Entertainment

The Best Non-fiction TV Shows 

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1k votes 164 voters 33.4k views 98 items

List Rules Shows near the top must be only the best Non-fiction TV series.

The very best non-fiction shows on television, ranked from best to worst. This list of the greatest non-fiction shows also includes pictures from the shows when available. Popular non-fiction TV shows have been a staple of television for years, so there's often debate about what the most entertaining non-fiction show of all time is. Don't let your favorite non-fiction television programs in history get to the bottom of the list- be sure to vote them up so they have the chance to reach the top spot. The list of non-fiction television shows below includes information like the program's cast, creator and premiere date when available.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different shows, like Watchdog and FYI.

This list answers the questions, "What is the best non-fiction show of all time?" and "What are the greatest non-fiction shows?"
list ordered by
1
MythBusters is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Jon Lung, Brian Louden
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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2
Trauma: Life in the E.R.... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Trauma: Life in the E.R. is a medical-based television reality show that formerly ran on TLC from 1997 to 2002 and reruns are currently airing on Discovery Fit & Health. At its peak, Trauma ...more

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#17 of 41 The Best Reality Dramas #1 of 29 The Best Reality Medical Shows

3
The Joy of Painting is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Bob Ross, Ben Stahl, Steve Ross
The Joy of Painting is an American half-hour instructional television show hosted by painter Bob Ross which ran from January 11, 1983, until May 17, 1994. In each episode, Ross taught techniques ...more

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#190 of 579 TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time #1,214 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time

4
Secrets & Mysteries ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Edward Mulhare
Secrets & Mysteries was a television series which originally aired in syndication from 1988 to 1989. It was hosted by acclaimed Irish actor Edward Mulhare and dealt with topics of a ...more
5
Beyond Belief: Fact or F... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
lalispeter added
Jonathan Frakes, Don LaFontaine, James Brolin
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to ...more

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6
Destination Truth is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
mac1949 added
Josh Gates, Gabriel Copeland, Mike Morrell
Destination Truth was a weekly American paranormal reality television series that premiered on June 6, 2007, on Syfy. Produced by Mandt Bros. Productions and Ping Pong Productions, the program ...more

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#1,711 of 2,296 The Greatest TV Shows Of All Time #25 of 114 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows

7
Ripley's Believe It or N... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Bruce Campbell, Dean Cain, Marie Osmond
Ripley's Believe It or Not! (Travel Channel, 2019) is a documentary and pseudoarchaeology TV program based on the newspaper feature of the same name. The original series aired in 1949 and has ...more
8
Haunted Lives: True Ghos... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Jared Rushton, Stacy Keach, Marianne Muellerleile
Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories was an American paranormal anthology television miniseries that originally broadcast from May 15, 1991 to November 28, 1995, on CBS and UPN. This short-lived ...more

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9
American Experience is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
MarySSpiegel added
David McCullough, David Ogden Stiers, Michael Murphy
American Experience is a television program airing on the Public Broadcasting Service Public television stations in the United States. The program airs documentaries, many of which have won ...more
10
Juvies is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Juvies
Juvies is an MTV television show following minors in the Lake County, Indiana Juvenile Justice Complex. The series' first and only season debuted on MTV in February 2007, and has re-aired ...more
11
The Awful Truth is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Michael Moore, Karen Duffy
The Awful Truth is a satirical television show that was directed, written, and hosted by filmmaker Michael Moore, and funded by the British broadcaster Channel 4.
12
Ancient Aliens is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
lalispeter added Ancient Aliens
Robert Clotworthy, Giorgio Tsoukalos, David Childress
Ancient Aliens (History, 2010) is an American television series that presents hypotheses of ancient astronauts and proposes that historical texts, archaeology, and legends contain evidence of ...more

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13
Campus PD is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Campus PD
Campus PD was an American television show on G4. Campus PD was produced by Cineflix Productions. The show was similar in style and tone to the show COPS. Unlike COPS, Campus PD focused ...more
14
Home Computing Starring ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
IanDavies added Home Computing Starring Tim Testa
15
It's Effin' Science is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
It's Effin' Science
It's Effin' Science was an American television show on G4. It was hosted by Angie Greenup, Marc Horowitz and Chad Zdenek and produced by Renegade Productions. Filming was based in Los Angeles, ...more
16
Biography is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Joan Lunden, Peter Graves, David Hart Smith
Biography is a documentary television series that had three original runs, twice on CBS and the current on A&E then The Biography Channel then FYI. It was originally a half-hour filmed ...more

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#78 of 254 The Best Reality TV Shows Ever #14 of 114 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows

17
Fact or Faked: Paranorma... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
mac1949 added Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files
Austin Porter, Jael De Pardo, Ben Hansen
Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files is a paranormal investigation series produced by Base Productions that began airing July 15, 2010, on SyFy. The show follows a team of investigators, led by ...more

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#12 of 61 The Best Paranormal Reality Shows #51 of 114 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows

18
Psychic Detectives is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Psychic Detectives
Psychic Detectives or Psychic Investigators is a television program produced by StoryHouse Productions for Court TV, as of 2006 in its 5th season. The program documents real-life cases of ...more
19
Most Haunted is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
mac1949 added
Yvette Fielding, Ciarán O'Keeffe, Derek Acorah
Most Haunted is a British paranormal reality television series. The series was first shown on Living TV between 25 May 2002 and 21 July 2010, a new online edition aired on 31 October 2013 with ...more

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#47 of 114 The Best Documentary Series & TV Shows #39 of 97 The Best Paranormal TV Shows

20
Eyewitness is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Eyewitness
Philip Glenister
Eyewitness is a natural history television series produced by BBC and DK Vision. The series is based on the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness Books series of children's books. Oxfordshire native Guy ...more
21
Patrick Macnee's Ghost S... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Patrick Macnee
Have you ever felt a strange presence around you, or heard a thump in the night…or gotten a chill for no reason at all? Hosted by Patrick Macnee, this spine-tingling series investigates various ...more
22
Watchdog is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Anne Robinson, Lynn Faulds Wood, Matt Allwright
Watchdog is a BBC television series that investigates viewers' reports of problematic experiences with traders, retailers, and other companies around the UK. It has had great success in changing ...more
23
American Masters is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Julianna Margulies, Laura Linney, William Hurt
American Masters is a PBS television show which produces biographies on artists, actors and writers of the United States who have left a profound impact on the nation's popular culture. It is ...more
24
BodyShaping is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
BodyShaping
BodyShaping is a TV fitness and exercise show, with segments on weight training, cardiovascular exercise, stretching and nutrition. It was in production from 1990 to 1998, and has been in reruns ...more
25
Break the Silence: Kids ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse
Break the Silence: Kids Against Child Abuse is a short, partially animated documentary of a four young child abuse survivors. This film provides practical information on what kids and their ...more