Follow TV Tropes


Dueling Works Live Action TV / Reality Show

Go To

Original Clone Capsule Pitch Description Implementation Winner?
Big Brother (1999) Survivor (2000) Musical Chairs Reality Show Country Mouse vs. City Mouse. It should be noted that, in the United States, both shows are "on the same side" since one network airs them both. The Big Brother franchise started in 1999 with the Dutch version, while the American version debuted in 2000. Survivor as a franchise name is an American original, though the concept is a reworking of the Swedish Expedition Robinson (1997) In the US? Survivor. Outside the US? Arguably Big Brother.
Big Brother (2000) Glass House (2001) Reality series putting young, attractive, and occasionally psychopathic strangers into a house sealed off from the outside world. The last person standing wins big. For the most part, Glass House is Big Brother, with one twist — the audience is able to tell the residents what to do. Otherwise, you could say Glass House copied from the Big Brother template. And so can CBS, which sued ABC, as ABC hired many ex-Big Brother staffers for the new show. Big Brother started the reality TV craze. Glass House has been all but cancelled due to extremely low ratings.
The Amazing Race (2001) Lost (2001) Reality game show where teams travel to exotic locales. Lost premiered one day earlier. Lost premiered seven days before 9/11 and, because it featured New York City imagery still featuring the Twin Towers, it ended up with (in this case justified) Executive Meddling to make it less triggering. This meant that only five of six episodes aired. The Amazing Race is still on. When asked, 99% of people will know a TV show called Lost as a mind-screwy drama.
American Idol (2002) Star Search (2003) Talent competition where the audience and home viewers vote on the best performer, aided by celebrity judges. American Idol by one year, though Star Search was revived to compete against it. Star Search previously aired from 1983-1995 in syndication. American Idol introduced home viewer voting and celebrity judges, two things Star Search didn't have in its original run. American Idol. Star Search was cancelled in 2004, having been pummeled in the ratings battle by American Idol. Even with a Channel Hop, American Idol still runs to this day.
Extreme Makeover (2002) The Swan (2004) Plastic surgery makeover shows. Fox's copycat went the Fox Extra Tastelessness Step by putting the women through the hell of plastic surgery and then sent half of them home at the end of the episode while bringing the other half on to a beauty pageant. Both caught a lot of controversy for trying to push the message that looks are everything and, as a result, both shows were ultimately canceled. The former has a More Popular Spin-Off in the form of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, while the latter is a perennial inclusion on "Worst Reality Shows of All Time" lists.
America's Next Top Model (2003) Project Runway (2004) Reality Shows about the fashion industry Both premiered around the early to mid part of the Turn of the Millennium. Both are headlined by known supermodels. Both have gay Lancers. And both shows became successful Multinational Shows. In the US, Project Runway has more love from both fans and critics. Outside the US, Top Model can be argued as the more successful franchise, though in the U.S.Top Model concluded first, ending after its twelfth year and 22nd Cycle, while Project Runway is still on-going. It should be mentioned that it could functionally be considered a tie, as the shows have a Friendly Rivalry and have Friendly Fandoms to boot. In fact, former Top Model contestants have appeared in Project Runway. To top it all off, Project Runway's host and founder even serves as The Host of the German edition of Top Model.
Wife Swap (2004) Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy (2004) Two polar opposite families trade spouses for several days. ABC broadcasts Wife Swap and claims to have done it first, while FOX aired Trading Spouses a few weeks before Wife Swap's debut in what seems to be a blatant ripoff (though both appeared to rip off a Chappelle's Show skit that aired one year earlier.) Wife Swap.
Pimp My Ride (2004, MTV) Overhaulin' (2004, TLC) Reality shows where beaten-up cars are turned into sweet rides Pimp My Ride is formatted more like Extreme Makeover: The hooptie of the week is collected and the show follows the process of "pimping the car out." Overhaulin goes half-"Makeover", half-Punked, with the car's owner tricked into thinking his/her car has been stolen, impounded, or towed and the show's hosts giving them the run-around while the mechanics do their thing. While both had long runs (Pimp — 6 seasons, Overhaulin — 5), Pimp was far more popular, spawning several spin-offs and memesnote .
Dog Whisperer (2004) It's Me or the Dog (2005) Renowned dog trainers visit troublesome dogs and train not only the animals but their owners as well. Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan has a rougher approach to being a pack leader than the cruelty-free endorsing Victoria. Dog Whisperer is much more well known. Cesar has had more criticism for his techniques though.
The X Factor (2004) The Voice (2010) Musical talent shows with celebrity panels The X-Factor was made by former Pop Idol and Idol judge and record producer Simon Cowell, The Voice is a format that started in the Netherlands and has been successfully exported to several countries In the USA The Voice trounced Cowell's show in both ratings and critical respect, and stood toe-to-toe with Idol until the latter's cancellation. The X-Factor had a stronger following on social media, but only lasted three seasons. However, Fifth Harmony, who finished third on the second season of The X-Factor, have had far more success than any of the acts discovered on The Voice. In the UK the X-Factor has become a national institution, launching the careers of several pop stars, most notably One Direction, arguably the most successful act to ever have originated from any musical talent show, while The Voice is less successful with no stars to emerge from it. Interestingly ITV has now acqured the licence to the Voice, seemingly with the intention of replacing the X-Factor with it.
The Contender (2005) The Next Great Champ (2005) Reality TV boxing competition. The Contender was co-hosted by Sylvester Stallone in its first season, and gained notoriety when one of the contestants killed himself partly as a result of losing on the show. Neither was very successful on free TV, but The Contender lived on on cable, so it gets the nod. But none of the contestants have really gone on to boxing stardom in either case, and both shows are overshadowed by The Ultimate Fighter, a similar style competition for UFC.
Miami Ink (2005) ' 'Inked (2005) Docu Soap reality show about the world of working in a tattoo parlor. Both quite similar, one on TLC, one on A&E. Miami Ink'' lasted longer and had two spinoffs.
Intervention (2005) Addicted (2010) Documentary-style Reality Show about people suffering through addictions Intervention focuses more on the leadup to the intervention, while Addicted focuses on some post-intervention work as well. Both are still running, but Intervention (which started in 2005) has a good five years — not to mention an Emmy — on its competition.
Little People Big World (2006) The Little Couple / Our Little Family (2009) Reality TV show about the lives of married little people on TLC The first family has four children while the second couple started out as newlyweds before adopting their two kids. The third family has three children.  
Ace of Cakes (2006) Cake Boss (2009) Reality TV show about creative bakers making cakes. The two leads are Red Oni, Blue Oni: Duff is usually very relaxed and surrounded by friends while Buddy is a bit more agitated and surrounded by relatives and his four older sisters. Ace Of Cakes makes cakes on the extremely decorative side while Cake Boss forgoes a bit on the fondant for both delicious and decorative cakes. A draw, as both were successful. Ace of Cakes had 10 seasons and landed the Food Network some of its highest ratings ever. Cake Boss wrapped up in 2018 after 10 seasons, and got its own spinoff "The Next Great Baker". Happily, the two shows eventually met in the double-spinoff competition show Buddy vs. Duff on Food Network in 2019.
Any Dream Will Do aka Joseph (2007) Grease Is The Word (2007) Talent Show in which a panel of experts search for the lead for an upcoming musical production. Joseph was, essentially, The BBC's second season of their Musical Talent Show brand, which they debuted the previous year with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?. Grease Is The Word was ITV's adaptation of the U.S. version of Maria. Joseph had Andrew Lloyd Webber, John Barrowman and Denise Van Outen judging, Grease had David Gest, musical producer David Ian, Brain Friedman from The X Factor and... Sinetta. Grease was a ratings flop because it was in Doctor Who's time slot and didn't have the star pull.
Jon & Kate Plus Eight (2007) 19 Kids and Counting (2008) Cameras film the complicated lives of families with a larger-than usual amount of children on TLC.   Pretty much dependent to how you feel about shows featuring large families; there is no middle ground here. Both shows ended in controversy; Jon and Kate with their divorce, 19 Kids after Josh Duggar's molestation allegations came to light. In terms of public opinion, it seems Jon and Kate have come out slightly on top (while having a tumultuous marriage is bad, child molestation is infinitely worse). However, 19 Kids did get a Spin-Off without Josh Duggar called Counting On.
Kitchen Nightmares (2007) Restaurant: Impossible (2011)

Bar Rescue (2011)
Reality shows where an established member of the restaurant/hospitality management world tries to save a struggling bar/restaurant from going under, often with a lot of drama over how subpar the food quality and service is All three shows have a similar premise and no-nonsense hosts. Nightmares has a week to get the restaurant going again, Impossible two days and a budget of $10,000 and Bar Rescue, five days. Rescue is also different because it focuses more on a business aspect than menu/makeover aspect. Unknown for now but Kitchen Nightmares has a HUGE head start.
Toddlers & Tiaras (2008, TLC) Little Miss Perfect (2009, WE tv)

Dance Moms (2011, Lifetime)
Reality shows that premiered in 2009 about young girls in beauty pageants or dance competitions, and their Stage Moms. Toddlers and Tiaras has more girls from 1-5, whereas Little Miss Perfect is about girls from 5-10. Dance Moms is about preteen dancers in Abby Lee's dance studio. So far, Toddlers and Tiaras seems to be more popular and gets clips shown on news networks. Has had 4 seasons as opposed to Little Miss Perfect, which had only two. Dance Moms' popularity began to skyrocket in 2014 when Maddie Ziegler was feature in Sia's music video for "Chandelier", and its cast have perhaps become the biggest reality stars in the world (or at least in the U.S.) outside of the Kardashians. So it looks like Dance Moms will come out on top when all is said and done.
Pawn Stars (2009, History Channel) Hardcore Pawn (2010, TruTV) Antiques Roadshow meets American Chopper Stars tends to focus more on the customers and items being sold. Hardcore focuses more on the American Chopper-style conflicts. So far, the winner seems to be Pawn Stars. Not only are they one of the most successful reality shows on cable television, but they have managed to capitalize on that fame by turning their shop into a new Las Vegas tourist spot as well as start their own line of merchandise. Hardcore Pawn, while still an entertaining show, doesn't seem to reach anywhere near the universal appeal Pawn Stars has. However, both shows have been successful enough to warrant their own spinoffs.
MasterChef Australia (2009, Network Ten) My Kitchen Rules (2010, Seven Network) Aspiring chefs are pit against each other in a series of cooking challenges to find out who is the best in the kitchen. One of the main differences between the two series is that the contestants in My Kitchen Rules works in pairs, while Masterchef focuses on individuals. MKR contestants are also not required to complete an on-screen audition, instead they are made to participate in an "Instant Restaurant" round, where they must serve a 3 course meal to the judges and opposing team, as a part of the preliminaries. Hard to tell. On one hand, My Kitchen Rules has an average nightly viewer number of 1.5 million, whereas Masterchef, for the most part, could barely reach 1 million. On the other hand, Masterchef Australia's Facebook page has almost three times the number of likes that MKR page has. The latter seems to be mocked more due to their tendency of designating hero-villain roles to create drama and controversy, while the former is often regarded as the more "genuine" cooking show.
Food Wars (2010, Travel Channel) Food Feuds (2010, Food Network) Local restaurants with the same signature dish go head to head to see who's version is better. Three main differences: The hosts ("Feuds" boasts Iron Chef Michael Symon, "Wars" has stage actress Camille Ford), the judging (Symon does the judging on "Feuds", "Wars" has a panel of 2-4 judges) and the focus ("Wars" features the local culture the rival eateries. "Feuds" focuses on the cooking and ingredients) Tie. Both were cancelled after one season and both fell into immediate obscurity.
Auction Hunters (2010) Storage Wars (2010)

Storage Hunters (2011)
Reality shows focused on auctioning off repossessed storage units. The content of the shows are very similar, but the execution varies between them. Auction Hunters puts more emphasis on testing and appraising their finds, Storage Wars puts more focus on the four factions bidding and Storage Hunters keeps most of the show on the auction grounds unless something needs appraised Ratings are good for both Auction Hunters and Storage Wars but Storage Wars has its own spinoff show Storage Wars Texas. Storage Hunters wrapped up eight episodes last summer and is in dead last. Though it is worth noting that Storage Hunters became something of Sleeper Hit in the UK with regular reruns on digital channel Dave along with a UK remake.
Sons of Guns (2011) American Guns (2011) Somewhat eccentric and abrasive gun shop owners make equally eccentric BFGs Of The Week. Oddly enough, both air on Discovery Channel simultaneously, just two nights apart. The main differences end up settling on the shop's own specialties and eccentricities, with American Guns capitalizing on its "Old West" theme and Sons of Guns being soaked in Louisiana flavor. Sons of Guns started in January 2011 and lasted for five seasons. American Guns started in October of the same year but lasted only for two seasons. Rumors and rumblings with production problems concerning Sons suggested American Guns was picked up as "insurance," but these rumors have since been proven untrue. Likely Discovery pulled the same thing NBC did regarding Studio 60 and 30 Rock. Both shows were cancelled due to scandals by the owners. Despite high ratings, American Guns was canceled possibly in response to the Sandy Hook School Shootings and the show's star, Rich Wyatt, was arrested for conspiracy, fraud and tax evasion charges after it was discovered he lied about his tax earnings to the IRS and never had a federal firearms license. Sons of Guns cancellation was much worse as it was revealed the show's star, Will Hayden, was charged for child abuse and rape with one of the victims being his own daughter on the show!
Series/Whodunnit (2013) Escape the Night (2017) A Reality tv series In Witch a Man is Cursed to invite a number of pepole to solve a murder mystery while they get killed one by one. Whodunnit is about solving the eliminated contestants murders with the least accurate guest being killed, while the Escape the the night Has the guest's solving the escape the room type puzzles's with the 2 worst fighting for the life in a elimination challenge. Whodunnit lasted one season on abc in 2013. Escape the night is still going strong on YouTube Red with it second season, not that it helps that the cast each season are popular YouTubers, With the host being Joey Graceffa.
Human Weapon (2007) Fight Quest (2007) A reality TV series hosted by a professional MMA fighter and a "tough guy" who travel to foreign nations to train in their local martial art and compete against a local fighter at the end of an episode The shows are almost identical, with no significant differences between them except that different they feature different hosts and experts. A tie. Human Weapon received a single season of 15 episodes, while Fight Quest was canceled almost immediately after it began airing its second season, with 13 total episodes filmed.
Operación Triunfo (2001, TVE) Estudio de actores (2002, Antena 3) Spanish reality TV shows set in a fully-functioning academy, Operación Triunfo for singers, Estudio de actores for actors. Estudio de actores premiered two months after the end of the first season of Operación Triunfo, and the media were quick to note the similarities between both formats. This one wasn't even close. The first season of Operación Triunfo was a massive hit and the show has run for eleven seasons across three different stints in two different networks, while Estudio de actores was essentially ignored by viewers and got axed less than three weeks into its first season.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: