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The Best 1990s Reality Shows 

Ranker TV
Updated April 30, 2020 2.3k votes 330 voters 16.5k views 26 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite reality programs that aired in the '90s - no straight game shows

These are the best 1990s reality shows ranked from best to worst by user votes. There were some great 90s reality programs that were about romance, and there were still other good 1990s reality shows about true crime. Still, many of the greatest 1990s reality series were based in competition.

What series appear on this best 1990s reality shows list? MTV's The Real World was a pioneer in the television genre. Premiering in 1992, the show follows “seven strangers, picked to live in a house, work together and have their lives taped to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” Taxicab Confessions was another popular reality show that aired in the 1990s.

Iron Chef placed world famous chefs from around the world in head to head cuisine competition. Other great series that are featured on this top 1990s reality shows list include Candid Camera, Blind Date and Road Rules.

Do you have a favorite 90s reality program? Give the best shows a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.
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1
Unsolved Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Robert Stack, Dennis Farina, Keely Shaye Smith

Premiered: 1987

Unsolved Mysteries (NBC, 1987) is an American mystery documentary television show created by John Cosgrove and Terry Dunn Meurer. Combining dramatic reenactments, interviews, and documentary ...more

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2
American Gladiators is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Mike Adamle, Joe Theismann, Todd Christensen

Premiered: 1989

American Gladiators is an American competition television program that aired weekly in syndication from September 1989 to May 1996. The series matched a cast of amateur athletes against each ...more

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#500 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #29 of 90 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time #19 of 59 Reality Shows That Involve Actual Skill

3
Cops is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay, Wayne Anderson

Premiered: 1988

Cops (Fox, 1988) is an American documentary-reality legal series and one of the longest-running television programs in America. It follows the activities of police officers by assigning ...more

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#53 of 590 The Best TV Theme Songs of All Time #43 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #51 of 148 The Greatest TV Title Sequences Ever

4
America's Most Wanted is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
John Walsh

Premiered: 1988

America's Most Wanted is an American television program produced by 20th Television, and was the longest-running program of any kind in the history of the Fox Television Network until it was ...more

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#57 of 125 The Best Serial Cop Dramas of All Time #116 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked #13 of 90 The Best True Crime TV Shows

5
Rescue 911 is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
William Shatner, Gene Babb, Ken Parham

Premiered: 1989

Rescue 911 was an informational reality-based television series that premiered on CBS on April 18, 1989 and ended on August 27, 1996. The series was hosted by William Shatner and featured ...more

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#108 of 187 The Greatest Shows of the 1990s, Ranked #151 of 510 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked #33 of 37 The Best True Crime Docudramas

6
Candid Camera is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise, Arthur Godfrey

Premiered: 1948

Candid Camera (ABC, 1948) is an American hidden camera reality television series created by Allen Funt. The show involves concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual ...more

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When The Host Of Candid Camera’s Plane Got Hijacked, Everyone Thought It Was A Joke... But It Wasn't #152 of 461 The Funniest TV Shows of All Time #4 of 29 The Best TV Shows of the 1940s

7
The Real World is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Jamie Chung, Steven Hill, Landon Lueck

Premiered: 1992

The Real World (MTV, 1992) is an American reality television program inspired by the 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family. Seven to eight young adults are picked to temporarily live in ...more

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8
Singled Out is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Carmen Electra

Premiered: 1995

Singled Out is a game show that ran on MTV from 1995 to 1998. Each episode featured a group of 50 men and a group of 50 women competing for a date with one main contestant of the opposite sex. ...more

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#73 of 90 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time #3 of 14 Forgotten Reality Dating Shows That Give The Bachelor A Run For Its Money #39 of 84 The Best Dating Reality Shows

9
Iron Chef is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Hiroyuki Sakai

Premiered: 1993

Iron Chef is a Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which premiered on October 10, 1993, is a stylized cook-off featuring guest chefs challenging one of the ...more

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#322 of 388 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years #13 of 56 The Most Watchable Cooking Competition Shows #23 of 160 The Best Reality Competition Series

10
Road Rules is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Cara Zavaleta, Veronica Portillo, Kit Hoover

Premiered: 1995

Road Rules (MTV, 1995) is an American reality show created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray and based off of The Real World. The series followed six strangers, between the ages of 18 and ...more
11
Taxicab Confessions is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Chris Moriarty, Rita Scott, Eddie Ramey

Premiered: 1995

Taxicab Confessions (HBO, 1995) is an American hidden camera reality television series. When passengers enter a taxicab, they are recorded with several small cameras hidden in the taxi while the ...more

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12
Forensic Files is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas, Roy Shuler

Premiered: 1996

Forensic Files is an American documentary-style series that reveals how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, mysterious accidents, and even outbreaks of illness. The show was ...more

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#5 of 25 Netflix Shows And Movies That Are Based On Real Crimes #155 of 187 The Greatest Shows of the 1990s, Ranked #61 of 150 The Best TV Crime Dramas

13
Dismissed is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
ellink8419 added

Premiered: 2001

Dismissed is a reality television show on MTV that premiered in 2001. One person simultaneously takes two others on a date. Each of the daters chooses a place to go, and the person running the ...more
14
Who Wants to Be a Millio... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Meredith Vieira, Terry Crews, Cedric the Entertainer

Premiered: 2001

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (GSN, 2002) is an American television game show based on the same-titled British program and developed for the United States by Michael Davies. The show features a ...more

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#224 of 391 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate #29 of 160 The Best Reality Competition Series #36 of 90 The Greatest Game Shows of All Time

15
True Life is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Serena Altschul

Premiered: 1998

True Life (MTV, 1998) is an American documentary television series. Each episode follows a particular topic such as drug use, money issues, and sexuality, and the show is created by following a ...more
16
Airline is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Caharlie Higson, Tony Robinson, Veronika Hyks

Premiered: 1998

Airline (ITV, 1998) is a British fly on the wall television program. It showcases the daily happenings of passengers, ground workers and on-board staff of Britannia and later EasyJet.

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17
Blind Date is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Blind Date Roger Lodge, Ava Cadell, Jerry G. Angelo |

Premiered: 1999

Blind Date is an American dating game show. Hosted by Roger Lodge, the series was distributed by Universal Worldwide Television. It was later distributed by NBCUniversal.

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#419 of 571 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #211 of 293 The Best Reality TV Shows Ever #55 of 59 The Worst Dating Shows

18
House Doctor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
House Doctor

Premiered: 1998

House Doctor ist ein Fernsehprogramm mit Ann Maurice, das von Channel 5 im Vereinigten Königreich ausgestrahlt wurde.
19
Real TV is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Real TV Beau Weaver

Premiered: 1996

Real TV is a reality television program that ran in syndication from September 9, 1996 to September 7, 2001. It aired footage of extraordinary events that were usually covered in mainstream ...more
20
Police Stop! is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows

Premiered: 1993

Police Stop! is a series of real-life police video programmes, which were made originally for video from 1993 onwards and were later originally broadcast on Sky1. The series has recently been ...more
21
Streetmate is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Holly Willoughby, Davina McCall

Premiered: 1998

Streetmate was a reality dating game show that first aired on Channel 4 from 30 October 1998 to 9 March 2001, hosted by Davina McCall, and then aired on ITV2 from 27 September to 18 October ...more
22
Living in the Past is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Living in the Past
23
The Challenge is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
T.J. Lavin, Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio, Aneesa Ferreira

Premiered: 1998

The Challenge is a reality game show on MTV that is spun off from the network's two reality shows, The Real World and the now cancelled Road Rules. It features alumni from these two shows, in ...more

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24
Bug Juice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Jon Adler, Rhett Bachner, Stephanie Etkin

Premiered: 1998

Bug Juice (Disney Channel, 1998) is an American reality series. The series focuses around 20 kids and their experiences at summer camp as they work hard to excel in their activities and become ...more
25
This Is Your Life is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 1990s Reality Shows
Michael Aspel, Eamonn Andrews

Premiered: 1955

This is Your Life is a British biographical television documentary, based on the 1952 American show of the same name. It was hosted by Eamonn Andrews from 1955 until 1964, and then from 1969 ...more