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The first "Survivor" finale drew a mind-boggling 51 million viewers.
Or you can just have a three-way makeout session in a hot tub in The Palms casino hotel in Las Vegas.
(SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)‘American Idol’ takes center stage In the summer of 2002, Fox debuted "American Idol." Just like "Survivor," audiences gobbled up the concept of random nobodies staking their claim to a grand prize.
More than 22 million people watched Kelly Clarkson sing her way to the first-season crown. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images)Suddenly, anyone on the street could become an instant millionaire by winning a reality show.
Twist it just enough ("Survivor" travel = "The Amazing Race" or "American Idol" spinning chairs = "The Voice") and you have another hit.
Some shows recycled their own cast members with "All-Star" seasons.
By 2005, broadband Internet surpassed dial-up service.