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The Best 1990s Reality Shows

Updated April 30, 2020 2.2k votes 347 voters 19.3k views26 items

List RulesVote 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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  • Unsolved Mysteries1
    127
    36

    Unsolved Mysteries

    Robert Stack, Dennis Farina

    Premiered1987

    Unsolved Mysteries (NBC, 1987) is an American mystery documentary television show created by...  more

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  • American Gladiators2
    113
    38

    American Gladiators

    Mike Adamle, Joe Theismann

    Premiered1989

    American Gladiators is an American competition television program that aired weekly in...  more

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  • Cops3
    100
    42

    Cops

    Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay

    Premiered1988

    Cops (Fox, 1988) is an American documentary-reality legal series and one of the...  more

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  • America's Most Wanted4
    96
    40

    Premiered1988

    America's Most Wanted is an American television program produced by 20th Television, and was...  more

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    #15 of 87 The Best True Crime TV Shows#8 of 70 The Best Lifetime Television TV Shows

  • The Real World5
    84
    69

    The Real World

    Jamie Chung, Steven Hill

    Premiered1992

    The Real World (MTV, 1992) is an American reality television program inspired by the 1973 PBS...  more

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  • Rescue 9116
    66
    52

    Rescue 911

    William Shatner, Gene Babb

    Premiered1989

    Rescue 911 was an informational reality-based television series that premiered on CBS on April...  more

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    #164 of 312 The Best Shows of the 1980s, Ranked#112 of 191 The Greatest Shows of the 1990s, Ranked

  • Candid Camera7
    62
    54

    Candid Camera

    Suzanne Somers, Dom DeLuise

    Premiered1948

    Candid Camera (ABC, 1948) is an American hidden camera reality television series created by...  more

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  • Iron Chef8
    59
    57

    Iron Chef

    Masaharu Morimoto, Hiroyuki Sakai

    Premiered1993

    Iron Chef is a Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which...  more

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    #10 of 60 The Most Watchable Cooking Competition Shows#3 of 85 The Best Cooking TV Shows of All Time

  • Singled Out9
    58
    59

    Singled Out

    Carmen Electra

    Premiered1995

    Singled Out is a game show that ran on MTV from 1995 to 1998. Each episode featured a group of...  more

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  • Taxicab Confessions10
    52
    55

    Taxicab Confessions

    Chris Moriarty, Rita Scott

    Premiered1995

    Taxicab Confessions (HBO, 1995) is an American hidden camera reality television series. When...  more

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    #50 of 110 The Greatest HBO TV Shows of All Time#9 of 31 The Best HBO Series of the 1990s

  • Road Rules11
    54
    58

    Road Rules

    Cara Zavaleta, Veronica Portillo

    Premiered1995

    Road Rules (MTV, 1995) is an American reality show created by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan...  more
  • True Life12
    49
    55

    True Life

    Serena Altschul

    Premiered1998

    True Life (MTV, 1998) is an American documentary television series. Each episode follows a...  more
  • Who Wants to Be a Millionaire13
    13
    8

    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire

    Chris Tarrant, Jeremy Clarkson

    Premiered1998

    Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (ITV, 1998) is a British television quiz show, created and...  more

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    #236 of 389 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate#29 of 117 The Best Reality Competition Series

  • Forensic Files14
    48
    54

    Forensic Files

    Dayle Hinman, Peter Thomas

    Premiered1996

    Forensic Files is an American documentary-style series that reveals how forensic science is...  more

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  • Blind Date15
    44
    59

    Blind Date

    Roger Lodge, Ava Cadell

    Premiered1999

    Blind Date is an American dating game show. Hosted by Roger Lodge, the series was distributed...  more

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  • Dismissed16
    Dismissed is a reality television show on MTV that premiered in 2001. One person...  more
  • Airline17
    5
    9

    Airline

    Caharlie Higson, Tony Robinson

    Premiered1998

    Airline (ITV, 1998) is a British fly on the wall television program. It showcases the daily...  more
  • Real TV18
    5
    12

    Real TV

    Beau Weaver

    Premiered1996

    Real TV is a reality television program that ran in syndication from September 9, 1996 to...  more
  • House Doctor19
    5
    12

    House Doctor

    House Doctor ist ein Fernsehprogramm mit Ann Maurice, das von Channel 5 im Vereinigten...  more
  • Streetmate20
    4
    11

    Streetmate

    Holly Willoughby, Davina McCall

    Premiered1998

    Streetmate was a reality dating game show that first aired on Channel 4 from 30 October 1998...  more
  • The Challenge21
    33
    66

    The Challenge

    T.J. Lavin, Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio

    Premiered1998

    The Challenge is a reality game show on MTV that is spun off from the network's two reality...  more

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  • Bug Juice22
    24
    68

    Bug Juice

    Jon Adler, Rhett Bachner

    Premiered1998

    Bug Juice (Disney Channel, 1998) is an American reality series. The series focuses around 20...  more
  • American Masters23
    11
    64

    American Masters

    Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney

    Premiered1986

    American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on artists, actors and...  more
  • Living in the Past24
    4
    12

    Living in the Past

  • Police Stop!25
    Police Stop! is a series of real-life police video programmes, which were made originally for...  more