RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (2022)

Chevron icon It indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options. HOMEPAGE



Jethro Nededog


RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (1)


Reality television has become an important part of the entertainment industry. And in many cases, reality showfans can rival those of scripted shows in number and dedication.

Over the years, many people have come to regard reality shows with disdain. Sure, there are drunken parties, tossed glasses of wine, and proverbial back-stabbings, but there's more tothe genre than that. Plus, what's wrong with a little dramahere and there?

INSIDER compiled a list of the unscripted shows on TV that we feel represent the best of the bunch. They include programsthat some would consider lowbrow, but there are also shows on our list that redefined industries, opened people's minds, and blazed new trails.

Here are our picks for the 15best reality TV shows on tv right now:

17. "Fixer-Upper" (HGTV)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (2)

"Fixer Upper"/HGTV

Chip and Joanna Gaines have racked up a ton of fans over the four seasons of their HGTV renovation show.

Aside from their popularity, the show arrived at a time when finances were tight for people. The idea of buying a house that needed some work had become the most attractive option for many. And then here comes the Gaines to show them that getting everything they wanted in their home is still possible, even if it's a fixer upper — and with an adorable family to boot.

16. "Tiny House Nation" (FYI)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (3)


Not every reality TV show is about aspiring to live in McMansions. FYI's"Tiny House Nation" travels the country to help home buyers build their ideal tiny home.

The process of preparing the home buyers for living tiny is fascinating. And in all cases, host John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin end up delivering exactly what the buyers needed.

15. "Big Brother" (CBS)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (4)


MTV's "Real World" may have made been the first to put strangers in a home and then tape their every move, but "Big Brother" took it to the extreme – complete with contests for head of the house, eliminations, and around-the-clock taping.

The show is currently in its 19thseason.

14. "Vanderpump Rules" (Bravo)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (5)

"Vanderpump Rules"/Bravo

Take a group of attractiveservers, mix in quite a few tequila shots and Pumptinis, and add one famous Real Housewife, and you have a recipe for a successful spinoff reality show.

Lisa Vanderpump, one of the stars of the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," allowed cameras into her restaurant SUR(which stands for "sexy unique restaurant")as well asthe lives of her serversto bring us "Vanderpump Rules." And after five seasons of slaps, drunken fights, and hookups, we'll forever be grateful.

(Video) Top 20 GREATEST TV SHOWS of All Time!

13. "Born This Way" (A&E)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (6)


In the same way that "Little People Big World" sheds light on the lives of little people, "Born This Way" does that for people with down syndrome. Now about to enter its third season, it has shed light on the challenges and joys of their lives, but alsohow similar their hopes and dreams are to all of us.

12. "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" (A&E)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (7)

"Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath"/A&E

We've definitely seen some pretty thorough documentaries about Scientology, but no one has taken it as far as former church member Leah Remini. On A&E's"Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath," the actress takes the fight on the road in her mission to expose what happens to people when they cross Scientology.

11. "Shark Tank" (ABC)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (8)


Possibly no other reality show has inspired people to launch their dream business — and then figure out a silly way pitch it — than "Shark Tank."

A staple on both ABC and CNBC at this point, the show has gone a long way toward demystifying the often intimidating business world for entrepreneurial Americans.

10. "Little People Big World" (TLC)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (9)

"Little People Big World"/TLC

As with many of the shows on this list, "Little People Big World" had really blazed its own path and enlightened viewers. Over the years, the show became less about a "family of little people" and simply abouta family. They have had a host of great accomplishments and big challenges that are not unlike many American families, and that's when Reality TV is at its best.

9. "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" (E!)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (10)


Kim Kardashian and her family often get flack for becoming famous for doing nothing. But they really should get a lot of credit for being early stars of the social media age and harnessing that popularity.

Since the show premiered in 2007, the Kardashian clan has parlayed their popularity into a host of spin-off shows, video games, apparel, and beauty ventures. At the same time, their show's ratings basically pay E!'s bills (despite those ratings starting to decline).

(Video) These TikTokers Made a BOOTLEG Reality Show

8. "RuPaul's Drag Race" (VH1)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (11)

"RuPaul's Drag Race"/Logo/VH1

"RuPaul's Drag Race" is a twist on the long-running "America's Next Top Model" formula, except these women are men. The show's recent jump from Logo to VH1 is really proof of its ability to break out from a show beloved by the LGBTQ community to a much wider audience.

7. "The Real Housewives" franchise (Bravo)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (12)


The "Real Housewives" franchise captured the lives of women in tony communities that many of us could (nor would) ever be part of.

Yes, there's an aspirational nature to the show about the lives of wealthy women, but there's also the messy, table-flipping, drink-throwing, prison-going side that keeps many people addicted to the drama.

The franchise has shows based in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, and Potomac. It also has several international versions, including ones in Sydney and Bangkok. And the show would lead to many, many TV knockoffs.

6. "The Bachelor" franchise (ABC)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (13)


Scandals aside, "The Bachelor" has taken the dating show format to new heights. It's not a perfect way to meet one's soul mate – only fivecouples over the franchise's 30-some seasons are still together– but it's certainlyentertaining.

The franchise currently includes "The Bachelorette" and summer spin-off "Bachelor in Paradise."

5. "The Voice" (NBC)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (14)

Trae Patton/NBC

Just when it seemed like "American Idol" would be the only singing show on the block, "The Voice" arrived. No, it hasn't created any megastars like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood, but the show isn't really about the contestants, right? It's about the superstar coaches, their playful jabs at each other, their strategizing, and their reactions to performances.

"Idol" may have made stars, but "The Voice" is still airing. Sure, ABC is planning on bringing "Idol" back, but it should probablynot try to compete with "The Voice."

4. "The Amazing Race" (CBS)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (15)


The sheer planning that goes into a season of "The Amazing Race" is enough to justify its 15 Emmy wins. But also, the show serves up an educational look at dozens of world cultures in one season. At the same time, it's entertaining to watch how pairs resolve differences they're probably able to ignore in their daily lives.

(Video) Icing Those Hurts

3. "Project Runway" (Lifetime)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (16)


Like "Top Chef" with foodies and "America's Next Top Model" in the age of supermodels, "Project Runway" took advantage of a growing fascination with name designers.

Over the years, it has stoked a lot of passion in aspiring fashion designers and has lifted several gifted ones out of obscurity andhelped them get on the catwalk.

2. "Top Chef" (Bravo)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (17)

David Moir/Bravo

In an overstocked field of culinaryshows, "Top Chef" is the gold standard. After premiering in 2006, it was able to capitalize on the growing foodie movement and become a highly respected destination for chefs looking to prove their skills.

1. "Survivor" (CBS)

RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV (18)


"Survivor" is the granddaddy of today's survival reality shows, but no one has really been able to improve on the genre. While the production behind the show is tight, "Survivor's" greatest asset is the unknown, its ability to remind usthat right when you think you've got it allfigured out, human beings will always surprise you.

After 34 seasons, the show has the most loyal fandom in television. It also never rests on its laurels and always looks for ways to make the game better. For that, "Survivor" tops our list of best reality shows on TV right now.

(Video) Eugene Ranks The Most Popular Reality TV Shows

Keep reading

More: Features TV Reality TV


RANKED: The 17 best reality shows on TV? ›

Here are our picks for the 15 best reality TV shows on tv right now:
  1. "Survivor" (CBS)
  2. "Top Chef" (Bravo) ...
  3. "Project Runway" (Lifetime) ...
  4. "The Amazing Race" (CBS) ...
  5. "The Voice" (NBC) ...
  6. "The Bachelor" franchise (ABC) ...
  7. "The Real Housewives" franchise (Bravo) ...
  8. "RuPaul's Drag Race" (VH1) ...
Jun 27, 2017

Who is the best reality show? ›

Top 50 Reality-TV Movies and TV Shows
  • Naked Attraction (2016– ) ...
  • The House of Ho (2020– ) ...
  • Claim to Fame (2022– ) ...
  • Too Hot to Handle (2020– ) ...
  • The Challenge (1998– ) ...
  • Ghost Adventures (2008– ) ...
  • The Kardashians (2022– ) TV-14 | 50 min | Drama, Reality-TV. ...
  • The Bachelorette (2003– ) TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, Game-Show, Reality-TV.

Which reality show has highest IMDb rating? ›

10 Best Reality TV Shows Of All Time, According To IMDb
  1. 1 Clarkson's Farm - 9.1.
  2. 2 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - 8.9. ...
  3. 3 Car Masters: Rust to Riches - 8.8. ...
  4. 4 Top Gear - 8.7. ...
  5. 5 Impractical Jokers - 8.6. ...
  6. 6 The Great British Bake Off - 8.6. ...
  7. 7 Love on the Spectrum - 8.6. ...
  8. 8 RuPaul's Drag Race - 8.5. ...
Apr 19, 2022

What's the longest running reality TV show? ›

30–49 seasons
Number of seasonsSeriesGenre/subject
33The Real WorldReality
34American ExperienceDocumentary
30 more rows

What reality show should I binge? ›

View All
  • 1 of 11.
  • 2 of 11 RuPaul's Drag Race.
  • 3 of 11 Love Island.
  • 4 of 11 The Great British Baking Show.
  • 5 of 11 Double Shot at Love With DJ Pauly D and Vinny.
  • 6 of 11 Survivor.
  • 7 of 11 90 Day Fiancé
  • 8 of 11 Queer Eye.
May 19, 2022

Who is the most famous reality TV family? ›

One famous family that has been part of viewers lives since 2007 is the Kardashians, who got their start on reality TV on E!'s Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Since beginning their careers on reality TV, the Kardashian-Jenner sisters have found success in their careers both on and off camera.

Which is the No 1 series in the world? ›

Game of Thrones (2011–2019)

Why are TV seasons so short now? ›

In a way, networks are using a hybrid of their own 22-episode tradition and cable's shorter seasons to provide year-round programming. Networks realized that they were handing viewers over to cable when their shows went into reruns during the winter and summer hiatuses.

Is lost a good show? ›

Lost is one of the best shows of all time and continues to be worth a watch. It is full of timeless struggles, sympathetic characters, and endless mystery. Though the show ended quite some time ago, you'll be sure to find a Lost fanatic almost any time you bring it up.

What was the very first reality show? ›

The first TV show to regularly feature members of the public as its stars was America's Candid Camera which premiered on ABC in 1948 (it was then called Candid Microphone and was a TV version of an established ABC radio show of the same name which began in 1947).

What show has the most seasons reality? ›

The Real World (29 years)

The show has aired for 32 seasons, with the last airing in 2019, and The Real World has been filmed everywhere from New York to Paris to Cancun.

What was the first celebrity reality show? ›

10 The American Sportsman (1965)

It was one of the first reality TV shows and it followed TV hosts Joe Foss, Grits Gresham, and Curt Gowdy. Each episode followed a host and a celebrity as they participated in activities in the great outdoors.

Who is the biggest talk show host? ›

  1. 1 Johnny Carson. NBC. “Here's Johnny!”
  2. 2 Conan O'Brien. NBC. Comedian Conan O'Brien has had a nearly three-decade career in late-night comedy. ...
  3. 3 Trevor Noah. Comedy Central. ...
  4. 4 Jon Stewart. Comedy Central. ...
  5. 5 David Letterman. CBS. ...
  6. 6 Jimmy Fallon. NBC. ...
  7. 7 Arsenio Hall. Fox. ...
  8. 8 Stephen Colbert. CBS. ...

Who is the most popular game show host? ›

Sajak is the longest-running host of any game show, a title he holds in the Guinness World Records.

What reality show should I watch on Hulu? ›

To make the decision easier, we've narrowed down the best reality shows on Hulu.
Related content:
  • Ranking every season of Big Brother.
  • What longtime fans and newcomers alike can expect from The Challenge: USA.
  • Canada's Drag Race queen Rita Baga to host RuPaul's Drag Race Belgique: 'My biggest dream comes true.
Jul 6, 2022

What should I watch on Netflix reality? ›

Now, with all those caveats out of the way, here are the 20 most addictive reality shows on Netflix.
  • The Big Flower Fight. Flower? ...
  • Say I Do. Surprise! ...
  • Ultimate Beastmaster. Time to go beast mode. ...
  • The Circle. What's going down in the Circle? ...
  • Floor is Lava. ...
  • The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On. ...
  • Blown Away. ...
  • Rhythm + Flow.
Jul 17, 2022

How much of reality TV is real? ›

Reality television is totally fake.

Mike Fleiss, the wildly successful creator of “The Bachelor,” claimed in 2012 that 70 to 80 percent of reality shows are “fake.” Most of the time, though, the material isn't fabricated. It is roughly planned and then edited for time, clarity and continuity.

Who was the first reality TV family? ›

TV Guide magazine acknowledged An American Family as the first reality television series and named it among "The 50 Greatest Shows of All Time." Lance Loud, the eldest son of the family, was the first openly gay person to appear on television as an integral member of American family life.

Who has been on multiple reality shows? ›

Either case, check out these 10 reality TV stars who've been on multiple reality TV shows!
10 Reality TV Stars Who Have Been On Multiple Reality Shows
  1. 1 1. Brigitte Nielson.
  2. 2 2. Megan Hauserman. ...
  3. 3 3. Dennis Rodman. ...
  4. 4 4. Jessica Sierra. ...
  5. 5 5. Whitney Duncan. ...
  6. 6 6. Nikki McKibbin. ...
  7. 7 7. Chad Johnson. ...
  8. 8 8. Tami Roman. ...
Mar 31, 2019

Why are reality TV shows good? ›

Reality shows allow you to feel more engaged, than a scripted television show. They prepare us for the real world by giving us a virtual experience from the perspective of someone else. Being able to watch someone encounter an experience, and learn from their mistakes is a valuable asset in the real world.

Which is the biggest reality show in India? ›

Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa is an Indian television reality show. It's the Indian version of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars.

How much of reality TV is real? ›

Reality television is totally fake.

Mike Fleiss, the wildly successful creator of “The Bachelor,” claimed in 2012 that 70 to 80 percent of reality shows are “fake.” Most of the time, though, the material isn't fabricated. It is roughly planned and then edited for time, clarity and continuity.

Who started the first reality TV show? ›

Producer-host Allen Funt's Candid Camera, in which unsuspecting people were confronted with funny, unusual situations and filmed with hidden cameras, first aired in 1948. In the 21st century, the series is often considered a prototype of reality television programming.

What was the very first reality TV show? ›

The first TV show to regularly feature members of the public as its stars was America's Candid Camera which premiered on ABC in 1948 (it was then called Candid Microphone and was a TV version of an established ABC radio show of the same name which began in 1947).


1. DNA will prove I'm not your dad! | The Maury Show
2. Hazel E & De'Von vs. Shanda & Willie Taylor - Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition (Season 17)
(Reality TV Clips)
3. The Truth About 90 Day Fiance Happily Ever After
(Film Focus)
4. Sound of Music: Rolf and Liesl - SNL
(Saturday Night Live)
5. Pawn Stars Chumlee Sentenced To Life In Prison After This
(Tasty Gossip)
6. Reality Stars - SNL
(Saturday Night Live)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Velia Krajcik

Last Updated: 11/10/2022

Views: 6238

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Velia Krajcik

Birthday: 1996-07-27

Address: 520 Balistreri Mount, South Armand, OR 60528

Phone: +466880739437

Job: Future Retail Associate

Hobby: Polo, Scouting, Worldbuilding, Cosplaying, Photography, Rowing, Nordic skating

Introduction: My name is Velia Krajcik, I am a handsome, clean, lucky, gleaming, magnificent, proud, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.