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The Best Reality TV Shows Ever 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated January 30, 2020 168.3k votes 7.9k voters 280.2k views 254 items

This is a list of the best reality TV shows on television, the most (often shamefully) addictive reality TV series. From guilty pleasures to shows that really do teach us how to live our lives a little bit better, this list contains only TV shows you would openly recommend to good friends of yours--the best of the best reality shows. Reality fans will also be interested in these juicy reality TV scandals and secrets from the sets of reality TV shows. You can vote, or even make your own list to impact this CrowdRanking of the top reality TV shows of all time!

What are the top reality TV shows? From Top Chef to The Biggest Loser, this list contains only the best and actually-watchable in reality television. Time to vote: what are the best reality shows ever?

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Jeff Probst, Rob Mariano, Rupert Boneham

Premiered: 2000

Survivor is a reality game show produced in many countries throughout the world. In the show, contestants are isolated in the wilderness and compete for cash and other prizes. The show uses a ...more

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#208 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch The Best Survivor Contestants That Ever Playedlisted on Longest Running Reality TV Shows in the US

2
The Amazing Race is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 21

Number of Episodes: 241

Genres (Tv): Reality television

The Amazing Race is a reality television game show in which teams of two people, who have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams. ...more

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#325 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #4 of 135 The Best Reality Competition Serieslisted on Longest Running Reality TV Shows in the US

3
Hell's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Gordon Ramsay, Jean Philippe Susilovic, Scott Leibfried

Premiered: 2005

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 141

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Reality Competition, Cooking show, Reality television

Hell's Kitchen (Fox, 2005) is an American reality competition television series based on the British series. World renowned chef Gordon Ramsay puts aspiring young chefs through rigorous cooking ...more

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#416 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #253 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years The Best Seasons of 'Hell's Kitchen'

4
Project Runway is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 54

Network: Bravo, Lifetime Television

Genres (Tv): Reality Competition, Reality television

Project Runway is an American reality television series on Lifetime, previously on the Bravo Network, created by Eli Holzman which focuses on fashion design and is hosted by model Heidi Klum. ...more

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#350 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch The Best Project Runway Designers Ever The Best Project Runway Winners, Ranked

5
MythBusters is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
VesperLynd94 added Jon Lung, Brian Louden

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 13

Number of Episodes: 142

Network: Discovery Channel

Genres (Tv): Non-fiction, Special Interest, Educational television, Science, Documentary, + more

MythBusters is a science entertainment television program created by Peter Rees and produced by Australia's Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is transmitted by ...more

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#129 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #124 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time 20 Mythbusters Myths You Were Saddest to See Busted

6
Big Brother is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Julie Chen, Phil Proctor, Clayton Halsey

Premiered: 2000

Number of Seasons: 14

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Reality television

Big Brother is a television reality game show based on an originally Dutch TV series of the same name created by producer John de Mol in 1997. The series follows a group of contestants, known as ...more

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#360 of 571 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are #116 of 139 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time The Best Big Brother Contestants of All Time

7
MasterChef is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
JasonSoucy added MasterChef Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 53

Network: Fox Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Cooking show, Reality television

MasterChef (Fox, 2010) is an American competitive cooking reality show based on the original British series. A nationwide search for the best home cooks in America where one of 50 hopefuls will ...more

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#7 of 44 Reality Shows That Involve Actual Skill Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The 'MasterChef' Franchise Dreamcasting Celebrities We Want To See On MasterChef Celebrity Showdown

8
Wipeout is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
John Henson, John Anderson, Jill Wagner

Premiered: 2008

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 97

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Sports, Sports film, Game show, Comedy, Reality television

Wipeout is a game show series in which contestants compete in what is billed as the "world's largest obstacle course". Wipeout is hosted and commentated by John Henson and John ...more

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#684 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #308 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years The Best Wipeout Games

9
The Voice is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
joshaine added Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Carson Daly

Premiered: 2011

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 67

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Talent show, Reality television

The Voice is an American reality television singing competition broadcast on NBC. Based on the original The Voice of Holland, the concept of the series is to find new singing talent contested by ...more

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#398 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #256 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years The Best The Voice Winners, Ranked

10
Undercover Boss is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Mark Keller

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 61

Network: CBS

Genres (Tv): Documentary, Reality television

Undercover Boss is an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name and produced by Studio Lambert in both countries. Each episode depicts a person who has an ...more

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#530 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #18 of 44 The Best American Versions of British Shows

11
Shark Tank is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 64

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Game show, Reality television

Shark Tank (ABC, 2009) is an American reality television series created by Mark Burnett, and a franchise of Dragons' Den. Aspiring entrepreneur-contestants pitch their business idea to a panel ...more

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#19 of 44 Reality Shows That Involve Actual Skill #14 of 41 The Best Reality Dramas What It's Like To Be On Shark Tank, And What Happens After You Close A Deal

12
RuPaul's Drag Race is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
CalebGore added RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 8

Network: Logo

Genres (Tv): Reality television

RuPaul's Drag Race is an American reality competition television series produced by World of Wonder for Logo. RuPaul plays the roles of host, mentor, and source of inspiration for this series, ...more

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#366 of 571 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are #123 of 139 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time The 15 Most Controversial Eliminations From 'RuPaul's Drag Race'

13
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightma... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Gordon Ramsay, Neil Farrell, Daniela Bayfield

Premiered: 2004

Number of Seasons: 5

Number of Episodes: 31

Network: Channel 4

Genres (Tv): Cooking show, Reality television

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares (Channel 4, 2004) is a reality television program. In each episode, chef Gordon Ramsay visits a failing restaurant and acts as a troubleshooter to help improve the ...more

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#10 of 43 The Most Watchable Cooking Competition Shows #8 of 29 The Very Best British Reality Shows, Ranked

14
Top Chef is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
liplip added Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 10

Number of Episodes: 136

Network: Bravo

Genres (Tv): Cook-off, Cooking show, Reality television

Top Chef is an American reality competition show on the cable television network Bravo, that first aired in 2006, in which chefs compete against each other in culinary challenges. They are ...more

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#675 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #772 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

15
America's Next Top Model... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Adrianne Curry, Yoanna House, Tyra Banks

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 19

Number of Episodes: 241

Network: UPN, The CW Television Network

Genres (Tv): Reality television

America's Next Top Model is an American reality television series and interactive competition that premiered on May 20, 2003. It originally aired on UPN, whose merger with The WB created The CW ...more

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#68 of 156 TV Shows Most Loved by African-Americans #980 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'America's Next Top Model' That Prove This Show Is Out Of Control

16
Cash Cab is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Cash Cab

Premiered: 2005

Number of Episodes: 157

Network: Discovery Channel, ITV, Discovery Channel

Genres (Tv): Game show

Cash Cab is a TV game show devised by Adam Wood that originated in the United Kingdom and has been licensed to television networks in numerous other countries. Passengers in a specially ...more

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#846 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #221 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

17
Fear Factor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Joe Rogan

Premiered: 2001

Number of Seasons: 6

Number of Episodes: 142

Network: NBC

Genres (Tv): Game show, Reality television

Fear Factor is an American stunt/dare reality game show. It originally aired between 2001 and 2006, when it was cancelled. It was later revived in 2011, only to be cancelled again on May 13, ...more

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#842 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #99 of 139 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time

18
Dirty Jobs is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky, Doug Glover

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 7

Number of Episodes: 169

Network: Discovery Channel

Genres (Tv): Educational television, Documentary, Reality television

Dirty Jobs was a TV series on the Discovery Channel in which host Mike Rowe is shown performing difficult, strange, disgusting, or messy occupational duties alongside the typical employees. The ...more

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#274 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #1 of 41 The Best Reality Dramas Mike Rowe Reveals ‘Dirty Jobs’ Behind-The-Scenes Facts

19
Chopped is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 13

Number of Episodes: 155

Network: Food Network

Genres (Tv): Game show, Food, Cooking show, Reality television

Chopped is an American reality based cooking television series created by Dave Noll and Michael Krupat, with executive producer Linda Lea, and hosted by Ted Allen that pits four chefs against ...more

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#293 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years 12 Things You Didn't Know About Competing On 'Chopped'

20
Diners, Drive-Ins and Di... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
debra-martin added Guy Fieri, Duff Goldman, Michael Symon

Premiered: 2006

Number of Seasons: 12

Number of Episodes: 45

Network: Food Network

Genres (Tv): Travel, Travel documentary, Food, Documentary, Home improvement

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives is an American food reality television television series that premiered on April 23, 2007, on the Food Network. It is hosted by Guy Fieri. The show originally began ...more

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#257 of 779 The Best TV Shows to Binge Watch #217 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

21
Storage Wars is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Dan Dotson, Laura Dotson, Emily Wears

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 3

Number of Episodes: 102

Network: A&E

Genres (Tv): Documentary, Reality television

Storage Wars (A&E, 2010) is an American reality television series narrated by Thom Beers. Professional buyers visit storage facilities throughout the state and bid on these lockers.

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#122 of 139 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time Storage Wars Is Yet Another Reality TV Show That Is Almost Completely Staged

22
Extreme Makeover: Home E... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Michael Moloney

Premiered: 2003

Number of Seasons: 9

Number of Episodes: 148

Network: American Broadcasting Company

Genres (Tv): Reality television

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is an American reality television series providing home improvements for less fortunate families and community schools. The show is hosted by former model, ...more

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#551 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #1,159 of 1,328 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

23
American Ninja Warrior ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
JoshBerman added Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila

Premiered: 2009

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 26

Network: G4

Genres (Tv): Special Interest, Live action, Documentary, Reality television

American Ninja Warrior is a sports entertainment competition spin-off of the television series Sasuke, in which competitors try to complete a series of obstacle courses of increasing difficulty ...more

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#21 of 135 The Best Reality Competition Series #4 of 44 Reality Shows That Involve Actual Skill What It's Really Like To Compete On 'American Ninja Warrior'

24
American Pickers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, Danielle Colby

Premiered: 2010

Number of Seasons: 4

Number of Episodes: 74

Network: History, The History Channel, Lifetime Television

Genres (Tv): Documentary, Reality television

American Pickers (History, 2010) is an American reality television series that follows antique and collectible pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz who travel around the United States to buy or ...more

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#1,003 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #213 of 408 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch

25
Antiques Roadshow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Bruce Parker, Angela Rippon, Arthur Negus

Premiered: 1979

Network: BBC One

Genres (Tv): Special Interest, Documentary

Antiques Roadshow is a British television show in which antiques appraisers travel to various regions of the United Kingdom to appraise antiques brought in by local people. It has been running ...more

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#722 of 2,298 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #298 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years