USA TV Shows That UK Viewers Can’t Get Enough Of

These days, there are countless TV shows available to watch. Whether you stick to the traditional TV channels or use an online streaming service, the amount of choice of shows to watch is seemingly never-ending and constantly growing. UK viewers have a wealth of top-quality British shows made at home to enjoy, not to mention a plethora of shows from other countries, in particular, the USA.

Many UK shows are adapted for the American market and vice versa, while many shows are exported in their original form. Many Americans enjoying watching classic British shows, while lots of Brits are fond of American-made series. This also gave birth to a new betting niche – novelty betting. Now it is possible to bet on who will be killed off in the coming episodes of the big TV series, who will be eliminated in next week’s Strictly Come Dancing or Masterchef, who will be the star baker in The Great British Bake Off and many more.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest, most popular shows in the UK that originated in the USA, as well as some British shows that have made their way across the pond to much success.

The Great British Bake Off

From 2010 to 2016, The Great British Bake Off was one of the BBC’s top shows, with each series earning more viewers than the last. The first four series were broadcast on BBC Two, with the show’s success earning it a place on BBC One’s line-up for the next three series.

Owing to broadcasting rights issues, the show then moved to Channel 4, where it’s had a further three series, with its eleventh series in total scheduled to air in 2020. The American version of the show, The Great American Baking Show, has aired four series to date, with a fifth set to start in December 2019.


One of the most successful cooking competition shows in the UK is MasterChef. It originally ran from 1990 to 2001, before being revived in 2005; the show currently airs on BBC One and has a civilian version as well as a celebrity version. In the USA, the American version of MasterChef started airing in 2010 and has so far had nine seasons, with its tenth currently underway. The show’s aired on Fox and has featured British chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay as one of its judges in all ten seasons.

Strictly Come Dancing

One of the biggest TV shows in the UK is Strictly Come Dancing, the BBC dance competition that sees celebrities perform all manner of routines with professional dancers. The show aired its first series in 2004 and is currently in its 19th series. Every series since the eighth in 2010 has pulled in at least 10 million viewers on average. Dancing with the Stars is the American equivalent. It’s currently airing its 29th series and since launching in 2005 has run twice a year nearly every year.


The term BAFTA stands for British Academy of Film and Television Arts. It also refers to the awards shows that honour the best in British and international film and television. The BAFTA TV Awards has aired annually since 1955, while the BAFTA Film Awards has been aired annually since 1947. The American equivalent of the BAFTA Film Awards is, of course, the Oscars. Widely regarded as the world’s leading awards ceremony for film, the Oscars, which started in 1974, is a huge ratings earner.

While many past iterations of the show have pulled in more than 40 million viewers, in recent years viewing figures have declined – still the most recent ceremony was watched by 29.6 million, which is still an impressive figure nonetheless. The American equivalent of the BAFTA TV Awards is the Emmys. There are several Emmys ceremonies held throughout the year, each one honouring a wide range of people in the TV industry.

The Apprentice

While Donald Trump is best known as the 45th President of the United States, he’s also known to many as the star of The Apprentice. This reality show competition sees a group of hopefuls complete a series of business-related tasks, with the overall winner earning a lucrative one-year job contract worth $250,000. Trump was host for the show for 14 seasons from 2004 to 2015, with one more series with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host before the show was ultimately cancelled.

Shortly after the first American series started airing, the UK launched its very own version featuring Sir Alan Sugar in Donald Trump’s role. Set mostly in London, the UK version of the show has aired annually, with its fifteenth series starting soon. The show is such a big success in the UK that it has a companion show, The Apprentice: You’re Fired!, and has had various specials and one-offs. It’s also had a spin-off series, Young Apprentice, which aired for three series.

University Challenge

Few people realise that University Challenge, a staple of BBC Two’s schedule, is actually based on an American show. College Bowl, the original American iteration, first aired in 1959 on CBS. It wasn’t until 1962 that University Challenge first aired. It ran for 913 episodes on ITV until 1987, before being brought back by the BBC in 1994, where it’s aired regularly on BBC Two ever since.

The quiz show, which sees students from various UK universities compete has enjoyed a lot of success over the years and is currently in its 49th series. It’s become well known for its quirky contestants, as well as the obscurity and difficulty of the questions the contestants are asked.

Geordie Shore

Set in Newcastle, Geordie Shore is one of many reality TV shows to fill the schedules. It’s been a big success for parent channel MTV, having aired a total of 19 series plus two spin-off series so far. It follows a group of people from Newcastle and nearby as they live together, carry out jobs and party hard. Jersey Shore is the original American reality TV show that Geordie Shore’s based on. It ran for six seasons from 2009 to 2012 and was a big hit, with spin-off shows featuring some of the show’s most prominent cast members commissioned.

Though the ratings for Geordie Shore are dwindling – the most recent series is the lowest rated to date – it has pulled in some impressive ratings for MTV. In fact, six series managed to bring in over a million viewers on average each.

Love Island

Love Island is one of ITV2’s biggest successes to date. The reality series originated as a celebrity reality show in 2005 and ran for two series before being axed due to low ratings. However, it was revived in 2015 as a reality show for civilians and has gone on to become a huge ratings winner for the channel.

Each series has had more viewers than the preceding one; the most recent one, the fifth, earned an average of 5.61 million viewers per episode. The dating show features a group of singletons looking for love while living in a glamorous villa. The success of the original British version has resulted in several international versions being launched, including an American version that debuted in 2019. Though it only earned an average of 2.19 million viewers, a second season has been announced for 2020.