Breakthrough with Tony Robbins

TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Breakthrough with Tony Robbins TV Poster Image
Uplifting reality show about people helping themselves.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show sends a strong message that people can overcome even the most horrible tragedies, though they sometimes need a helping hand. Robbins offers that hand -- but, more importantly, he helps people learn that they can actually learn to help themselves.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Robbins is nothing if not a positive role model, helping the people on his show learn that they can bounce back from even the worst disasters. And the guests offer truly uplifting examples as they learn how to recover from tragedy and discover their own inner strength.


Some of the families' stories involve violent acts -- drive-by shootings, for example.


Some words are bleeped.


The series promotes the well-known brand of self-help guru Robbins. Some logos are blurred.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking, such as wine with dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality show follows famed self-help guru Tony Robbins as he tries to teach people how to overcome catastrophe. He truly teaches them how to help themselves, which makes for an uplifting, inspiring show that's well-suited for family viewing with older tweens and up. There's some bleeped language, and the stories can be quite intense -- touching on topics from disability to drive-by shootings -- but overall it's a moving, positive show.

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What's the story?

Self-help expert Tony Robbins has built his career teaching regular people how to help themselves. In BREAKTHROUGH WITH TONY ROBBINS, he raises the stakes by helping people who've experienced terrible personal tragedies (from deaths to debilitating illness) learn to tap their inner strength. Each episode focuses on a single family in crisis, with Robbins devising a set of personal challenges that make the people discover that they're capable of much more than they realize -- and that they can endure, and overcome, even the worst catastrophe.

Is it any good?

Robbins is well-known for his endless enthusiasm and optimism, but even his glass-is-half-full perspective is challenged by some of these cases: a groom who becomes a quadriplegic on his wedding day, for example, or a family thrown into disarray after a drive-by shooting. But despite these calamities, Robbins is able to help the families see the bright side of life. He can’t fix their lives -- at least not on his own -- but he can make them see that they have the power to do so themselves.

The show is uplifting, and even the most jaded of viewers can’t help but be inspired by these examples. If the people on Breakthrough can overcome their problems, anyone can. In fact, this show is perhaps even more elevating than other feel-good shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. That show feels more like winning the lottery, a bolt of assistance from the blue. Robbins offers less material aid, but teaching people to help themselves may be the best gift of all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about overcoming adversity. The people on this show have endured terrible calamities -- how do you think you would react in the same situations? Do you think you could learn to see the positive side?

  • Robbins has built an entire business based on the idea that people can learn to overcome adversity -- do you think his ideas really work?

TV details

  • Premiere date: July 27, 2010
  • Cast: Tony Robbins
  • Network: NBC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

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