follows several different teams who are racing around the world and participating in different challenges that in some way relate to the culture they are in at that moment of the race. There is not as much drama on this show compared to others, but there still is a bit of fighting and bickering between the teammates (I mean they are racing through foreign countries and in many cases, navigating is next to impossible so can you blame them?). If you want to watch a show that is full of new adventures and all different types of teams, “The Amazing Race” is the reality game show for you.

Survivor: CBS

“Survivor” has been one of my family’s favorite shows for as long as I can remember, and we watch it season after season week after week. What sets “Survivor” apart from all these other reality game shows is that the castaways are put on an island and given very little food (unless they win the reward challenge of course). The challenges are intense, and in many cases, prove to be physically grueling, especially for the castaways who live in small and uncomfortable shelters, with little food or water, and constant exposure to the environment that surround them. Another thing that I love about this game is the blindsides, and the power of the hidden immunity idols (immunity idols give the person who uses them the power to protect themselves, or someone else, from being eliminated. Hidden immunity idols can be played at any tribal council, the place where someone gets eliminated from the competition). Any good season of “Survivor” has a few incredible blindsides, and one person who uses the hidden immunity idol when no expects it.

Big Brother: CBS

I’m new to the “Big Brother” fandom but I’ve already picked up on the gist of the show, and am excited to keep watching. “Big Brother” is honestly the perfect mix of “The Challenge” and “Survivor.” It doesn’t have as many hook-ups as “The Challenge,” however, it does have its fair share of drama! It’s also not as physically grueling as “Survivor,” but there are always blindsides and the power of veto (the ability to remove a nominee from the block meaning they cannot be evicted from the house that week), which make each eviction unpredictable. The challenges the houseguests participate in are always quirky and fun, and of course, competitive. This is the perfect show to watch if you want a funny reality game show.


Although there are tons of other reality game shows, these are a guide to my favorites (aka the ones I watch religiously). Some of these shows are just starting a new season (“Survivor”), others are in the middle of a season (“The Challenge”), and others just wrapped up another season but will be coming back soon (“The Amazing Race,” “Big Brother”). Check them all out if you want to watch a fun and competitive show!


Lisa Cunningham is currently a sophomore Journalism major at Temple University. When she is not listening to music, living it up at a concert or hanging with friends, Cunningham loves to write about all things relate to pop culture!
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