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A professional tagger chases a contestant on Fox’s Ultimate Tag Photo: Fox via Polygon

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The wild reality shows destined to go viral this summer

From dating shows to Drag Race to an extreme version of tag

Summer is typically the time when networks drop their wildest, trashiest, most ridiculous reality programming, from hot-people-on-a-beach dating shows to gimmicky competitions. (Netflix even combined those two sub-genres with Too Hot to Handle.)

Now that Netflix is getting into the reality show game, the genre is more popular than ever. HBO Max will launch on May 27 with several new reality shows as well. And of course the big four major networks have their own tentpole summer reality programming.

Despite some delays and cancellations due to COVID-19, (we’ll miss you, Bachelor in Paradise) summer 2020 is bringing plenty of wild, trashy, and ridiculous reality shows and game shows. Below, we’ve rounded up the seven we’re most excited about — or at least the ones that sound the most bonkers.

Bakeaway Camp with Martha Stewart

The contestants of Bakeaway Camp standing with host Jesse Palmer Photo: Anders Krusberg/Food Network

Martha Stewart’s new Food Network baking competition is “part exclusive culinary retreat, part baking boot camp and part summer camp-inspired competition with a cash prize,” according to the show’s casting call. Six amateur bakers head to “Bakeaway Camp” to compete in outdoor camp-themed challenges, with the opportunity for private mentoring in Martha’s (inside) kitchen. At the very least, this should tide us over until new episodes of The Great British Baking Show head our way.

Premieres on Food Network on May 11.

Penn & Teller: Fool Us

A magician holds a hankerchief with Penn Jillette while Teller watches Photo: Jacob Kelper/The CW

Penn & Teller bring a fun gimmick to this stage-magic competition show, now entering its seventh season. Rather than competing against each other for a grand prize, magicians simply have to trick Penn & Teller. If the duo can’t figure out how the trick is done, the contestant gets a trophy and a trip to Las Vegas to open for Penn & Teller. It’s a lot of fun to watch Penn & Teller try to indicate to the contestants that they know how the trick was done without giving the secret away, but even more fun to watch how delighted the two master magicians are when they’ve genuinely been fooled.

Premieres on the CW on May 15.

Ultimate Tag

A professional tagger chases a contestant on Ultimate Tag Photo: Fox

Football brothers J.J., T.J. and Derek Watt host Fox’s upcoming competition show, in which contestants make their way through an obstacle course while avoiding being tagged by “professional taggers.” (What is a professional tagger? Unclear.) Like Wipeout meets American Gladiator meets, well, the game of tag, Ultimate Tag has everything that makes summer programming so fun: dumb stunts, flashy aesthetics, and celebrity hosts who look like they’re having a blast.

Premieres on Fox on May 20.

Holey Moley 2: The Sequel

A contestant on Holey Moley ziplines with a golf club Photo: ABC

There’s no better way to describe Holey Moley than the way host Rob Riggle introduced it during last year’s premiere: “Yes, this is literally a mini-golf competition. And yes, it’s on prime time with an absurd budget.”

Premieres on ABC on May 21.

Labor of Love

Kristin Davis and Kristy Katzmann stand outside Photo: Fox

If you have a Clare Crawley-shaped hole in your heart after ABC postponed the 39-year-old’s season of The Bachelorette, Fox’s Labor of Love might help fill it. Hosted by Sex and the City’s Charlotte herself, Kristin Davis, the dating show follows The Bachelorette format: 15 men are matched with one woman, with various dates and challenges designed to test their compatibility. The catch? This 41-year-old bachelorette is ready to have kids immediately and the challenges are designed around sussing out who will be a good dad.

Premieres on Fox on May 21.


The workroom from Craftopia Photo: HBO

Hosted by popular YouTuber Lauren Riihimaki (aka LaurDIY), this crafting competition show from HBO Max tasks 9-to-15-year-old DIY-ers with creative challenges. It looks like a child-friendly version of Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler’s delightful Making It. Each episode stars three creative kids, one of whom will win $5,000 and a “craft-trophy-a.” (There are a lot of craft-based puns.) As one contestant in the trailer puts it, $5,000 will buy “a lot of crafts.”

Premieres on HBO Max on May 27.

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars

Ru Paul introdues a challenge Photo: VH1

It seems like we can’t go a month without new Drag Race content, but who’s complaining? The fifth season of the hit drag competition’s spinoff show is headed to Showtime this summer, bringing back former contestants to compete for the All Stars crown. Mama Ru hasn’t yet announced which queens are returning for the fifth season, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating wildly!

Premieres on Showtime on June 5.