For older audiences, there are many excellent options for reality television. From singing contests to social media-inspired competitions to lifestyle shows, there is an ever-increasing number of reality shows that capture unscripted drama and humor. However, because these shows are unscripted they can sometimes contain content or language that can be considered unsuitable for younger audiences.
Thankfully, families that are looking for shows that they can all watch together will find a large library of entertaining options on both network television and streaming. Whether audiences are looking for competition or education or simple entertainment, there are delightful reality shows designed with the entire family in mind.
10 Floor Is Lava
Debuting on Netflix in 2020, Floor is Lava follows the premise of the popular children’s game of the same name in which players pretend the floor is made of lava and must do whatever it takes to avoid touching the ground.
But rather than relying on imagination, the show uses a slime-like substance to approximate lava. Contestants must make their way through an obstacle course without ever touching the lava. For kids who played the game on the playground or in the living room, it is exciting to see the concept taken to the next level.
9 Lego Masters
Lego Masters is a reality competition show that started in the UK but has expanded to many different countries, including the US. The American version of the show is hosted by the voice of Lego Batman, Will Arnett.
In Lego Masters, contestants compete in teams of two, taking part in elimination challenges that test the builders’ ability to construct Lego creations based on different themes. Kids will enjoy seeing the various Lego creations while adults will be able to appreciate the impressive creativity demonstrated by the contestants.
8 The World According To Jeff Goldblum
One of the first Disney+ original shows, The World According to Jeff Goldblum follows the quirky actor as he explores different topics, digging into their past, present, and future. In the first season, he covers topics such as ice cream, tattoos, and gaming.
Jeff Goldblum’s electric presence and passion for discovery elevate the show and make it an engaging watch. Audiences of all ages will learn something new while being entertained. The show was even nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Hosted Nonfiction Series or Special category.
7 Nailed It!
Capitalizing on the trend of average people trying to copy recipes they found on the internet, Nailed It! is a reality competition show that challenges amateur bakers to replicate elaborate cakes that are well beyond their capabilities, typically resulting in hilarious failures.
Because of the concept, the show is immensely relatable, far more so than shows that feature professional chefs. Additionally, Nailed It! benefits from the presence of its immensely funny host, comedian Nicole Byer, who became the first Black woman to ever be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program.
6 Crikey! It’s The Irwins
For many years, Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter, was one of the most famous and beloved wildlife experts on reality television. Unfortunately, his show, The Crocodile Hunter, came to an end in 2007 shortly after his tragic passing in 2006.
In Crikey! It’s the Irwins, his family continues his legacy of conservation and education. The show follows his wife Terri Irwin and their children Bindi and Robert Irwin as they work at the Australia Zoo. Younger audiences will love the animal interactions and older audiences will feel nostalgic for the connection to a late great hero.
5 MasterChef Junior
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has made a name for himself as a decidedly non-family-friendly personality on cooking reality shows such as MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen, in which he has become famous for his profanity-laced tirades and witty insults.
In MasterChef Junior, the show follows a similar format as MasterChef but with contestants ages 8 to 13. Gordon Ramsay tones down his temper, creating a family-friendly atmosphere and allowing the incredibly talented kid contestants to shine. The creativity and skill exhibited by these young chefs are nothing short of impressive.
4 Shark Tank
Many people have had an idea for what they believe could become a successful business, but no means or connections to bring that idea to life. Shark Tank provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their business or idea to a panel of wealthy potential investors. The investors, or “sharks,” must then decide whether or not they want to invest in the business or reject the proposal.
Featuring engaging investors, interesting products, emotional backstories for the entrepreneurs, and occasionally hilarious products or pitches, Shark Tank is a thoroughly entertaining show for audiences of all ages.
3 American Ninja Warrior
Based on the Japanese television show Sasuke, American Ninja Warrior is a reality competition show in which contestants must race to complete a cross-fit-style obstacle course in hope of advancing on to the next round with all the qualifying competitors meeting for the final round to determine the season’s champion.
American Ninja Warrior is a fun and easy-to-watch show for audiences of all ages. The failures are hilarious, the successes are incredibly impressive, and the show is one that entertains while promoting and highlighting physical fitness.
2 The Amazing Race
Airing since 2001, The Amazing Race has become a staple of reality competition television. The show features teams of two competing against each other in a globe-spanning race filled with challenges, puzzles, and obstacles.
It combines all of the best aspects of a typical competition show with a travel show, highlighting the culture and scenery of various locations around the world. This is a show with universal appeal that will expand families’ view of the world while entertaining them with gameplay and competition.
1 American Idol
Initially airing in 2002, for nearly two decades American Idol has been a fantastic option for family-friendly reality television. The singing competition show follows contestants from the auditions all the way to the finale, with audiences voting on which singers deserve to advance each round.
With great celebrity judges, young talented contestants, relevant musical guests, and now annual Disney song-themed rounds, American Idol allows fans of all ages to invest in these undiscovered singers and interact with the show by casting their votes each week.
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