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The Best MTV Original Shows

Updated March 1, 2021 21.0k votes 2.3k voters 58.0k views50 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

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  • The Real World2
    455
    313

    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

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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
  • Jackass4
    473
    344

    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

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  • Beavis and Butt-head5
    461
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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

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  • Celebrity Deathmatch6
    427
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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

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  • True Life7
    379
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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
  • MTV Cribs8
    446
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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
  • Pimp My Ride9
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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

    More 

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  • Punk'd10
    409
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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

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  • Room Raiders11
    Room Raiders is a "dating/reality" series on MTV. The show features three men or women who has...  more
  • Jersey Shore12
    401
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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

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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

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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
  • 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
  • Singled Out16
    238
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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

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  • Next17
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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....  more

    More 

    Mortifying 'Next' Contestants That Prove Love Dies With Reality TV#24 of 64 The Worst Dating Shows

  • Awkward.18
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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

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    #36 of 220 The Greatest TV Shows for Women#374 of 449 The Funniest TV 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
  • 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

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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
  • The Osbournes22
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    316

    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

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  • Made23
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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
  • Parental Control24
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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

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  • Fear Factor25
    47
    24

    Fear Factor

    Ludacris, Mark Beech

    Premiered2017

    Genres (Tv)Reality, Gameshow

    Fear Factor (MTV, 2017) is an American reality gameshow series rebooted from the 2001 series...  more

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