The Bachelorette New Zealand premieres on Monday, with Lesina Nakhid-Schuster bidding to find true love. What better time for Sinead Corcoran to recap our reality TV history and rank 15 of the many shows that have gone before. You're welcome.
Revealed: NZ's first Bachelorette
Against the odds, Sam Wallace wins Celebrity Treasure Island
Bachelor Jordan Mauger flipped a coin to decide winner
Anna Murray: Why Married at First Sight needs to be cancelled - and now
15. Married At First Sight NZ
It begun as a light-hearted "social experiment" where potential soulmates were paired by "experts" and married off without ever meeting each other. The Kiwi take on the Danish franchise has since strayed into questionable territory, most recently by inadvertently signing up a groom with an outstanding domestic violence charge in the United States for last year's series. Following the abuse allegations coming to light, Three cut the groom's storyline – but later that season the show was slammed after one contestant repeatedly referred to another female contestant as a "slut".
14. Heartbreak Island
Yup, just like the popular series Love Island, Heartbreak Island showed hot young singletons shacking up together on a tropical island, with regular opportunities to swap partners. The winning couple received $100,000, but the show was not without criticism. Viewers slammed its portrayal of dating as a popularity contest but TVNZ said the pairings "reflected the realities of dating in a Tinder age". It ran for two seasons.
13. The Great Kiwi Bake Off
Following the format of The Great British Bake Off (and the 20 other versions made around the world), this first hit screens in 2018. We're two seasons and a celeb special in but there have been none of the watercooler-dominating talking points that emanated from the UK original.
12. Mitre 10 Dream Home
in 1999 a little home reno show debuted where couples compete to turn a dilapidated house into their Dream Home, while trying not to kill their partner in the process. "Just like The Block?" you ask. Yup basically. It ran for a staggering 11 seasons.
11. NZ's Next Top Model
Originally created by American talkshow host and model Tyra Banks, the Kiwi series hit screens in 2009 and ran for three seasons. The premise was simple – a group of genetically blessed young women lived in a house together and fought to the death (not really) for a modelling contract and the title of New Zealand's Next Top Model. Perfect bone-structure aside, the show was not without controversy. In between teenage contestants posing topless, drink driving convictions and suspected drug-use, headlines were rife.
10. My Kitchen Rules NZ
Based on the popular Australian format, the Kiwi version premiered in 2014 and has had four successful seasons. Couples battle it out to transform an ordinary home into an instant restaurant complete with theme and table decorations for one pressure-cooker night. Nothing wildly scandalous has ever happened.
9. Survivor NZ
Survivor NZ hit screens in 2017 and followed a group of contestants who were marooned on an island, split into tribes and have to forage for food, water, fire, and shelter. Contestants were voted off each week and the winner scored $250k – not too shabby. It ran for two seasons but as the contestants are just regular Joes, it was never as interesting as watching the celebs do something very similar in Treasure Island.
8. The X Factor
Yeah, just like NZ Idol (which we now know was derived from American Idol but actually originated with Popstars) contestants had to sing their way to the top. The show began in 2013 with MediaWorks confirming the format rights to the show had expired after a topsy-turvy second season that saw husband-and-wife judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon replaced halfway through after Moon likened one performer to Norman Bates. From Psycho.
7. NZ Idol
Guys, remember when it was 2004 and the most nail-biting goss was whether Michael Murphy or Ben Lummis was going to win NZ Idol? In case you missed it – Ben won, but it hasn't really made a difference either way as they both quickly faded from the limelight. The series ran for three seasons, and 16 years later no one can remember a single contestant. Apart from Michael and Ben, obvs.
6. The Block NZ
The Australian series came to our shores in 2012 and follows four couples as they compete to renovate houses, sell them at auction and keep the chump change. It's run for eight seasons but cracks in the format have begun to appear (great plastering pun, right?). Last season was chock-a-block with squabbling, design clangers and endless filler, capped with the most depressing live auction ever where three of the four couples went home with nothing, two apartments failed to sell and one only just met reserve.
5. The Bachelor NZ
Ahh, who could forget the TV show that spawned New Zealand's golden couple, Art and Matootles? Based on the popular US franchise, the series keeping rose growers in business came to New Zealand in 2015 and ran for three seasons. The show followed 20-odd women who competed for the attention and affection of said Bachelor. Aside from Art and Matilda, who are now married with a baby, there were no other successful relationships. May we remind you of when Bachelor Jordan Mauger flipped a coin to decide his winning Bachelorette, then dumped her two days later?
Also worthy of a mention is Naz Khanjani: the sassy runner up from season two who went on to cut some shapes on Dancing with the Stars, launch a reality TV show, "Life of Naz", on her website and rack up a following of 100,000 on Instagram.
4. Celebrity Treasure Island
Way back in 1997, a bunch of New Zealand's A-listers were given a couple of weeks off work to have a tropical island holiday and compete for $50,000. The first phase of the show ran until 2008 – but all anyone really remembers is that time Lana Coc-Kroft nearly died from stepping on a bit of coral. Last year TVNZ dragged it from the vault and we got to watch Sam Wallace win $100,000 for Starship Hospital. Another series will air this year.
3. MasterChef New Zealand
The competitive reality television cooking show sizzled on to our screens a decade ago and saw contestants compete in weekly cooking challenges. Despite the local version morphing into a pairs format being axed in 2015, we can't thank it enough for discovering Nadia Lim and her food bags, making the days of having to venture out of the house for groceries but a distant memory.
It's a crime that we don't talk about it more, but this Kiwi-made talent show paved the way for juggernauts like American Idol and The X Factor. Popstars hit screens in 1999 when producer Jonathan Dowling formed girl group TrueBliss. It was revolutionary reality TV and remains one of the most successful telly ideas ever, with the format sold to more than 50 countries.
1. Dancing with the Stars
The boogying TV show, based on British series Strictly Come Dancing, hit Kiwi screens in 2005 and saw celebs cha-cha around a dance floor all in the name of cha-cha-charity. It's entertaining, family-friendly and gets bonus points for being for a good cause. Eight seasons in and, aside from the time Rodney Hide accidentally dropped his poor partner on her head, it's remained relatively scandal-free.