How does the reality show work

Bachelor & Co: Where do the most popular reality shows come from?

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In the world of reality shows, emotions such as disgust, shame of others, sympathy and pity are practically a guarantee for top ratings. The 11th season of the jungle camp once again provided the best proof of this: In the target group of 14 to 59 year olds, “I am a star - get me out of here” achieved an average of 36.3% market share.

The media psychologist Prof. Daniel Süss explains the success of reality shows not only through pure voyeurism: "The viewer can compare himself without exposing himself publicly, and he also gets one or the other useful tip from such programs."

And the Trash TV is not only well received by the socially disadvantaged: The intellectual educated citizen would watch such programs with a distanced viewing style and the goal of social demarcation. "Here, too, one compares oneself on a social level, but not with the intention of learning something or seeing oneself reflected - but to increase self-esteem and consolidate one's identity," says Süss.

But who actually comes up with these formats in which other people are observed, assessed and sometimes humiliated? Where do the ideas for reality shows come from?

Has everything been there before?

Person-centered formats such as Newlyweds and Keeping Up With The Kardashians are traded as the predecessor of Katzenberger and Co. The US series 16 and Pregnant as Teen mum were probably the model for the ATV series Teenagers become mothers. And from the MTV seriesLaguna Beach and The Hills German scripted reality TV shows such as Berlin Day and night. Are there any new ideas on the TV market at all?

The UK, the Netherlands and the US are clearly the global leaders when it comes to entertaining Reality TV. One or two consignments have also been imported into the German-speaking market from Scandinavia. Are there any original ideas how Beat the rabbit or Circus halligalli, these are usually only supported by private broadcasters - the public broadcasters don't really dare.

That is why most of the broadcasters rely on tried and tested concepts from abroad. We'll tell you where the ideas for your favorite reality shows come from!

The most popular reality shows from the USA

America’s Got Talent

In the American casting show, the participants who present their various talents battle it out for a million dollars. An offshoot of it is Britain’s Got Talent.

America’s Next Top Model

The world's most successful model casting was exported to Australia, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, Austria and numerous other countries.

American Idol

The British went from the American casting show Pop idol and with our neighbors the format Germany seeks the superstar emerge.

Auction Hunters

Two aces are cashing in: the series, which can be seen on DMAX, was the model for popular auction shows such as The junk troop - The money is in the basement.

The Bachelor

The Bachelor was first searched for by ABC in America in 2002. RTL followed suit in Germany with the same concept. Searched in Switzerland The Bachelorette her dream man.

The Biggest Loser

First broadcast by NBC in 2004, the German weight loss show of the same name started in 2009. The concept was sold in over 20 countries.

Dog Whisperer

The American dog whisperer Cesar Millan is on sixx as the Dog whisperer to see. Also runs every Sunday The dog trainer with Brandon McMillan.


The American crime series, which first aired in 1951, paved the way for investigative series like Police report or Low and Kuhnt.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

Extreme Makeover was the model for house building shows like Use in four walls or Living like you want. The construction command is currently being broadcast on DMAX.

Judge Judy

Without Judge Judy, there would be court shows like Judge Barbara Salesch, Judge Alexander Hold, The juvenile court or The family court probably not!

Say yes to the dress

Say yes to the dress on TLC heralded the era of the wedding series, e.g. My perfect wedding dress, My bargain in white or The perfect wedding on sixx.

Shark tank

In Germany, the US-American original of this start-up show, in which a group of young entrepreneurs fights for the favor of potential investors, runs on DMAX under the title The lion's den. The Austrian branch named 2 minutes 2 million can be seen on PULS 4.

Star Search

Brought in the US Star Search World stars like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Alanis Morissette, Destiny’s Child and Usher stand out ... In Germany Bill Kaulitz from Tokio Hotel!

Tattoo Nightmares

A whole series of tattoo shows spilled over to us from the USA - e.g. Horror tattoos, Pain and Fame or Cover Up - We save your tattoo on sixx.

The UK's most popular reality TV

Celebrity Big Brother

While the concept for Big Brother comes from the Netherlands, the idea for Celebrity Big Brother comes from the UK.

Dragon’s Den

The mother of the startup shows, such as The Lions Den or 2 Minutes 2 Million on PULS 4, is Dragon’s Den from the United Kingdom.

Farmer Wants A Wife

You guessed it: the British show is the model for the rural matchmaker show Farmer is looking for a wife on RTL and ATV.

Hell’s Kitchen

Gordon Ramsey was the first chef to teach stars to cook - first in the United Kingdom, then in the United States. Frank Rosin did the same in Germany on SAT.1.

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here

The jungle camp is originally from Great Britain, where it was first produced in 2002. The 11th season of the German version was just running successfully on RTL.

Jamie Oliver

The Naked Chef already has 15 cooking programs under his belt, including Jamie’s Kitchen and Oliver’s Twist. The profession of star TV chef was born: Christian Rach, Steffen Henssler and Co. followed on German TV.

Wife Swap

Also the Swap women on RTL 2 originally comes from Great Britain. In 2004 it was also adapted for the USA.

Strictly Come Dancing

The format of the BBC was at RTL under the name Let's dance already broadcast in the ninth season. In the USA the show is called Dancing With The Stars.

Super nanny

The super nanny, with us Katharina Saalfrank, who tamed children from 2004 to 2011, could also be seen in several other countries with different actresses.

Undercover boss

The Undercover boss, who spied on his employees in disguise in his own company, shows in Austria the ORF in its own version.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The original of this quiz show was developed by the British television production company Celador and first broadcast in the UK on ITV 1 in 1998. In Germany, the show has been running since 1999 under the name Wer wird Millionär? on RTL and is moderated by Günther Jauch, in Austria the program has been on ORF since 2000 under the title Die Millionenshow with Armin Assinger.


X-Factor, the casting show at VOX, is also available in the UK, USA, Australia and other countries. In the UK, the original show made Leona Lewis a star.

The most copied reality shows from the Netherlands

Adam Looking for Eve

The nude dating show Adam seeks Eve - stranded in paradise on RTL is based on the Dutch concept Adam Looking for Eve.

Big brother

John de Mol, the inventor of Big brother, dominates the TV market in the Netherlands. His most successful TV experiment was sold in almost 70 countries!


The social experiment, which is on SAT.1 under the name Newtopia was shown, also comes from TV boss John de Mol.

The Voice

Also The Voice was developed by John de Mol. The Voice of Holland achieved ratings of up to 54%, around the world there are around 55 versions of The Voice.


PS. You can see many original series with HD Austria on sixx HD, DMAX HD, MTV HD, TLC HD and Co. in brilliant HD resolution!


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