From 'Masked Singer' to 'Titan Games': 5 New Reality Shows Heating Up the Emmy Competition

9:30 AM 6/11/2019

by Tara Bitran

From celebrity contestants belting it out in elaborate costumes to aspiring athletes attempting to replicate The Rock's workouts, these shows brought fresh flavor to the unscripted space.

'Million Dollar Mile,' 'The Masked Singer,' 'The Titan Games'
'Million Dollar Mile,' 'The Masked Singer,' 'The Titan Games'
Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.; Michael Becker/FOX; Vivian Zink/NBC

  • 'Million Dollar Mile'

    March 27

    Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.

    What's at stake Everyday runners must overcome obstacles to win up to $1 million at the end of the "Million Dollar Mile," a race through Los Angeles. However, they are chased by elite athletes whose only objective is to stop them from making it to the end.

    Origins LeBron James and Maverick Carter's SpringHill Entertainment produced with Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan.

    Hosts Former NFL player and current minor-league baseball player Tim Tebow, L.A. Chargers play-by-play man Matt "Money" Smith and ESPN reporter Maria Taylor

    Ratings CBS moved the show from Wednesday nights to Saturdays after two episodes of lackluster ratings that included a 1.0 debut in the 18-to-49 demographic and 4.1 million viewers. Two weeks later, the series was pulled with six episodes left to air.

    Winner Most contestants on the show were only able to earn $10,000, though San Diego MMA fighter/boxer Dashon Johnson took home $50,000 for the biggest prize awarded on an aired episode.

  • 'The Titan Games'

    NBC

    Vivian Zink/NBC

    Premiere: Jan. 3

    What's at stake Athletes strive to become Titans and win $100,000. In each episode, four female and four male contestants go head-to-head in a round of paired battles, and then the best of both groups face one another on an obstacle course called Mount Olympus. Contestants compete only against members of the same sex.

    Origins Obstacles on the show were inspired by host Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's own workouts; the show was teased to be similar to NBC's 2008 remake of American Gladiators.

    Star ties Johnson created the show and serves as exec producer.

    Ratings The premiere scored a 1.8 rating among adults 18-to-49 and 6.5 million viewers for its two-hour debut.

    Winners James Jean-Louis, Charity Witt

  • 'The World's Best'

    CBS

    Tyler Golden/Warner Bros.

    Premiere Feb. 3

    What's at stake The global competition features contestants exhibiting talents as varied as underwater escape, taekwondo and singing, all vying to impress the judges and the "Wall of the World" — 50 of the most accomplished experts from every field of entertainment.

    Origins CBS ordered the series in February 2018. It's produced by reality TV guru (and chairman of MGM Worldwide Television Group) Mark Burnett and Mike Darnell, president of unscripted & alternative television at Warner Bros.

    Host James Corden

    Star ties Judges included Drew Barrymore, RuPaul and Faith Hill.

    Ratings The premiere opened to a 1.0 rating among adults 18-to-49. The season finished with a 1.59 rating in the demographic despite scoring the coveted post-Super Bowl LIII slot.

    Winner Lydian Nadhaswaram, a 13-year-old pianist from Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, won the first season, and the $1 million prize, on the March 13 finale. He topped South Korea's Kukkiwon troupe, aka "The Flying Taekwondo Masters."

  • 'The Masked Singer'

    Fox

    Michael Becker/FOX

    Premiere Jan. 2

    What’s at stake Over 10 episodes, celebrities sing in head-to-toe costumes to conceal their identities from the judges and the audience. Hints are given about each contestant’s real identity, and at the end of each episode, one singer is eliminated and unmasked.

    Origins The show is an adaptation of South Korea’s The King of Mask Singer, which started in 2015.

    Host Nick Cannon

    Star ties Robin Thicke, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Nicole Scherzinger served as judges for the first season.

    Ratings With a 3.5 rating among adults 18-to-49, it was this season’s No. 1 new show. Fox has already set a second season that will premiere in fall 2019 and ordered a third season as well.

    Winner "Monster" T-Pain, who beat out Bee (Gladys Knight) and Peacock (Donny Osmond) for the trophy. "I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders from having to keep that secret for that long," T-Pain told THR soon after he was revealed as the winner. "Suck it, everybody who told me I couldn’t sing! I just won a singing competition!"

  • 'The Final Table'

    Netflix

    Adam Rose/Netflix

    Premiere Nov. 20

    What’s at stake Professional chefs from around the world are split into 12 teams of two, cooking dishes based on a country theme. One food critic and two celebrities from the episode’s country judge the dishes in round one. The bottom three compete in a second round, using an ingredient from the country’s culture chosen by a guest chef.

    Origins Netflix tasked Yasmin Shackleton and Robin Ashbrook with creating the streamer’s first original global cooking competition.

    Host Bon Appétit magazine restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton

    Star ties Dax Shepard, Colin Hanks, Hasan Minhaj and Alessandra Ambrosio were judges, and star food critics Rashmi Uday Singh and Sam Sifton and chefs Enrique Olvera and Clare Smyth also appeared.

    Winner In the final, American Timothy Hollingsworth was pitted against his previous partner, Darren MacLean of Canada, after they bested Australians Shane Osborn and Mark Best, and won the competition. And speaking of victories, Russell Norman scored a trophy from the Directors Guild of America in February for the "Japan" episode, the eighth of the series’ 10 installments.

    This story first appeared in a June stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.