10 Times Reality TV Series Changed Their Format And Ruined The Show

After reality television was introduced in the early '90s by shows like The Real World, producers and fans have struggled with the ever-changing formats of those shows. Shows like Survivor and Big Brother brought competition into that reality genre, but the games all changed when those shows then had to keep up with the Kardashians.

Now, the genre is booming more than ever with more networks jumping on board and even adding reality shows to their streaming services. In order to stay relevant, many of these staple shows have changed formats, but some of these shows have changed things for the worse.

The first season of Dancing With The Stars aired in 2005 as an immediate hit with millions of viewers. Host Tom Bergeron quickly became the face of the show along with the three main judges. But after season 28, producers made their biggest formatting mistake by letting him go and hiring Tyra Banks in her place.

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Around the same time, the show also gave the judges the sole responsibility in deciding who would go home between the bottom two vote getters. These major changes caused a plunge in ratings and this fall, the show will be moved to Disney+ and away from its 17-year stint on cable.

As the first major reality show, The Real World gave viewers an insight into twenty-somethings from all walks of life working together, and co-existing in one house. After 21 years of visiting different cities with new groups of twenty-somethings, the show majorly changed format and its classic "this is a true story of seven strangers..." introduction in its 29th season, Real World: Ex-Plosion. 

This season saw houseguests surprised by their exes, and the show continued that same drama infused format through the next four seasons. With seven twenty-somethings living and working in a house together, drama is bound to ensue, and this forced chaos did not help the show, but broke format and changed the show for the worse.

The first few seasons of American Idol were not only iconic, but a cultural phenomenon. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul took the show into their hands and really made the format what it was. But after Abdul exited the show in late 2009 and was replaced with Ellen DeGeneres as a judge, the show became less formatted around creating real superstars, and instead became more focused on the entertainment.

This was a major downfall for the show, and soon after saw the exits of both Cowell, Jackson, and then FOX as a whole in 2016. The revival by ABC in 2018 has given the show a bit of a comeback, but it has never been able to recover from the major change that hit the show after Abdul's leave.

In the last 14 seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race, the format of each episode and season has remained the same as the show has remained steadily successful with somewhat of a cult following. But production announced that will all be changing in the upcoming season of All-Stars where there will be no eliminations at all.

Fans have already made it clear that they are not happy with this upcoming change. If the show wants to keep contestants lip-syncing for their life, then they must allow for their life on the show to be at stake.

As one of the first reality competition shows, The Challenge helped to set the standard for what competing for prize money on television looks like. The simplified premise has seemingly become more and more complicated in recent years. If the format of partners, teams, or individuals was the only change the show made, it would have been successful. But the major change in attempts to make the show more futuristic has been a bit of a fail.

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Recently, in the triad of seasons Total Madness, Double Agents, and Spies, Lies, and Allies, the use of technology and explosions overshadowed the failure of the red/gold skull twist. This change in format was supposed to stop challengers from coasting to the finals, but all it really did was allow for veterans to pick off rookies one by one in three seasons filled with stale strategies.

NBC's The Voice grew in popularity because of its blind audition format, but after 10 years the show decided to shake things up and ditch the second round battle rounds for "The Cut." Fans did not hold back their disappointment as the battle rounds were one of the best parts of the show. Not only did viewers get to see musicians go head to head, but fans also got great duets out of it.

This hasn't been the first format change to the show as in recent seasons, the finale rules were amended to guarantee every coach had a singer representing them in the finals. This format change was such a fail that they ultimately reverted back. The rotation of star-studded coaches like Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas keeps this show fresh enough that format changes aren't necessary. Production should learn from their format-changing mistakes and bring the show back to its roots.

For 15 seasons, fans of America's Got Talent saw shifts at the helm of the show as hosts and judges have changed through the years, but the format had remained relatively the same. That was until the most recent season when production ditched the judge cuts. The judge cuts have changed throughout the years, but the complete dismissal has caused uproar amongst fans.

The new format makes it unfair for contestants to not be granted another audition and has made it disappointing for viewers to not get insight into the judges' decisions. Fans are hoping to see the judge cuts be brought back in season 17, but the damage to the show may have already been done.

After the 40th and most epic season of Survivor: Winners At War, host Jeff Probst announced to the castaways of season 41 to forget everything they once knew about the show. Though only half of that sentiment ended up to be true, the major twists and turns have fans begging the show to go back to what it was.

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The arguably biggest change in the format in the newest two seasons has been the "protect/risk your vote" twist, the hourglass twist, and the completely unfair "do or die" twist. This new format has focused on this surplus of twists rather than its socially experimental roots, and therefore has lost its way being now more about luck and less about skill.

Ultimately, The Bachelorette's love-potion format was blown up in season 16 when Clare Crawley left the show with Dale Moss after just the fourth episode. Though many relationships from the show have been unsuccessful, the show usually concludes with a happy ending.

Season 16 gave viewers a supposed two happy endings, but the double bachelorettes changed the format for seasons to come. Within two years, there have been six bachelorettes and two bachelors. Though the show usually gets higher views, the format shift in scheduling the seasons has made the love connections stale and boring.

Though Catfish officially changed its format back in 2017, the change that ruined the show didn't come about until a year later. The shift to bring the love hopefuls to Los Angeles instead of flying to their hometowns ended up helping the show since Nev And Max were able to help more people.

But when Max left the show in early 2018, the format changed for the worse when viewers didn't have Max's documentary-style insight. Instead of feeling like part of the action in catching a catfish, viewers of the show now must watch Nev from the sidelines.

NEXT: 10 Early Reality TV Heroes Who Would Be Considered Villains Today



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