In 1992, MTV revolutionized television when it began to broadcast a “true story” about seven strangers picked to live in a house together. We are, of course, talking about The Real World. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking show’s first season, the entire cast returned to New York to tape a new season, even living in the same loft as before. The show is currently airing on the Paramount+ streaming service. While The Real World, Survivor and Real Housewives have all been huge successes, there have been some really terrible ideas that were turned into reality shows and, thankfully, were put out to pasture pretty quickly. Here’s a look at the 8 worst reality shows of all time.
Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire? (2000)
Rick Rockwell, a supposedly wealthy bachelor, chooses a wife via a beauty pageant, with a woman from each state represented. They only get to see Rockwell’s silhouette form, only to be revealed when the “lucky” bride, an ER nurse named Darva Conger, was ultimately chosen. They actually did get married on the spot and flew to Barbados for their honeymoon, but *big surprise* they didn’t live happily ever after. In fact, they slept in separate hotel rooms and never made it to the batter’s box, much less first base. Oh, and it turns out that Rockwell was lying about his wealth. In the aftermath, all the networks issued a joint statement vowing to never create exploitative garbage like this ever again. Just kidding. The reality shows only got worse from here.
Who’s Your Daddy? (2005)
Remember seconds ago when we said “the reality shows only got worse from here”? That wasn’t a joke. This is an incarnation of The Bachelorette that demonstrates there are no limits to the darkness of humanity. T.J Myers was put up for adoption as an infant and must decide which of the 25 men standing before her is her biological father, with $100,000 awaiting her if she chooses correctly. Adoption rights organizations weren’t too thrilled with this one, and it sounds like they weren’t alone. This one was so bad that it was canceled after the pilot episode.
I Want To Marry “Harry” (2014)
Twelve American bachelorettes fly to England to win the not-yet-married-to-Meghan-Markle Prince Harry’s affection. But not really. “Harry” is actually being portrayed by a mere peasant…er…commoner named Matthew Hicks who only vaguely resembles Prince Charles’ younger son. Basically, it’s Joe Millionaire with a fake royal twist. Although it is set at a very princely country estate, the contestants are taken on extravagant dates, and the “prince” has a team of servants and security, they were not explicitly told that he’s the actual Prince Harry. At least not at first. But as the show proceeded (in so far as airing 4 episodes before it was cancelled can be considered “proceeding”), the producers just decided to flat out lie, although it doesn’t appear that any of the contestants fell for the ruse.