Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

The Intersecting World of Reality TV: 100+ Series Boiled Down to 10 Overlapping Categories

 (Originally posted, July 10, 2012.)

In his keynote at the AIDC Conference, Nat Geo Channels CEO David Lyle set up his original chart on the evolving unscripted landscape by sharing Vulture’s ‘The Intersecting World of Reality TV’, which we are reposting here.

Reality TV is reduced to 10 categories by “Vulture” in an amusing but instructive chart that we came across in the website Blame It On The Voices.

Here they are:

  • CAKE
  • WARS


  • Reality programming execs enjoy, if that’s the right word these days, progressively shorter stays in their jobs.
  • Its ‘Show me a hit!” or they’re off to HR.
  • But maybe that Ejection Button gets pressed later for a programmer who fails after copying a successful idea versus another one who goes down after fighting for an original concept?
  • Or is it that American multichannel viewers – for now at least – just can’t get enough of CAKES, ALASKA… and so on?
  • Its all very contagious. Channel 4 (UK) just announced its own Swamp/Gold/Fish-fusion series, Hillbilly Holidays in which a comic duo go alligator trapping in Louisiana, pan for gold  in Alaska, and try hand fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
One thing is for sure: this will all look very “early two thousand and tens” after our world is upended by the next wave of concepts, formats and platforms.

Here again is the link to the Venn diagram, 10 categories and 100 +/- shows, with thanks to the authors!