Not every reality series can be a hit like The Bachelor or Survivor (which, somehow, are still on the air). With the reality TV boom of the the last decade came a whole lot of failed shows that didn’t make it to a second season, for better or for worse. Here are some of the more notorious (and, to be honest, sadly missed) shows that didn’t live up to their creators’ expectations.
Rich Girls (2003-2004)
MTV’s documentary followed Ally Hilfiger (daughter of Tommy) and her best friend, Jaime Gleicher (daughter of luggage baron Leo) as they finished their final year of high school in New York and entered the real world. The real world, of course, meant Barnard for Gleicher and continuing to be rich for Hilfiger. It’s a shame this only had one season, because it was one of the greatest reality shows ever to air on television. Go ahead and try to tell me you haven’t had an existential crisis on par with that time Ally struggled with making a burrito.
Kid Nation (2007)
This exploitative experiment in combining a western-themed Lord of the Flies with the ridiculously complicated games of the Real World / Road Rules Challenge franchise caused a lot of controversy over the fact that these dumb kids were “left alone” to rebuild a New Mexico ghost town. Here’s what I remember: all of the kids were covered in cold sores, and at least four of them drank bleach. Kids are the worst! Above, they learn about religious tolerance.
Boy Meets Boy (2003)
In this Bravo-produced Bachelor-style competition, America was introduced to the idea of a gay man picking a boyfriend from 15 possible suitors. The twist? Some of the competitors were straight dudes, unbeknownst to James, the poor gay man looking for love.
NYC Prep (2009)
America loves to watch rich teens deal with their trials and tribulations, and Bravo figured that the success of Gossip Girl would translate to this series following actual real New York prep students (who were even more wooden than their fictional CW counterparts). Alas, we’ll never know where these snots ended up.
Mr. Personality (2003)
Monica Lewinsky (of course!) hosted this Fox dating competition in which a successful woman had to pick a husband out of a group of 20 masked men — presumably to show that personality matters over looks. Leave it to Fox to make dating more and more terrifying.
In this series, 12 women competed for the perfect wedding. That included not only the dress, but also the perfect body — the winner of the competition got a complete plastic surgery makeover (and the opportunity to surprise her groom with her new body and face on the day of the wedding).
Pretty Wild (2010)
Now forever memorialized on screen in Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, this E! series followed the lives of socialite Alexis and Gabby Neiers (as well as their “adopted sister,” Tess Taylor) as they struggle to become models just like their former Playboy playmate mom. All hell breaks loose when Alexis is arrested for breaking into the homes of Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Bilson.