Entertainment

The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made  

Ranker TV
221 votes 24 voters 39 items

List Rules Only reality television series that have historically brought excitement along with the standard drama. Non-competitive reality shows only.

The best reality TV shows ever aired are some of the most exciting series to watch on television, but which are the most exciting reality shows of all time? Determining which reality TV 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 shows are the best of them all in terms of excitement?

Would something newer like Bear Grylls: Face the Wild land higher on the list than a classic survival series like Survivorman - or do both pale in excitement to reality series that follow nerve-wracking professions like Deadliest Catch and Cops? For a reality series to be truly exciting, it has to be the kind that depicts either a situation with real consequences for failure, or realism that truly makes the viewer feel like the people on the show might be in actual danger... because, sometimes, they are! The only way to find out which is the best is to vote up your favorite reality 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 show to the list if it's missing and vote for your favorite below! Remember, no competitive reality series, they bring a different kind of excitement all together and you can vote the most exciting reality competition shows here.

list ordered by
1
Deadliest Catch is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Rick Quashnick, Sig Hansen, Edgar Hansen
Deadliest Catch is a reality television series produced by Original Productions for the Discovery Channel. It portrays the real life events aboard fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the ...more
2
Ice Road Truckers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Alex Debogorski, Thom Beers, Hugh Rowland
Ice Road Truckers is a reality television series that premiered on History on June 17, 2007. It features the activities of drivers who operate trucks on seasonal routes crossing frozen lakes and ...more
3
Jackass is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Brandon DiCamillo
Jackass is an American reality series, originally shown on MTV from 2000 to 2002, featuring people performing various dangerous, crude, self-injuring stunts and pranks. The show served as a ...more
4
Swamp People is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Troy Landry, Jacob Landry, Bruce Mitchell
Swamp People (History, 2010) is an American reality series that follows the day-to-day activities of Louisiana natives living in the swamps of the Atchafalaya River Basin who hunt American ...more
5
Dog the Bounty Hunter is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Leland Blaine Chapman, Lyssa Rae Chapman, Duane Lee Chapman
Dog the Bounty Hunter is an American reality television series on A&E which chronicles Duane "Dog" Chapman's experiences as a bounty hunter. With a few exceptions, the series took ...more
6
North Woods Law is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
North Woods Law is an American reality television series that debuted on March 11, 2012, on the Animal Planet. Set in Maine, the show follows numerous game wardens of the Maine Warden Service ...more
7
Yukon Men is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Yukon Men is an unscripted American cable television series aired on the Discovery Channel. It is produced by Paper Route Productions and has premiered on August 24, 2012. The series details the ...more
8
Cops is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Andrew Fincher, Joe Guay, Wayne Anderson
Cops is an American documentary/reality legal series that follows police officers, constables, sheriff's deputies, and federal agents during patrols and other police activities including vice ...more
9
Ax Men is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Ax Men is an American reality television series that premiered on March 9, 2008 on History. The program follows the work of several logging crews in the second-growth forests of Northwestern ...more
10
Dirty Jobs is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Mike Rowe, David M. Barsky, Doug Glover
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
11
Alaska State Troopers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Alaska State Troopers is an American documentary television series that airs on National Geographic Channel and premiered on October 14, 2009. It is narrated by Marc Graue. The show follows the ...more
12
Ghost Hunters is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves, Grant Wilson
Ghost Hunters is an American paranormal reality television series that premiered on October 6, 2004, on Syfy and was revived in 2019 on A&E. The program features paranormal investigators ...more
13
Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Mike Donovan, Anthony Duarte, Kevin Gannon
Smiley Face Killers: The Hunt for Justice (Oxygen, 2019) is an American crime docuseries created by Oxygen Media. The series follows retired NYPD Detective Kevin Gannon and his team during an ...more
14
The Critical Hour is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
The Critical Hour is a medical reality TV show about real medical emergencies. Similar in format to the TV show COPS, it is shown in the United States by the Discovery Communications's Discovery ...more
15
River Monsters is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Jeremy Wade, Daniel Göz
River Monsters is a British and American wildlife documentary television programme produced for Animal Planet by Icon Films of Bristol, United Kingdom. Hosted by extreme angler and biologist ...more
16
Naked and Afraid is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Naked and Afraid is an American docudrama series that airs on the Discovery Channel and premiered on June 23, 2013. Each episode chronicles the lives of two survivalists who meet for the first ...more
17
Hoarders is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Hoarders (A&E, 2009) is an American reality television series that depicts the real-life struggles and treatment of people who suffer from compulsive hoarding disorder.
18
Survivorman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Les Stroud
Survivorman is a Canadian-produced television program, broadcast in Canada on the Outdoor Life Network, and internationally on Discovery Channel and Science Channel. The show aired 5 seasons and ...more
19
Hotel Hell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Hotel Hell Gordon Ramsay
Hotel Hell (Fox, 2012) is an American reality television series. World famous chef Gordon Ramsay visits various struggling lodging establishments throughout the United States in an attempt to ...more
20
American Loggers is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
American Loggers is a show on Discovery Channel. The show follows the Pelletier family from Millinocket, Maine. With their companies Gerald Pelletier, Inc and Pelletier Brothers, Inc they have a ...more
21
Kitchen Nightmares is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Gordon Ramsay
Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, 2007) is an American reality television series based on the British show. Chef Gordon Ramsay is invited by the owners to spend a week with a failing restaurant in an ...more
22
Ghost Adventures is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Zak Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Nick Groff
Ghost Adventures is an American television series about the paranormal that premiered on October 17, 2008, on the Travel Channel. Produced by MY-Tupelo Entertainment, the program follows ghost ...more
23
Nightwatch is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Nightwatch (A&E, 2015) is a reality series that follows the men and women who keep the citizens of New Orleans safe during the night.
24
First Responders Live is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
First Responders Live (Fox, 2019) is an American documentary-reality television series created by Dick Wolf. Camera crews follow first response teams in day to day operations and capture what ...more
25
Dance Moms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Exciting Reality Shows Ever Made
Dance Moms is an American reality television series that debuted on Lifetime on July 13, 2011. Created by Collins Avenue Productions, it is set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Abby Lee Dance ...more