Non-Fiction The Best Non-fiction TV Shows  

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905 votes 147 voters 31.2k 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
46 18
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
2
28 21
The Joy of Painting is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
11 6
Trauma: Life in the E.R. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Chip Demarest, Andy Michaels, Brian Plaisier
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
4
13 10
Destination Truth is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
5 2
Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction 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
6
8 6
Secrets & Mysteries is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Secrets & Mysteries 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
7
6 5
American Experience is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
13 14
Ancient Aliens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
lalispeter added 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
9
9 10
The Awful Truth is listed (or ranked) 9 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.
10
14 16
Biography is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
14 17
Ripley's Believe It or Not! is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
9 11
Fact or Faked: Paranormal File... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
mac1949 added 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
13
2 3
BodyShaping is listed (or ranked) 13 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
14
11 14
Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stor... is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
6 8
Watchdog is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
1 2
Home Computing Starring Tim Te... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
IanDavies added Home Computing Starring Tim Testa
17
5 7
Book TV is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Book TV is the name given to weekend programming on the American cable network C-SPAN2 airing from 8 a.m. Eastern Time Saturday morning to 8 a.m. Eastern Time Monday morning each week. The 48 ...more
18
9 12
American Masters is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
4 6
Don't Get Done, Get Dom is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Don't Get Done, Get Dom is a British consumer rights television series. The show is named for its presenter Dominic Littlewood. Each series is transmitted, usually daily during daytime, on BBC ...more
20
4 6
Call 911 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Call 911
Call 911 is a television show that premiered as a Court TV special on August 21, 2007, and began airing as a series on July 30, 2008 on Investigation Discovery. The series began airing on ...more
21
3 5
Juvies is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
3 5
Pro-Am Poker Equalizer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Pro-Am Poker Equalizer Jose Canseco, Cheryl Hines, Cindy Margolis
The Pro-Am Poker Equalizer is a televised poker tournament in which professional poker players play Texas hold 'em against celebrities which began airing on ESPN in January 2007. In order to ...more
23
3 5
Computer Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Computer Chronicles
Computer Chronicles was an American half-hour television series, broadcast from 1983 to 2002 on Public Broadcasting Service public television, which documented the rise of the personal computer ...more
24
3 5
Cheap Seats is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Kate Walsh, David Cross, H. Jon Benjamin
Cheap Seats without Ron Parker, commonly shortened to Cheap Seats, was a television program broadcast on ESPN Classic hosted by brothers Randy and Jason Sklar. The brothers appear as fictional ...more
25
3 5
For Love or Money is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Non-fiction TV Shows
Ben, Rachel Veltri, Steve Alten
For Love or Money is an American reality television show initially broadcast as summer programming on NBC in 2003 and 2004. Four seasons of the program were shown in linked pairs, and all ...more