Reality TV Shows for Summer Downtime

Reality TV Shows Perfect For Slow Summer Days

It’s summer. Which means vacations for some, staycations for others, and summer Fridays if you’re lucky. But for many, it means collapsing on the couch after a brutally hot day. Whatever your summer looks like, there’s likely going to be a little more downtime. And just like the beach read exists for those who want something light to fill their extra time, so does the “beach binge.” We’re talking about TV shows that are perfect to watch while basking in the glow of the sun, or your screen (and ideally the flow of your AC).

The reality show is perfect summer TV material. It can be light and silly, something you can watch by the pool. Or gripping and informative, perfect for your staycation in front of the screen. Oftentimes reality TV is completely carefree, which is what we all want during the warmer months.

Looking for a new guilty pleasure this summer? Try any of the following reality shows airing now or before Labor Day.

“Queer Eye”

A staycation is the perfect time to get buried in a brand new season of “Queer Eye” and cry your eyes out. Watch the “Fab Five” revisit Kansas City to help out Jonathan Van Ness’ former teacher, a man who’s never spoken to a gay person before, and many more. As Van Ness says, “try not to cry, try not to lose it.” Um…yeah, that’s not happening.

Where to watch: Netflix

“Worst Bakers in America”

If “The Great British Bake Off” bores you and you’re craving a crazy food competition, this Food Network show should satiate you. “Worst Bakers in America” is exactly what it sounds like — it brings together 12 of the worst bakers in the country to participate in an intense baking boot camp. The best thing about this show is it doesn’t leave you craving cake at the end of every episode, which makes it easier to reach those summer body goals.

Where to watch: Food Network

“Bachelor in Paradise”

The ultimate summer binge series, “Bachelor in Paradise” follows former Bachelors and Bachelorettes as they explore new relationships in a secluded, dreamy paradise in Mexico. A new promo promises plenty of drama; this season, it seems to be between the boys.

Were to watch: ABC


If you’re looking for something a little more serious, “Intervention” should do the trick. For its 20th season, the Emmy Award-winning series will combat the ever-growing drug epidemic in Philadelphia. Over the course of six episodes for this special season, viewers will follow the stories of addicts as they work to overcome their opioid addictions. This season promises to include one of the most dramatic recoveries in one of the largest drug hubs on the East Coast.

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Were to watch: A&E

“The Real Housewives of Orange County”

If good old-fashioned reality TV is your thing, tune into the 22nd season of the original iteration of Bravo’s hit reality franchise, “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” This time around there will be a new faces, new characters, and brand new drama.

Where to watch: Bravo

“Big Brother”

Imagine “The Real World” combined with “The Truman Show,” but competitive. Are you intrigued? That’s what we thought. This 21-season reality show follows a group of people living together in a house filled with dozens of cameras and microphones recording their every move, 24 hours a day. Each week, the Houseguests vote someone out of the house. At the end, the last remaining tenant receives the grand prize of $500,000.

Where to watch: CBS

“Love Island”

If Bachelor in Paradise is too civilized for you, try “Love Island”, which originated in the U.K. This show is so perfect for summer, that’s the only time of year it airs. On this island full of romance, it’s every couple for itself. The couples shift every few days. And if you’re not picked to pair off, you’re at risk of island removal.

Where to watch: CBS

“Bring the Funny”

If you prefer something funny when it’s sunny, try this brand new competition series. “Bring the Funny” features the world’s best up-and-coming comedic acts and, for the first time on television, embraces every style of comedy performance in one competition. From solo comics to sketch troupes to musicians, magicians, podcasters, puppeteers, YouTubers, and more, anyone who can make audiences laugh will have the chance to receive the $250,000 prize package. Judges include Kenan Thompson of “SNL” fame, self-proclaimed Twitter comic Chrissy Teigen, and comedy icon Jeff Foxworthy.

Where to watch: NBC

“The Hills: New Beginnings”

If summer brings out the nostalgic side of you, tune into MTV’s reboot of beloved reality television pioneer, “The Hills.” Don’t get too excited: LC is too good to return. But the rest of the crew is there, including Audrina, Whitney, Brody, and some new faces like actress Mischa Barton. And, of course, Heidi and Spencer Pratt find themselves front and center.

Next time you’re looking for something to watch that’s not too serious, give these easy-watching series a shot. 

Where to watch: MTV

Program availability may have changed and is subject to change. Streaming services may require a subscription and sometimes an additional fee.

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