Entertainment
9.7k voters

The Best Reality Competition Series

Updated April 29, 2021 63.7k votes 9.7k voters 416.7k views126 items

List RulesVote up your favorite reality shows with a competitive game angle. No quiz shows or traditional game shows.

These are best reality TV competition series, ranked by fans and critics. Reality shows are among the most-watched programs on TV, and they are easy to produce due to their low production costs, lack of staff, and quick turn-around. Early programs like Survivor and Big Brother gained international audiences who loved watching real people compete for money and fame. High-pressure situations, 24/7 filming, and clashing personalities ensured frequent drama and excitement as alliances and enemies were created and destroyed.

In recent years, more generic reality competition shows have given way to more specialized contests. Dance competition series range from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars to Dance Moms. Travel shows are favorites, as are fashion competitions, talent and singing shows - from American Idol to The Voice to The X Factor - which are consistently among the highest rated programs on TV - ever.

In that spirit, it's time to get competitive. Vote for your favorite reality competition shows to move them up the list. You can also customize and rank your own list by clicking Rerank. Then, check out which reality shows are airing new episodes in 2020.

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  • 1
    2,892
    1,137

    Survivor

    Jeff Probst

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  • 2
    2,084
    986

    The Amazing Race

    Phil Keoghan

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  • 3
    1,553
    687

    The Challenge

    T.J. Lavin, Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio

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    The Best 'The Challenge' Cast Members Ever, Ranked#11 of 50 The Best MTV Original Shows

  • 4
    1,985
    1,162

    Big Brother

    Julie Chen, Phil Proctor

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    The Best Big Brother Contestants of All Time#113 of 285 The Best TV Shows Returning In 2021

  • 5
    1,139
    795

    Hell's Kitchen

    Gordon Ramsay, Jean Philippe Susilovic

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    The Best Seasons of 'Hell's Kitchen'#12 of 38 The Best Current Fox Shows

  • 6
    1,050
    747

    Face Off

    McKenzie Westmore

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    The Best Face Off Winners, Ranked#48 of 84 The Best Syfy Original Shows

  • 7
    642
    266

    American Ninja Warrior

    Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown

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  • 8
    1,155
    946

    Project Runway

    Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum

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    The Most Memorable Project Runway Looks#101 of 227 The Greatest TV Shows for Women

  • 9
    617
    394

    Ink Master

    Dave Navarro, Chris Nunez

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    The Best Ink Master Winners, Ranked#4 of 43 The Best Creative Skill Reality Series Ever

  • 10
    626
    521

    Chopped

    Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli

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  • 11
    1,607
    707

    RuPaul's Drag Race

    RuPaul, Michelle Visage

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  • 12
    1,128
    1,130

    The Voice

    Adam Levine, Blake Shelton

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  • 13
    1,043
    767

    America's Next Top Model

    Adrianne Curry, Yoanna House

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  • 14
    820
    699

    Top Chef

    Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons

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    #74 of 123 The Best Shows Currently On The Air#87 of 166 The Best TV Shows Returning In 2020

  • 15
    191
    70

    The Great British Bake Off

    Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc

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  • 16
    180
    75

    The Circle

    Michelle Buteau

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    #765 of 770 The Best Original Streaming Shows of the Last Few Years#341 of 484 The Best New Netflix Original Series of the Last Few Years

  • 17
    249
    186

    Whodunnit?

    Gildart Jackson
  • 18
    327
    321

    Cupcake Wars

    Candace Nelson, Florian Bellanger

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    #68 of 77 The Best Cooking TV Shows of All Time#53 of 88 The Best Food Network TV Shows

  • 19
    928
    1,055

    Fear Factor

    Joe Rogan

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    #238 of 320 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years#16 of 74 The Best Shows You Watched After School in the 2000s

  • 20
    176
    169

    Iron Chef

    Masaharu Morimoto, Hiroyuki Sakai
  • 21
    108
    68

    Nailed It!

    Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres

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  • 22
    150
    149

    Solitary

    Steven Gee, Nikki Knight
  • 23
    282
    298
  • 24
    343
    384

    Cake Boss

    Buddy Valastro
  • 25
    125
    112

    MasterChef Australia

    Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris