Watchworthy

The Best Reality TV Shows Ever 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 27, 2020 172.9k votes 8.1k voters 284.2k views 284 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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The Best Survivor Contestants That Ever Played #441 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watchlisted 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
Phil Keoghan

Premiered: 2001

Genres (Tv): Reality television

The Amazing Race (CBS, 2001) is a reality competition tv show created by Elise Doganieri and Bertram van Munster. Teams of two people race around the world in competition with other teams.

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What It's Really Like To Compete On 'The Amazing Race' #184 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Yearslisted 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

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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The Best Seasons of 'Hell's Kitchen' #158 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #6 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series

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

Genres (Tv): Reality Competition, Reality television

Project Runway (Bravo, 2004) is an American reality television series created by Eli Holzman. Model Heidi Klum hosts contestants as they compete with each other to create the best clothes and ...more

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The Best Project Runway Winners, Ranked #481 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #327 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

Premiered: 2003

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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20 Mythbusters Myths You Were Saddest to See Busted #150 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #33 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

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

Genres (Tv): Reality television

Big Brother (CBS, 2000) 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, taking its name from the character in ...more

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The Best Big Brother Contestants of All Time The Most Legendary Big Brother Contestants: Where Are They Now? #371 of 529 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are

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

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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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The 'MasterChef' Franchise The Best 'MasterChef' Winners, Ranked #248 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

8
Shark Tank is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John

Premiered: 2009

Genres (Tv): Game show, Reality television

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

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The Best Products From Shark Tank Totally Worth Buying What It's Like To Be On Shark Tank, And What Happens After You Close A Deal #15 of 47 The Best Reality Dramas

9
Wipeout is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
John Henson, John Anderson, Jill Wagner

Premiered: 2008

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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The Best Wipeout Games #204 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #247 of 458 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time

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

Premiered: 2010

Genres (Tv): Documentary, Reality television

Undercover Boss (CBS, 2009) is an American reality television series, based on the British series of the same name. Each episode depicts a person who has an upper-management position at a major ...more

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#6 of 47 The Best Reality Dramas #16 of 44 The Best American Versions of British Shows #9 of 37 The Best Business TV Shows

11
The Voice is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
joshaine added Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Carson Daly

Premiered: 2011

Genres (Tv): Talent show, Reality television

The Voice (NBC, 2011) is an American reality television singing competition hosted by Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, and Carson Daly. Based on the original The Voice of ...more

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The Best The Voice Winners, Ranked #426 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #291 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

12
Top Chef is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
liplip added Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi

Premiered: 2006

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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#518 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #301 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #12 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series

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

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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#11 of 54 The Most Watchable Cooking Competition Shows #6 of 41 The Very Best British Reality Shows, Ranked #6 of 110 The Best Cooking TV Shows of All Time

14
RuPaul's Drag Race is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
CalebGore added RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice

Premiered: 2009

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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29 Of The Best Twitter Reactions To RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 5 Reveal The 15 Most Controversial Eliminations From 'RuPaul's Drag Race' #361 of 529 Things That Are Not As Cool As People Think They Are

15
Cash Cab is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Cash Cab

Premiered: 2005

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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#179 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #23 of 87 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time #6 of 45 The Best Game Shows to Play Along at Home

16
America's Next Top Model... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Adrianne Curry, Yoanna House, Tyra Banks

Premiered: 2003

Genres (Tv): Reality television

America's Next Top Model (UPN, 2003) is an American reality competition television series create by Tyra Banks. Several women compete for the title of "America's Next Top Model", ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'America's Next Top Model' That Prove This Show Is Out Of Control All The Winners of America's Next Top Model: Where Are They Now? #589 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch

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

Premiered: 2001

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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#231 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #9 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series #112 of 148 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time

18
Chopped is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy

Premiered: 2009

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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12 Things You Didn't Know About Competing On 'Chopped' #283 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #10 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series

19
Dirty Jobs is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky, Doug Glover

Premiered: 2003

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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Mike Rowe Reveals ‘Dirty Jobs’ Behind-The-Scenes Facts #1 of 47 The Best Reality Dramas #3 of 169 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows

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

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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#282 of 806 The Best TV Shows To Binge Watch #149 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #41 of 64 The Best Feel-Good TV Shows

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

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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Storage Wars Is Yet Another Reality TV Show That Is Almost Completely Staged #107 of 148 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time

22
American Pickers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, Danielle Colby

Premiered: 2010

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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#265 of 422 The Best TV Shows to Rewatch #11 of 29 The Best "American" TV Shows

23
Antiques Roadshow is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Bruce Parker, Angela Rippon, Arthur Negus

Premiered: 1979

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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#146 of 383 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #19 of 42 Foreign Shows That Were Remade in the US #19 of 44 The Best American Versions of British Shows

24
American Ninja Warrior ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
JoshBerman added Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila

Premiered: 2009

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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What It's Really Like To Compete On 'American Ninja Warrior' The Best 'American Ninja Warrior' Winners, Ranked #11 of 152 The Best Reality Competition Series

25
Extreme Makeover: Home E... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Reality TV Shows Ever
Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Michael Moloney

Premiered: 2003

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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#134 of 148 The Dumbest Reality Shows of All Time #1,118 of 1,318 The Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows