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 "Seven strangers, picked to live in a mansion..." -- The Real World: New Orleans


A Reality Show staple, typified by an extravagant mansion complete with a fully stocked bar, and a Confession Cam. The reality TV show mansion usually has no television and no single rooms, encouraging maximum interaction among contestants and limited contact with the outside world.

Typically, these high-end homes are rented from private citizens for the duration of the show. Hence, the reason that some Reality TV Show Mansions appear very similar... they may in fact be the same house. When they're not the same, many a viewer has wondered what happens to the house and everything in it after the season is over.

Nonetheless, the luxury of the reality show mansion may arguably be viewed as one of the attractions for signing up to be a reality TV show star.

Examples of Reality TV Show Mansion include:

Live-Action TV

  • Almost every 'elimination-style' competitive reality show takes place in a mansion:
    • America's Next Top Model: Usually a lavish, loft-style apartment complete with runway for practice, with every inch of wall covered in pictures of host Tyra Banks.
    • American Idol: The first two seasons showcased the lavish house in which the singers lived, but this was dropped starting with the third season.
    • The Apprentice: The Apprentices usually live in lavish penthouses in Manhattan, with the exception of Season 6, where the losing team was forced to live in "Tent City".
      • The UK incarnation saw the teams living in a succession of high-class London houses, although in Season 5 it was downgraded to a far more modest, but still pretty nice apartment.
    • Making The Band
    • Last Comic Standing
    • The Joe Schmo Show
    • And of course, Big Brother.
      • Some editions of Big Brother had a system with two connected houses: a luxury house and a poor house. The contestants were initially all put in one of them (the other one being hidden), but later divided into two (sometimes competing) groups with fluctuating memberships, one for each of the houses.
    • Estate of Panic is a subversion; the show does take place in a mansion, and it is properly extravagant in its design, but the contestants don't live there - the mansion is the challenge of the show, a freaky fun house built as the playground for the elimination-based competition.
  • All of the competitive dating shows, including:
  • The Real World: Though the first season of the show featured fairly modest accommodations, starting with the third season the cast members have lived in extravagantly decorated mansions.
    • The luxury suite in the Palms hotel from the Las Vegas season is available to rent.
  • The Surreal Life
  • WWE Tough Enough's first season hosted the contestants in a hundred-year-old rural Connecticut mansion, a fairly short distance away from the WWE headquarters and other facilities. The mansion itself was owned by a WWE producer and was rented by the company for use in the show. During the first episode after the selection process, host Al Snow laid down the law, warning the contestants that they were guests in this man's home and that if there were any damage to the building because of them, there would be hell to pay.
  • The Ultimate Fighter: The fighters from both teams live in one large house. Occasionally, a fighter cites interpersonal issues as part of his motivation for beating someone in the octagon.

Fictional examples:

Fan Works

  • Prior to Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode giving the series an actual story for the first time, many Smash Fan Fiction took place in "the Smash Mansion", where all the Smash Bros. characters live together while they're not fighting.
  • Fandemonium. Nearly the entire plot takes place in Fandemonium Mansion. Occasionally, they go outside. That's about it.


  • House Arrest, in the Ben Elton novel Dead Famous
  • It's a Madhouse, in the Kim Newman short story "Going to Series"
  • Subverted horribly in Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted 2005. All the writers are put up in a well-stocked private complex (a former theater), but each of them has the idea to sabotage their own stuff with the intent that their subsequent tell-all book deals would be more compelling. In short order, the place has become an unlivable nightmare.

Live-Action TV

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Drawn Together: The mansion is one of the consistent features of this otherwise continuity-void cartoon.
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