Competition TV Shows: A Fix for Every Niche
Remember in 2002 when the only competition-style show around was American Idol? That’s going back to when Ryan Seacrest was a mere co-host with Brian Dunkleman, my friends. However, a few weeks ago on a boring Sunday night, I flipped to my old stand-by HGTV, and discovered a competition show that tested contestants’ ability to build things like Adirondack chairs and folding tables. Of course, after watching it for 5 minutes I was intrigued to watch the upcoming episodes (and not just because I had a minor crush on Scott McGillivray, one of the judges).
This really got me thinking about how many types of competition-style shows there are on TV and on so many different channels. You could find a competition style show for almost every interest out there. Don’t believe me? Oh ye of little faith, let’s take a journey down competition TV road with a few examples:
For the home remodeler and handymen at heart: All American Handyman (HGTV)
If your ideal Saturday is visiting Lowe's or Home Depot, here's your competition show!
- The goal of the series: to find and award America’s best handyman/woman, who has real skill, integrity and the right stuff to impress the celebrity judges (Mike Holmes and Scott McGillivray, plus a secret judge every week). To avoid elimination, contestants need to show their abilities under the watchful gaze (and sometimes critical opinions) of the judges.
For the inner decorator at heart: Design Star (HGTV)
- The goal of the series: 12 contestants go through weekly design-based challenges and are eliminated by the judges (Genevieve Gorder, Candice Olson, Vern Yip, and special weekly celebrity guests) until 2 equally competitive and creative finalists fight to become the winner and have their own show on HGTV.
For the inner sharp-shooter: Top Shot (History Channel)
- The goal of the series: The 16 shooters display their mastery of weapons from all eras of human history, from primitive rocks to today’s sophisticated firearms. In order to see the action on TV, high-speed, high-definition cameras capture the skillfulness of each shot in extreme slow motion. Contestants also must endure grueling physical tests to stay in the game and become victorious. The winner receives a $100,000 prize package and the title of “Top Shot.”
For the inner cupcake enthusiast: Cupcake Wars (Food Network)
Mini cakes! What's not to love?
- The goal of the series: Besides inducing cupcake cravings in yours truly, each week four of the country’s top cupcake bakers face off in three elimination challenges until only one decorator remains standing and wins. The sweet prize is $10,000 and the chance to showcase their cupcakes at a high-profile gig, like a star-studded magazine party or an A-list celebrity golf tournament.
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, consider one of these:
- For the inner gourmet: Top Chef (Bravo)
- For the inner hair stylist: Shear Genius (Bravo)
- For the inner singer: The Voice (NBC)
- For the inner dancer: America’s Next Dance Crew (MTV) or So, You Think You Can Dance (FOX)
- For the inner business professional: The Apprentice (NBC)
- For the business professional’s guilty pleasure: The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC)
One of the biggest things that marketers and advertisers can pull from these shows is the availability of market segmentation that presents itself. A company specializing in customized cupcake wrappers can spend their advertising dollars exclusively on Food Network at the time Cupcake Wars is on. Or, a store that sells hunting gear will get the biggest bang for their buck (pun intended, of course) during Top Shot as compared to an episode of Sugar High.
Do you watch any of these competition shows? Is there a competition show that you love, but I left off the list? Is there an interest that you have, but haven’t found a competition show for it? Shout off below!