Remember when reality tv craze finally hit Nigeria and brands spent a lot of time (and money) trying to cash in on it by sponsoring reality shows left and right, many of which were obviously doomed to fail?
However, there were a few shows that actually worked and lasted a couple of seasons before disappearing off our tv screens with no explanation whatsoever.
Gulder Ultimate Search:
Gulder Ultimate Search was a Survivor-style show where ten contestants were taken to a remote location and left to survive with whatever resources they were given. They would partake in daily tasks (both physical and mental) in attempts to find the ultimate treasure a.k.a whatever the season’s fictional back story decided a contestant would have to find to be declared the winner. The show ran for 11 seasons.
It was pretty entertaining, even though parts of it were obviously scripted. It also had great production value. There was this one season where an old shaman was part of the season’s fictional back story. So, on some nights, there would be an actor dressed as the shaman watching the sleeping contestants from a distance. Arguably, the best part of the show was the host, Nollywood baby boy, Chidi Mokeme, who was so good at his job that when they switched him out for Bob Manuel Udokwu a few seasons in, viewership dropped.
The last season aired in 2014.
Celebrity Takes 2:
Celebrity Takes 2 was basically a Nigerian version of Dancing With The Stars. Nigerian celebrities were paired with professional dancers from the Spirit of David dance troupe. In its two seasons, it had an impressive cast of celebrities like Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Sound Sultan, Kunle Afolayan, Omowunmi Akinnifesi etc. I will never forget screaming like a maniac as Omowunmi emerged from a box like a contortionist at the beginning of one of her routines. The show ran for only two seasons.
The last season aired in 2009.
Project Fame West Africa:
Project Fame was a music talent TV reality show that featured 15 contestants picked from Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, competing in a singing competition that lasted eight weeks. By the last episode, the top six would remain, from which the top three would be chosen (based on viewers votes). The winner of each season was given a ton of money, an SUV, and a recording contract worth millions of naira. The show ran for nine seasons.
Like most singing competitions, most Project Fame winners didn’t get to become superstars as the show promised. This was no fault of the show’s producers but was due to the volatile nature of the music industry. However, the show did give us some big artistes like Chidinma (Season 3 winner), Iyanya (Season 1 winner), Niniola (Season 6 runner up) etc.
The last season aired in 2016 and we haven’t heard anything about it since.
Maltina Dance All:
Maltina Dance All was a reality show where 15 dancing families (a term I honestly thought was reserved for circus performers) competed against each other in different dance styles for a cash prize of N5 million. The show ran for nine seasons.
It was a fun, wholesome show that gave a lot of feel-good moments. (Family bonding and all that.) Kemi Adetiba did a great job hosting the show for the first few seasons before Osas Ighodaro took over.
The last season aired in 2016.
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire:
WWTBAM was a television show where contestants took on a series of multiple-choice questions for a chance to win large cash prizes. Only one contestant played at a time (getting the chance to be on “the hot seat” by playing a “fastest finger game” with two other hopefuls), and had no time limit to answer questions. The more questions the contestant got right, the higher the cash they stood to win. The maximum cash prize was N10 million.
After running for 13 years, the show’s main sponsor, MTN, pulled out in 2017, leading to the production of the show being halted. Let’s just hope that if the show ever comes back, they get the original host, Frank Edoho, back. Because