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The Best MTV Original Shows

Updated January 14, 2021 23.9k votes 2.3k voters 57.5k views57 items

List RulesPast and present original MTV series

The best MTV original shows include reality shows, music series, comedies, and dramas, as well as animated series. MTV started out as "Music Television" in 1981, but over the years, the programming has greatly expanded. These days, it's tough to find an actual music show on the network. That being said, viewers have no doubt enjoyed a lot of MTV's original shows. Which one is the best? That's for you to decide, with your votes. Also, if you have a personal favorite original MTV series (past or present) that isn't listed here, feel free to add it.

Some of the most popular MTV original programs are, not surprisingly, reality shows. Among them: The wildly popular Jersey Shore, which will conclude after six seasons. This show made household names out of it's stars, especially Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Michael "The Situation" Sorrentino and Jennifer "JWoww" Farley. A spinoff, 'Snooki & JWoww,' began airing in June of 2012 as well.

Other well-known current MTV original shows include Teen Mom, 16 and PregnantMade and True Life. MTV also has a hit on its hands with the original drama series Teen Wolf, starring Tyler Posey as Scott McCall, a full-time high school student/werewolf.

Animated original MTV programming are also extremely popular. Examples, you say? How about the animated TV series Beavis and Butt-head (which returned with new episodes in 2011) or the spinoff Daria, which aired for five seasons?

Several of MTV's best original shows could, arguably, be listed among the best TV shows of recent memory -- depending on how you define that, of course. TV fans, if you love reality television shows, check out these lists of the best reality competition shows and reality dramas, and paranormal reality shows ever.
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  • Daria1
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    Daria

    Tracy Grandstaff, Wendy Hoopes

    Premiered1997

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Sitcom, Comedy, Animated series

    Daria is an American animated television series created by Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis Lynn... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Real World2
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    The Real World

    Jamie Chung, Steven Hill

    Premiered1992

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    The Real World (MTV, 1992) is an American reality television program inspired by the 1973 PBS... more on Wikipedia

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  • MTV Unplugged3
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    MTV Unplugged

    Jules Shear

    Premiered1989

    Genres (Tv)Music

    MTV Unplugged is a TV series showcasing many popular musical artists usually playing acoustic... more on Wikipedia
  • Jackass4
    502
    363

    Jackass

    Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera

    Premiered2000

    Genres (Tv)Action/Adventure, Adventure film, Comedy, Action, Reality television

    Jackass is an American reality series, originally shown on MTV from 2000 to 2002, featuring... more on Wikipedia

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  • Celebrity Deathmatch5
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    Celebrity Deathmatch

    Maurice Schlafer, Len Maxwell

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Animation, Satire, Sports film, Clay animation

    Celebrity Deathmatch was a claymation television show that depicted celebrities against each... more on Wikipedia

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  • Beavis and Butt-head6
    483
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    Beavis and Butt-head

    Mike Judge, Dale Revo

    Premiered1992

    Genres (Tv)Music video, Animation, Satire, Animated cartoon, Comedy

    Beavis and Butt-head is an American animated sitcom created and designed by Mike Judge. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • True Life7
    399
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    True Life

    Serena Altschul

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Documentary, Reality television

    True Life (MTV, 1998) is an American documentary television series. Each episode follows a... more on Wikipedia
  • MTV Cribs8
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    MTV Cribs

    Su-chin Pak

    Premiered2000

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    MTV Cribs and CMT Cribs, depending on which channel it airs, is a franchise reality television... more on Wikipedia
  • Pimp My Ride9
    415
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    Pimp My Ride

    Xzibit, Buck

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Automotive, Reality television

    Pimp My Ride is a TV show produced by MTV and hosted by rapper Xzibit. Each episode consists... more on Wikipedia

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  • Punk'd10
    433
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    Punk'd

    Ashton Kutcher, Brian Fitzpatrick

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    Punk'd is an American hidden camera-practical joke reality television series that first aired... more on Wikipedia
  • Room Raiders11
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    Room Raiders

    Tim-Ryan O'Kane, Tom Oberdick

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Dating, Reality television

    Room Raiders is a "dating/reality" series on MTV.
  • Jersey Shore12
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    Jersey Shore

    Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Vinny Guadagnino

    Premiered2009

    Genres (Tv)Reality

    Jersey Shore (MTV, 2009) is an American reality television series created by SallyAnn Salsano.... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Challenge13
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    The Challenge

    T.J. Lavin, Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Game show, Reality television

    The Challenge is a reality game show on MTV that is spun off from the network's two reality... more on Wikipedia

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  • Catfish: The TV Show14
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    Catfish: The TV Show

    Yaniv Schulman, Max Joseph

    Premiered2012

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    Catfish: The TV Show is an American reality-based docu-series television series airing on MTV... more on Wikipedia
  • TRL15
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    TRL

    Hilarie Burton, Susie Castillo

    Premiered1998

    Genres (Tv)Music video, Talk show

    Total Request Live is a television series on MTV that featured popular music videos. TRL was... more on Wikipedia
  • Awkward.16
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    Awkward.

    Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Teen drama, Comedy-drama

    Awkward (MTV, 2011) is an American teen comedy series created by Lauren Iungerich. After being... more on Wikipedia

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  • Singled Out17
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    Singled Out

    Carmen Electra

    Premiered1995

    Genres (Tv)Game show, Dating

    Singled Out is a game show that ran on MTV from 1995 to 1998. Each episode featured a group of... more on Wikipedia

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    #64 of 95 The Best Dating Reality Shows#71 of 95 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time

  • Next18
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    Next

    Lorin Eric Salm, Michael McKinley

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Dating, Reality television

    Next is a dating game show produced by Kallissa Productions which ran on MTV from 2005–2008.

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    Mortifying 'Next' Contestants That Prove Love Dies With Reality TV#51 of 190 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time

  • Viva La Bam19
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    Viva La Bam

    Bam Margera, Vincent Margera

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

    Viva La Bam is an American reality television series that stars Bam Margera and his friends... more on Wikipedia
  • Ridiculousness20
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    Ridiculousness

    Sterling Brim, Chanel West Coast

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

    Ridiculousness is an American comedy clip show that began airing on August 29, 2011. On... more on Wikipedia

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  • Rob & Big21
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    Rob & Big

    Julie Bennett, Greg Burson

    Premiered2006

    Genres (Tv)Comedy, Reality television

    Rob & Big is an American reality television series that follows the lives of professional... more on Wikipedia
  • Made22
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    Made

    Indashio, Alicia Marie

    Premiered2002

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    MTV's MADE is a self-improvement reality television series broadcast on MTV. The series... more on Wikipedia
  • Parental Control23
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    Parental Control

    Shawn Turner, Anant A.J. Jiemjitpolchai

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Dating, Reality television

    Parental Control is a heavily scripted "pseudo-reality" program produced by MTV. The two... more on Wikipedia

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  • The Osbournes24
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    The Osbournes

    Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon Osbourne

    Premiered2002

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    The Osbournes (MTV, 2002) is an American reality television program. It features the domestic... more on Wikipedia

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  • Headbangers Ball25
    193
    209

    Premiered1987

    Genres (Tv)Music television

    Headbangers Ball was a music television program consisting of heavy metal music videos airing... more on Wikipedia