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The Best Reality TV Shows Ever

Updated October 20, 2020 134.2k votes 8.3k voters 288.2k views323 items

List RulesVote up the best unscripted reality shows that have aired.

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!

Good reality TV shows come in every style of reality - from competition to cooking, quasi-educational to quite weird - and this list has them all. You can vote for fashion competitions like RuPaul's Drag Race, obstacle course shows like Wipeout, food travelogues like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and of course the classics like Big Brother.

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?

 

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  • 1
    Survivor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    2,112
    1,401

    Survivor

    Jeff Probst, Rob Mariano

    Premiered2000

    More Survivor 

    The Best Survivor Contestants That Ever PlayedThe All-Time Greatest Survivor Winners

  • 2
    The Amazing Race is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,533
    1,196

    The Amazing Race

    Phil Keoghan

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    More The Amazing Race 

    The Best Amazing Race Winners, RankedThe Most Hateful Amazing Race Teams of All Time

  • 3
    Hell's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,357
    1,249

    Hell's Kitchen

    Gordon Ramsay, Jean Philippe Susilovic

    Premiered2005

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

  • 4
    MythBusters is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    775
    643

    MythBusters

    Jon Lung, Brian Louden

    Premiered2003

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

    More MythBusters 

    20 Mythbusters Myths You Were Saddest to See BustedThe Best Seasons of MythBusters

  • 5
    Shark Tank is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    586
    527

    Shark Tank

    Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran

    Premiered2009

    Genres (Tv)Game show, Reality television

    More Shark Tank 

    The Best Products From Shark Tank Totally Worth BuyingMost Dramatic Meltdowns on Shark Tank

  • 6
    MasterChef is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    712
    576

    MasterChef

    Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Cooking show, Reality television

    More 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The 'MasterChef' FranchiseDreamcasting Celebrities We Want To See On MasterChef Celebrity Showdown

  • 7
    Project Runway is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,129
    1,098

    Project Runway

    Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Reality Competition, Reality television

    More Project Runway 

    The Most Memorable Project Runway LooksThe Best Project Runway Designers Ever

  • 8
    Big Brother is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,318
    1,350

    Big Brother

    Julie Chen, Phil Proctor

    Premiered2000

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    More Big Brother 

    The Best Big Brother Contestants of All TimeThe Most Legendary Big Brother Contestants: Where Are They Now?

  • 9
    The Voice is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,126
    1,255

    The Voice

    Adam Levine, Blake Shelton

    Premiered2011

    Genres (Tv)Talent show, Reality television

    More The Voice 

    The Best The Voice Winners, RankedWinners of The Voice Who Failed to Launch Careers

  • 10
    Undercover Boss is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    840
    816

    Undercover Boss

    Mark Keller

    Premiered2010

    Genres (Tv)Documentary, Reality television

    More Undercover Boss 

    #7 of 49 The Best Reality Dramas#12 of 44 The Best American Versions of British Shows

  • 11
    Wipeout is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    1,024
    1,047

    Wipeout

    John Henson, John Anderson

    Premiered2008

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

    More Wipeout 

    #260 of 437 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time#67 of 138 The Funniest Shows To Watch When You're Stoned

  • 12
    Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    922
    911

    Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares

    Gordon Ramsay, Neil Farrell

    Premiered2004

    Genres (Tv)Cooking show, Reality television

    More Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares 

    #4 of 49 The Very Best British Reality Shows, Ranked#8 of 78 The Best Cooking TV Shows of All Time

  • 13
    RuPaul's Drag Race is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    727
    689

    RuPaul's Drag Race

    RuPaul, Michelle Visage

    Premiered2009

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    More RuPaul's Drag Race 

    The 15 Most Controversial Eliminations From 'RuPaul's Drag Race'All Winners of RuPaul's Drag Race, Ranked

  • 14
    Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    482
    412

    Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

    Guy Fieri, Duff Goldman

    Premiered2006

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

  • 15
    America's Next Top Model is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    918
    1,024

    America's Next Top Model

    Adrianne Curry, Yoanna House

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

    More America's Next Top Model 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'America's Next Top Model' That Prove This Show Is Out Of ControlAll The Winners of America's Next Top Model: Where Are They Now?

  • 16
    Chopped is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    771
    879

    Chopped

    Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli

    Premiered2009

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

  • 17
    Top Chef is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    902
    1,047

    Top Chef

    Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons

    Premiered2006

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

    More Top Chef 

    #4 of 59 The Most Watchable Cooking Competition Shows#5 of 71 Reality Shows That Involve Actual Skill

  • 18
    Fear Factor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    717
    854

    Fear Factor

    Joe Rogan

    Premiered2001

    Genres (Tv)Game show, Reality television

    More Fear Factor 

    #247 of 334 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years#12 of 137 The Best Reality Competition Series

  • 19
    Cash Cab is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    882
    1,038

    Cash Cab

    Ben Bailey, Beth Melewski

    Premiered2005

    Genres (Tv)Game show

    More 

    #18 of 83 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time#6 of 51 The Best Game Shows to Play Along at Home

  • 20
    Dirty Jobs is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    798
    907

    Dirty Jobs

    Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Educational television, Documentary, Reality television

  • 21
    American Ninja Warrior is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    420
    277

    American Ninja Warrior

    Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown

    Premiered2009

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

    More American Ninja Warrior 

    The Best 'American Ninja Warrior' Winners, RankedWhat It's Really Like To Compete On 'American Ninja Warrior'

  • 22
    Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    637
    704

    Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

    Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo

    Premiered2003

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

  • 23
    House Hunters is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    390
    452

    House Hunters

    Andromeda Dunker, Suzanne Whang

    Premiered1999

    Genres (Tv)Reality television

  • 24
    Antiques Roadshow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    692
    852

    Antiques Roadshow

    Bruce Parker, Angela Rippon

    Premiered1979

    Genres (Tv)Special Interest, Documentary

  • 25
    E! True Hollywood Story is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
    347
    340

    E! True Hollywood Story

    Don Morrow, Neil Ross

    Premiered1996

    Genres (Tv)Entertainment, Documentary

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