These 10 TV Shows Were Heating Up the Summer Way Back in 2000
These days, summer TV means something very different than summer TV in 2000 meant. Today, it usually signals an oncoming storm of slightly goofy reality shows, the occasional cable drama, and plenty of new streaming options. But 20 years ago, summer TV had a very different philosophy behind it. Before networks realized that summer was a perfectly good time to air original programming, the season was pretty much packed with reruns of top-rated network shows, plus a handful of low-rated replacements and some of the earliest reality programs. On the plus side, though, that year also saw the debut of some big-name shows that are, surprisingly, still summer staples today! Keep reading for a serious throwback to what everyone was watching 20 years ago.
The long-running reality series made its debut in the summer of 2000, with a format that's pretty different from what it's evolved into over the past two decades. The basic premise — putting a bunch of strangers together in a house under 24/7 surveillance — is the same, but the first season was largely low-stakes, low-drama, and low-tech.
It was the beginning of the reality TV boom, and Survivor was arguably the first major hit. Originally titled Survivor: Borneo, the "survivalist" reality competition became one of the biggest breakout hits of the year and remains a summer staple to this day.
Sex and the City
The HBO dramedy aired its third season during the summer of 2000. During this season, viewers got their first look at the iconic love triangle between Carrie, Aidan, and Big. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Miranda both find themselves dealing with unexpected breakups, and Samantha continues her casual dating.
HBO's famous prison drama began its fourth season in the summer of 2000, which would turn out to be its longest season ever. For the first time, the series split its season into two half-seasons of eight episodes each (rather than eight episodes for a full season), and the first half of season four made serious waves during this summer before taking a hiatus until the following January.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
Back in 2000, Millionaire was at the height of its popularity and was the top-rated TV show during the 1999-2000 regular TV season. During this period, the show was so popular that ABC made the risky decision to start airing episodes five nights a week. Although the strategy worked in the short term, it quickly resulted in overexposure, and the ratings plummeted.
Spun off from the popular reality show The Real World, MTV's Road Rules entered its ninth cycle for summer 2000. Subtitled "Maximum Velocity Tour," the season ran from June to October and featured challenges that took contestants as far away as South Africa.
The Summer of 2000 marked the beginning of the "golden age" of Disney Channel original shows, with the debut of Even Stevens. The quirky family comedy launched a slew of similar shows that became appointment viewing for a whole generation of tweens and their families.
Heading into summer 2000, there was definitely an air of interest around Young Americans, a spin-off of the super-popular Dawson's Creek that had been introduced as a backdoor pilot in season three. Unfortunately, the summery drama debuted to low ratings and wound up getting cancelled after just one season.
Way back in 2000, Summer TV was pretty much a desert for original programming. If you turned on the TV, you were more likely to come across a repeat of the biggest shows from the regular season. Coming out of the 1999-2000 TV season, the medical drama ER was definitely one of the biggest hits you could expect to see reruns of all summer long.
The iconic sitcom's sixth season — which featured plenty of romantic ups and downs for the core six — was actually a fairly strong performer in the summer TV ratings, as fans caught up on what they'd missed and rewatched their favorite episodes from the season.