20 Reality Shows We Forgot About That Had Us Hooked

Nicole Pomarico | May 14, 2019 TV
20 Reality Shows We Forgot About That Had Us Hooked
Image: FOX via Getty Images

I Wanna Marry Harry TV Show
FOX via Getty Images

As much as we love getting lost in fictional worlds, sometimes, a good reality TV show is the way to go. Whether it's a competition show all about our favorite celebrity couples, or something that gives us a peek into the way people live their lives that are different than ours, we can't get enough. But now that reality shows have been around for a while, we're starting to forget about those earlier ones that we used to love -- back before HGTV helped us discover Chip and Joanna Gaines, and some of them even before shows like Survivor were a thing.

There were so many shows on MTV, E!, and VH1 that we used to be totally obsessed with. We've been so into shows like The Bachelor and Keeping Up With the Kardashians that they've totally slipped our minds -- until now.

Back in the '90s and early 2000s, there were a lot of other reality shows on the air that were amazing at the time, even if they're a little bit dated compared to what we have today. Were some of them cheesy? Definitely. But that's not always a bad thing, especially when it comes to finding the perfect reality TV show to watch and zone out to after a long day at work.

(TV has come so far!)

It's a good time to look back at these shows, even though we have a feeling that some of them probably wouldn't end up getting made in 2019 ... or would they?

Here are some of the reality shows we used to love but totally forgot about. Read on for a walk through memory lane, and prepare to be a little bummed that some of these shows don't exist anymore.

Maybe it's time for a reboot?

  • 'Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica'

    Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson in Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica

    It seems like Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson were together in another lifetime, but when they were married, they had a reality show about their love on MTV called Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica. It featured moments from both of their professional and personal lives, including the time that Jessica so famously thought the tuna she was eating was chicken.

    Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica lasted for three seasons.

  • 'I Wanna Marry Harry'

    Matt Hicks in I Wanna Marry 'Harry'

    Long before Meghan Markle was a household name, I Wanna Marry Harry was a reality show on Fox that seems so ridiculous, it's hard to believe that it actually aired in 2014. Twelve American women competed for the chance to marry Prince Harry.

    ... but it wasn't the actual Prince Harry, it was a lookalike named Matthew Hicks.

    Sadly, the show was canceled after just four episodes.

  • 'Average Joe'

    Average Joe

    Running for four seasons on NBC in the mid 2000s, Average Joe put a group of "ordinary men" together to compete for the love of one woman -- even though, from the start, the woman in question had no clue that was actually the premise of the show. Eventually, more handsome dudes show up and join the competition as other men are sent home. But unlike shows like The Bachelor, there's no engagement ring at the end. The woman just has to choose who she wants to take an all-expenses-paid vacation with.

    Way less pressure!

  • 'Room Raiders'

    Room Raiders

    MTV was once all about the dating game shows, and Room Raiders was on that list. On the show, three guys or girls get their rooms (hence the name Room Raiders) raided by potential dates. Depending on what they found in the rooms, the raider chooses who they want to go on a date with. And since it's only fair, the people whose rooms have been raided get to go through the raider's room, too.

    Room Raiders ran from 2003 to 2009, so it's safe to say it was pretty popular.

  • 'Making the Band'

    Danity Kane and P. Diddy attend MTV's
    Jerritt Clark/WireImage/Getty Images

    Making the Band was exactly what it sounds like (a show about creating a band), and that's what it did. In Season one, it created O-Town, and then Diddy joined the show, helping to create Danity Kane, Day26, and launched Donnie Klang's solo career. There was a lot of music, but there was even more drama.

  • 'Bachelor Pad'


    There's a good chance most of us are familiar with Bachelor in Paradise, but long before that, former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants would mix it up on Bachelor Pad. The stars would compete for $250,000, and of course, the show was hosted by Chris Harrison -- who else?

    The show ran for three seasons, but now, it's all BIP, all the time.

  • 'The Simple Life'

    Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, The Simple Life

    It's been a minute since Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were reality stars, but it was hilarious while it lasted. On The Simple Life, they traveled the United States together (back when they were BFFs), taking on different tasks -- like working in fast food restaurants (Sonic!) and doing manual labor. They were definitely out of their element, but that's why it was such a funny show.

  • 'Living Lohan'


    The Lohan family -- minus Lindsay, who didn't appear on the series -- once had its own reality show on E!. Unfortunately, it didn't last long. For one nine-episode season, the show followed the lives of Lindsay's mom, Dina, and her sister, Ali, as she started her music career. It also included appearances from Lindsay's brother, Cody, and Dina's mother.

  • 'Singled Out'

    Singled Out
    ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

    Singled Out aired in the mid-'90s on MTV, and it worked more like a game show than anything else. Hosts Chris Hardwick and Jenny McCarthy would help contestants answer questions about their dating preferences, making a large pool of other contestants get smaller and smaller. Eventually, there would only be one person standing, and that would be their date. 

    Welp, it seems folks wanted more of this show as the Singled Out reboot that premiered last year is still going.

  • 'My Super Sweet 16'

    My Super Sweet 16

    Remember watching wealthy parents throw extravagant birthday parties for their children on MTV? That's what My Super Sweet 16 was all about. These parties usually ended with a brand new (very expensive) car as a gift ... and a lot of drama.

  • 'Britney & Kevin: Chaotic'

    Kevin Federline and Britney Spears
    J.Sciulli/WireImage for Ogilvy Public Relations/Getty Images

    Another former couple who enjoyed reality show bliss was Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, although it didn't last for long. Britney & Kevin: Chaotic aired on the now-defunct UPN network for only five episodes, documenting their engagement and early marriage. It included home videos from the couple and a very rare look into Britney's personal life.

  • 'Joe Millionaire'

    Joe Millionaire

    Joe Millionaire aired on Fox in 2003, and the concept was unique. Evan Marriott is a bachelor looking for a life partner, and women had to compete for his affections. The problem? He actually wasn't a millionaire (but a construction worker), which wasn't revealed until the end of the show. If the woman he chose decided to stay with him anyway, they'd be given $1 million. 

    The show spawned a second season, called The Next Joe Millionaire, but it didn't end up living on from there.

  • 'NYC Prep'


    Bravo's NYC Prep only lasted one season when it aired in 2009, but many fans wished for a lot more. It followed the lives of students in a New York City prep school -- and all the drama that comes with it. The show was comparable to a reality version of Gossip Girl, and where's the bad in that?

  • 'Parental Control'

    Parental Control

    In MTV's Parental Control, parents who are unhappy with who their kid is dating have the option of sending them out on a date with someone they approve of instead. Then, after the teenager has gone on dates with two people their parents have chosen for them, they have a choice to make. Will they stay with their current sweetheart, or choose to date one of the new, parent-approved choices?

  • 'Rock of Love With Bret Michaels'

    VH-1 Star of
    Tom Briglia/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    This VH1 reality show put rocker Bret Michaels in the driver's seat as women competed for the chance to be his girlfriend. Through a series of challenges from week to week, the women got the chance to go on dates with Bret, and in the end, he got to choose a winner. Over three seasons, Bret still hadn't found the love of his life, though.

  • 'The Ashlee Simpson Show'

    The Ashlee Simpson Show

    Jessica Simpson may have had her shot at reality show fame, but soon, it was younger sister Ashlee's turn. The Ashlee Simpson Show followed Ashlee's journey as she broke into music, as well as her personal life -- including her relationship with singer Ryan Cabrera. The show ran for two seasons.

  • 'House of Carters'


    House of Carters followed the Carter family -- including singers Nick and Aaron -- for one eight-episode season on E!. Nick was recording with the Backstreet Boys again, and Aaron was doing his own thing.

    Unfortunately, the show didn't end up lasting long.

  • 'Paris Hilton's My New BFF'

    Paris Hilton's My New BFF

    After the success of The Simple Life, Paris Hilton took another stab at reality TV with Paris Hilton's My New BFF. On the show, which aired on MTV, contestants competed for the chance to be Paris's new best friend. Apparently, her first BFF didn't work out, because the show returned for a second season.

  • 'Bridalplasty'


    There are a lot of plastic surgery reality shows out there, but this one was next level. Bridalplasty featured women preparing for their upcoming weddings by competing for the plastic surgery of their dreams -- and they'd win a dream wedding on top of it.

    The kicker? Their spouse wouldn't see their new look until the wedding day.

  • 'The Swan'

    The Swan

    The Swan featured women considered "ugly ducklings" who worked with a team of professionals -- including dentists, physical trainers, and therapists -- over three months to improve their appearance. They received cosmetic surgery and, at the end of the season, competed in a pageant to be crowed The Swan. The show didn't last more than two seasons as it had a pretty negative reception from outlets like USA Today, being that it was based all on outward appearances.

reality tv tv

More Slideshows