If a reality television show has a compelling enough premise, chances are it will be adopted by another country at some point in time. For instance, some of the most popular American reality TV programs have been inspired by British counterparts, including The X Factor, Got Talent, The Weakest Link, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and many more.
As reality television continues to grow with the advent of streaming services, it’s worth wondering which British TV shows could and should be next in line for an American revamp. From camping and cooking to designing and dating, there’s a little something for everyone.
10 Interior Design Masters
In a unique occupational reality competition series, Interior Design Masters features 10 interior designers who vie for the opportunity to design a pub inside a London hotel. The contestants take on weekly challenges that entail designing interior shops, restaurants, parlors, and large commercial venues. With a 6.5 IMDb rating (high for a reality show), the show is beloved enough to translate overseas.
Rather than a show based on schadenfreude and the humiliation of contestants, Interior Design Masters celebrates creativity, hard work, and pursuing career dreams at all costs, something American audiences can learn from and embrace.
9 Killer Camp
Killer Camp is one of the most ingenious and enjoyable British reality shows – and there is nothing else quite like it. Eleven contestants gather at a lakeside cabin during the summer, only to learn that a secret killer is among them. In addition to unmasking the killer, contestants earn money by winning various challenges.
Aside from the brilliant novelty of the premise, the show seems tailor-made for American horror fans who grew up frequenting Camp Crystal Lake via Friday the 13th on the big screen. If the show was moved to the states, filming in the real New Jersey locale that classic American slasher Jason Voorhees stalked for several decades could be used to increase the authenticity. After all, there’s nothing more American than summer-camp horror.
8 Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star
As a spin on Britain’s Next Top Model, Glow Up: Britain’s Next Make-Up Star is exactly what it sounds like. Multiple make-up artists compete in weekly challenges, which are judged by some of the industry’s foremost authorities.
With expert craftsmanship and stunningly detailed creations to go with the inherent competitive drama, the show actually boasts talented individuals who deserve recognition, something most American reality shows do not care about. The show would be a great way to remind American audiences that hard work pays off and that being famous for no reason isn’t something to aspire to.
7 Don’t Tell The Bride
As one of Britain’s best and longest-running reality dating shows, it’s surprising that Don’t Tell the Bride has not been adapted for American audiences. After all, it has been translated for Irish and Australian viewers. The premise of the show entails bridegrooms who must arrange, plan, and execute every detail of their impending wedding without sharing any information with their bride-to-be.
Since the show has already proven to work in Australia and Ireland, there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t be just as entertaining as an American reality series. Most American reality TV deals with relationship drama and matrimonial messiness anyway, which is why the 90 Day Fiance franchise is so popular. Don’t Tell the Bride would be perfect programming to fill that American appetite.
6 Sexy Beasts
Considering America’s insatiable appetite for reality dating shows, it’s likely just a matter of time before the brand new British show Sexy Beasts gets a U.S. makeover. The show features singles who meet under heavy prosthetic makeup and try to forge connections based on internal attractiveness rather than superficial beauty.
Aside from the unique gimmick of the show’s premise, Sexy Beasts would capitalize on the massive success of The Masked Singer, another international reality TV series appropriated by American producers.
5 The Repair Shop
With an unparalleled 8.7 IMDb rating, The Repair Shop is definitely beloved in British reality TV. Considering its high quality and compelling vocational subject matter, the show is ideal for an American translation.
The documentary reality series follows Britain’s foremost restoration experts who refurbish everything from priceless family trinkets to ornate heirlooms. Aside from the skillful tradecraft, it’s the engaging and often touching backstories of the families that make the show so memorable. Since most American reality TV revels in materialism, The Repair Shop would provide a refreshing antidote.
4 Embarrassing Bodies
Already boasting international spinoffs in Australia, Holland, Russia, and Ukraine, the BAFTA Award-winning British reality series Embarrassing Bodies would be a definite hit in America. The show features medical professionals who counsel people who have a variety of embarrassing medical problems.
Even prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the frightening number of health issues in America from obesity and opioid addiction to diabetes and heart diseases suggest that Embarrassing Bodies would be greatly beneficial for a U.S. audience. Whereas most reality shows offer frivolous fun, this show offers an extremely important service on public health – but also appeals to the morbid curiosity of the audience, who want to see which health issue is the strangest.
3 Naked Attraction
Since America can’t get enough of racy and controversial reality dating shows, there is none better than Britain’s Naked Attraction to import overseas. The show entails six strangers who stand naked in a translucent tube that is shrouded to start. From the feet up, the players’ naked bodies are slowly revealed to a potential suitor, who must also get naked before choosing their date.
As silly as it sounds, Naked Attraction would almost certainly be a hit in America, especially on a cable network like HBO that recently took on the equally risque FBoy Island. The full-frontal nudity featured on the show seems like the logical next step in American reality dating shows.
2 Million Pound Menu
For the culinarily inclined, Million Pound Menu would translate in nearly every country and language. The British series fuses elements of Chopped! with that of Shark Tank in a competitive series that pits chefs and restaurateurs that their creative ideas are worth investing in.
Given America’s endless fascination with food and culinary competitions, a spinoff called Million Dollar Menu would not be a stretch of the imagination. The BBC hit cooking competition show offers entertainment and business advice that viewers can learn from and enjoy at once, something not always promised in a reality show.
1 The Bridge
The Bridge is a brand new British reality show that underscores the importance of teamwork, cooperation, and keeping one’s eye on the goal until the mission is complete. Narrated by James McAvoy, the show gathers 12 strangers at a pristine British riverbank who must work together to build a 250-meter bridge in 20 days.
Since the show is already produced by HBO Max, an American update would be quite plausible. The man-vs-nature show combines survivalism with competitive teamwork, a subgenre of reality television that America has made a cottage industry out of with Survivor, Alone, Naked and Afraid, and more. The Bridge would be a perfect connector with such reality shows.