Reality TV shows that have produced top celebrities in Nigeria

These reality shows introduced us to talented acts from movies to music, such as Kunle Remi, Bisola Aiyeola, OC UKeje, Timi Dakolo, Praiz, and so on, still entertaining us today.

Image icon of some top Nigerian reality TV shows that produced celebrities

Most people, if not everyone, would grab the chance to become a mega superstar. Oftentimes, celebrities are made by appearing or being given visibility on platforms where they showcase their skills, talent, and creativity.

Several reality TV shows, such as Big Brother Naija, Project Fame West Africa, and Idols West Africa, have not only captivated audiences but have also churned out and gifted us incredible talents, including Timi Dakolo, Kunle Remi, Praiz, Bisola Aiyeola, and OC Ukeje, who have continued to grace our screens for years to come.

Check out reality TV shows that have produced stars in Nigeria.

1. Big Brother Naija

The most popular reality TV show of them all, Big Brother Naija, since it premiered in 2006 has had a successful run of 8 seasons, which is its latest. The MultiChoice reality TV-owned show involves over 15 participants confined in a house for a period of 90 days or more to claim mouthwatering prizes. 

With each season having a new theme, a new star will be born, whether or not they are the winners. The only thing the housemates have to do is be likable enough to catch the fan’s attention. 

Participating in the BBNajia reality TV show is one of the surest, fastest ways to attain fame in Nigeria and it is the only reality show with the highest number of notable celebrities produced to this day. 

A list of some of the most notable celebrities Big Brother Naija has produced include: Ebuka Obi Uchendu, Bisola Aiyeola, Mercy Eke, Whitemoney, Natacha Akide, Tobi Bakre, Nengi, Erica, Cee-C, Laycon, Ozo, Kiddwaya, Elozonam, Neo, Vee Iye, Beauty Tukura, Phyna, and the list goes on.

2. Gulder Ultimate Search

Having most Nigerians in a chokehold, Gulder Ultimate Search was one of a kind. Produced by Olakunle Oyeneye, this reality show, unlike any other, was meant for the survival of the fittest. 

It involves 10 contestants being taken to a remote location for a couple of weeks to fight for their lives with the resources they can find. They participate in both physical and mental daily tasks that eventually build up and lead them to hunt for the Gulder Ultimate treasure. 

Two notable celebrities that emerged from the Gulder Ultimate Search, include Chris Okagbue (winner of the 8th edition) and Kunle Remi (winner of the 7th edition), who went on to become famous movie stars. To this day, they are both doing exceptionally well in Nollywood. 

Gulder Ultimate Search, which has a total of 12 seasons, first premiered in 2004 and last aired in 2021.

3. Project Fame West Africa

Many of you didn’t know this, but Bisola Aiyeola’s first appearance on a reality TV show wasn’t on the famous Big Brother Naija, but on the music talent hunt show, Project Fame West Africa. 

The same applies to R&B singer "Chike,” who later competed in another reality show similar to this one called “The Voice Nigeria.” 

One of the most popular musical platforms produced by Ultima Limited, Project Fame West Africa, otherwise known as MTN Project Fame West Africa, captured the hearts of many Nigerians when it was first released in 2008. 

The reality television series involves more than ten contestants from different countries in the West African Region of the continent, going toe to toe to be crowned the overall winner of the competition. 

Some notable musicians who are products of Project Fame West Africa include Iyanya, Praiz, Niniola, Chidinma Ekile, Johnny Drille, and Ayoola Ayolola. After a successful run of 9 seasons, Project Fame West Africa aired its last series in 2016.

4. Idols West Africa & Nigerian Idol

Just like Project Fame West Africa, Idols West Africa also incorporated participants from the West African region of the continent who battled for the ultimate prize. It was an Idols series franchise and Nigeria’s first and only season, which happened in 2007. 

Timi Dakolo, the winner, and Omawunmi, the first runner-up, emerged from the reality TV show and went on to become music powerhouses in Nigeria today.

Three years later, the second Idol franchise, tagged “Nigerian Idol,” was introduced. Currently, in its ninth season, Nigerian Idol has allowed many to shine and showcase their musical prowess. One notable celebrity from this reality TV show is the famous gospel singer Mercy Chinwo, who emerged as the winner of season 2.

5. The Voice Nigeria

This is another top singing competition that involves rigorous training, such as dance rehearsals and vocal coaching, whipping contestants into tip-top shape as they compete to become the next big thing in the music industry.

The Voice Nigeria, which concluded its fourth season in May 2023, aired its first season on April 10, 2016. The music competition has also produced several stars, like Chike, Nonzo Bassey, and DNA Twins.

6. Peak Talent Hunt

Launched in 2009 to discover some of Nigeria's best talents, Peak Talent Show lasted for three seasons, the last of which aired in 2011. 

Created by the popular dairy company, Peak, the show showcased exceptional acts and included people of all ages. It gave Kida Kudz and Yemi Alade the opportunity to be discovered.

7. Star Quest

The Star Quest is an initiative by the brewing company Nigerian Breweries, makers of the popular beer brand "Star." This reality TV show was among the pioneering shows in the country and was responsible for discovering amazing acts. 

It premiered in 2002 and ran for 12 years, with its last season airing in 2014. Star Quest discovered the likes of Asa, Kcee, and his then-partner Presh, Mr. Raw, and Klint D’Drunk.

8. Amstel Malta Box Office

Built around Nigerian cinema, Amstel Malta Box Office, launched in 2005, was a reality show sponsored by the biggest brewing company in Nigeria, “Nigerian Breweries.” 

The show involved contestants competing for a grand prize and a chance to star in a Nollywood blockbuster by showcasing their acting skills. It had a total of five seasons, with its last episode aired in 2009. It produced the likes of OC Ukeje and Ivie Okujaye, who have become among the finest Nollywood actors we have today.

9. Next Movie Star

Similar to the aforementioned reality TV show Amstel Malta Box Office, Next Movie Star was also responsible for discovering actors that would eventually go on and make it big in the Nigerian movie industry. 

Created by Sola Fajobi in 2004, the Next Movie Star reality show ran for 12 years successfully and produced many celebrities we have today, like:

  • Uti Nwachukwu and Karen Igho, who later went on to participate in Big Brother Africa
  • Tonto Dikeh
  • Grace-Charis Bassey Effah (formerly known as Belinda Effah)
  • Moyo Lawal, and
  • Annie Macaulay Idibia.

Wrap Up

There is no doubt that these reality TV shows not only changed the lives of the stars they produced but have also contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry by aiding in the discovery of amazing talents who are doing mind-blowing things in Nigeria and beyond.