Reality TV

The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made  

Ranker TV
224 votes 20 voters 49 items

List Rules The competitive reality television series that historically have kept you on the edge of your seat as the contestants compete to win.

The best reality competition TV shows ever aired are some of the most exciting and competitive series to watch on television, but which are the most exciting of all time? Determining which competitive reality series is the most exciting isn't an easy task given the plethora of options available, but this list might make it just a bit easier. These days, with the use of digital streaming, more and more shows people have forgotten are being rewatched, checked out for the first time, or even remade into new classics for new generations to enjoy, but which of these reality competition shows is the best of them all in terms of excitement?

Would something newer like The Masked Singer land higher on the list than a classic reality competition series like the original American Idol or The Voice? For a reality competition series to be truly exciting, it has to be the kind that depicts a competition with dire consequences for failure, or a seriously huge prize for the winner. The only way to find out which is the most exciting series is to vote up your favorite reality competition series below, but remember, this list is all about excitement! Which series is more exciting than the one below it?

Don't forget to add your favorite reality competition show to the list if it's missing and vote for your favorite below!

list ordered by
1
The Amazing Race is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
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
2
Cutthroat Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Alton Brown, Simon Majumdar, Jet Tila
Just how far is a chef willing to go to win a cooking competition? Cutthroat Kitchen hands four chefs each $25,000 and the opportunity to spend that money on helping themselves or sabotaging ...more
3
Fear Factor is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Joe Rogan

And be sure to check out our list of all Fear Factor episodes, ranked.

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
4
Survivor is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Jeff Probst, Rob Mariano, Rupert Boneham
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
5
American Idol is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest
American Idol is an American singing competition series created by Simon Fuller and produced by 19 Entertainment, and is distributed by FremantleMedia North America. It began airing on Fox on ...more
6
The Masked Singer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Nick Cannon
The Masked Singer (Fox, 2019) is an American reality competition series based on the South Korean show King of Mask Singer. Hosted by Nick Cannon, the show features celebrities singing in a ...more
7
The Bachelor is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Chris Harrison, Brad Womack, Sean Lowe
The Bachelor is an American reality television dating game show debuting in 2002 on ABC. For all seasons, the show is hosted by Chris Harrison. There are three related series: The Bachelorette, ...more
8
Dancing with the Stars is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Tom Bergeron, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli
Dancing with the Stars is an American dance competition show airing since 2005 on ABC in the United States, and CTV/CTV Two in Canada. The show is the American version of the British television ...more
9
America's Got Talent is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Nick Cannon, Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne
America's Got Talent is an American reality television series on the NBC television network, and part of the global British Got Talent franchise. It is a talent show that features singers, ...more
10
Hell's Kitchen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Gordon Ramsay, Jean Philippe Susilovic, Scott Leibfried
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
11
The Voice is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Carson Daly
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
12
So You Think You Can Dance is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Mark Thompson, Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley
So You Think You Can Dance is an American televised dance competition show that airs on Fox in the United States and is the flagship series of the international So You Think You Can Dance ...more
13
Iron Chef is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Masaharu Morimoto, Hiroyuki Sakai
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
14
Top Chef is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi
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
15
American Ninja Warrior is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Matt Iseman, Jenn Brown, Akbar Gbaja-Biamila
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
16
Chopped is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Ted Allen, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy
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
17
Britain's Got Talent is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Anthony McPartlin, Declan Donnelly, Amanda Holden
Britain's Got Talent (ITV, 2007), often abbreviated to BGT, is a televised British talent show competition, and part of the global Got Talent franchise created by Simon Cowell. Contestants ...more
18
Nailed It! is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Nicole Byer, Jacques Torres, Zac Young
Nailed It! (Netflix, 2018) is a reality bake-off competition series. Three amateur bakers compete to replicate complicated cakes and confectionery, in order to win a $10,000 cash prize.
19
Alone is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Dustin Feher, Alan Kay, Sam Larson
Alone (History, 2015) is an American reality television series. Ten survival "experts" attempt to survive alone, and the winner receives $500,000.
20
MasterChef is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich
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
21
Big Brother is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Julie Chen, Phil Proctor, Clayton Halsey
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
22
The Great Food Truck Race is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Tyler Florence, Chris Hodgson, Lance Kramer
The Great Food Truck Race is a reality television series that originally aired on August 15, 2010, on Food Network, with Tyler Florence as the host. It features competing food trucks. The fourth ...more
23
The X Factor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent, contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in 2004 and ...more
24
The Bachelorette is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
Ben Sandford
The Bachelorette is a spin-off from the American competitive reality dating game show The Bachelor. In its January 2003 debut on ABC, the first season featured Trista Rehn, the runner-up date ...more
25
RuPaul's Drag Race is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Competition Shows Ever Made
RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Santino Rice
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