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When reality TV programming hit the television waves, most reality TV shows had some kind of hook to draw viewers in.  Shows like Survivor had premises that were very un-reality like and the appeal of these shows was watching ordinary people adapt to an unordinary scenario.

However, as the years have shown, some of the most popular and engaging reality TV shows revolve around work.  Reality TV shows about work seemed to have little appeal to the general public but the truth of the matter proved to be different.  Shows like American Chopper and The Casino have become huge hits despite the fact that they show regular people run their regular business with very little novelty.  The success of American Chopper and similar shows like Pimp my Ride or Monster Garage has highlighted the skills of car mechanics.  Everybody loves their cars, but very few television executives ever thought that viewers would be attracted to a show that seemed so technical.  However, these shows have an appeal that transcends its seeming limitations.  That’s because these reality TV shows tend to be educational while still being fun.

A new wave of work related reality TV shows have exploded in reality.  These reality TV shows revolve around a contest in which several people compete against each other to reach their dream job.  The most popular of these reality TV shows is American Idol.  This gigantic hit has spawned the career of Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken.  Although much of the appeal of this show rests in the personalities of its three celebrity judges (Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson), the reason why America loves this show is because they get to watch somebody’s dreams comes true.  Following this blueprint are other work-related reality TV shows like Last Comic Standing, America’s Top Model, and even Can you be a pornstar?  Television lovers just can’t seem to get enough of watching contestants try to land a job in their dream field, as they (and the contestants) learn more about what is needed to be at the top of their field.

Other work related reality TV shows have an appeal that is based on the relative obscurity of their job.  For example, Dog the Bounty Hunter, is a huge hit because it follows the adventures of Duane ’Dog’ Chapman, a successful bounty hunter that tracks down wanted criminals and bring them to justice.  However, this popular show is not simply about the adventures of a bounty hunter but the life of a bounty hunter that must balance his demanding profession with his commitments to his family.  An engaging look at a regular person in an irregular job, Dog the Bounty Hunter, is a fascinating reality TV show that technically is about work, but really is about so much more.

Of course, there are other reality TV programs about work that add a new twist.  Shows like Faking It give contestants the opportunity to pretend to work in a different profession than their regular one and sees if they have the ability to convince others that they aren’t faking it.  As reality TV evolves, new types of reality TV shows about work will be produced much to everyone’s delight.  Yay.