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    The 10 Most Talked-About Reality Franchises of 2023 (So Far) – The Hollywood Reporter

    Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and RuPaul Charles

    THE FRANCHISE RuPaul’s Drag Race

    As Paramount Global further consolidates its portfolio, the value placed on its 26-time Emmy winner is apparent. RuPaul’s Drag Race (and spinoff All Stars) migrated from VH1 to MTV earlier in 2023 — driving ratings up 17 percent. Produced by Charles and his longtime collaborators, World of Wonder’s Bailey and Barbato, the property is now supplying 15 international versions to streamer Paramount+. Drag Race México launched June 22.

    Alex Baskin

    THE FRANCHISE Vanderpump Rules

    Bolstered by wild public interest in an infidelity scandal (see interview below), Vanderpump Rules hit series-best ratings and drove Bravo’s strongest viewership in nine years — the first of three reunion specials fetching 4.6 million viewers over three days. Shepherded by Baskin, who stayed on as showrunner after leaving production company Evolution Media to launch his own shingle, 32 Flavors Entertainment, the decade-old series is suddenly the most relevant show on cable not written by Taylor Sheridan.

    Jack Burgess, Tim Harcourt and Stephen Lambert

    THE FRANCHISE The Traitors

    Studio Lambert delivered this hot spin on a Dutch format to the U.K. and the U.S. in the past year, making it the rare reality franchise to launch in multiple territories at the same time. Part Big Brother and part Clue, the stateside version of The Traitors, hosted by Alan Cumming, brought a much-needed hit to NBCUniversal streamer Peacock — delivering buzz and earning a swift renewal despite an absence of disclosed viewership.

    Andy Cohen

    THE FRANCHISE The Real Housewives

    Most of the series that populate the 10-title strong Real Housewives franchise are produced by different shingles, but they all have one thing in common. Cohen, the onetime Bravo exec who ditched the C-suite to host and produce talk show Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, is still an active EP across the Housewives universe. It keeps the lights on at Bravo and keeps Cohen busy. The 14th cycle of the New York iteration premieres July 16 with an entirely new cast.

    Adam DiVello

    THE FRANCHISE Selling Sunset

    In reality and unscripted, streaming success is most often awarded to competition shows. Selling Sunset bucks that trend. Produced by DiVello’s Done and Done Productions, docudrama Selling Sunset was seated in the No. 1 slot of Netflix’s top 10 as soon as it premiered its sixth season in May. Its success may already have been duplicated. Late 2022 spinoff Selling the OC was quickly renewed for second and third seasons.

    Carlos King

    THE FRANCHISE Love & Marriage

    Following the success of Love & Marriage: Huntsville, OWN has greenlit spinoffs set in Washington, D.C., and Detroit from King’s Kingdom Reign Entertainment. With a growing slice of OWN real estate, and its footprint now duplicated on Warner Bros. Discovery streamer Max, it’s little surprise that King is leaning hard into his genre. He talks about his own series and his competition on the podcast Reality With the King.

    Zachary Klein and Christian Sarabia

    THE FRANCHISE Below Deck

    Yeah, there’s a lot of Bravo on this list. But the network has a knack for making series that launch other series — and, before the recent Vanderpump renaissance, Below Deck was top dog. It also has the distinction of launching four successful spinoffs: Below Deck Mediterranean, Below Deck Sailing Yacht, Below Deck Down Under and Below Deck Adventure — all from Klein and Sarabia at 51 Minds Entertainment.

    Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon


    They’ve got other food shows (see: Netflix’s enduring hit Nailed It!), but Magical Elves producers Kriley and Sharon notably have the king of all culinary TV in Top Chef. Its recent 20th cycle was a celebration of the franchise’s relevance, drawing past winners and finalists from 11 of the 30 international versions for a global showdown. Up next: the daunting task of reimagining the series with a new host. Previous winner Kristen Kish is replacing Padma Lakshmi, who exited after 19 seasons.

    Julie Pizzi

    THE FRANCHISE The Challenge

    A 1998 spinoff of landmark Bunim/Murray Productions entries The Real World and Road Rules, The Challenge is technically the longest-running reality competition on American TV. (Sorry, Survivor!) The fact that an MTV show has evolved so much so late in its life cycle is a testament to its relevance. In the past year alone, Bunim/Murray president Pizzi has put spinoffs on streaming (Paramount+’s The Challenge: World Championship) and broadcast (CBS’ The Challenge: USA).

    Matt Sharp

    THE FRANCHISE 90 Day Fiancé

    Consumers curious as to why Warner Bros. Discovery would load its linear unscripted offerings onto its prestige streamer need look no further than Sharp Entertainment’s 90 Day Fiancé. The top-rated series on TLC, it boasts a constantly growing suite of spinoffs and was one of the primary pitches in the recent Max launch.

    This story first appeared in the July 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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