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TV Shows & Series: Best Reality-TV TV Shows/Series

Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents supposedly unscripted real-life situations, and often features an otherwise unknown cast of individuals who are typically not professional actors, although in some shows celebrities may participate. It differs from documentary television in that the focus tends to be on drama, personal conflict, and entertainment rather than educating viewers. An early term for the format was docu-soap. The genre has various standard tropes, including "confessionals" (also called talking heads or interview segments) used by cast members to express their thoughts, which often double as the shows' narration. In competition-based reality shows, a notable subset, there are other common elements, such as one participant being eliminated per episode, a panel of judges, and the concept of "immunity from elimination." An early example of the genre was the 1991 Dutch series Nummer 28, which was the first show to bring together strangers and record their interactions. It then exploded as a phenomenon in the late 1990s and early 2000s with the global success of the series Survivor, Idols, and Big Brother. These shows and a number of others (usually also competition-based) became global franchises, spawning local versions in dozens of ... ()

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We've found 1,235 TV shows/series:

Survivor(2000)

TV-PG
| 42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 58 votes)

A reality show contest where sixteen or more castaways split between two or more “Tribes” are taken to a remote isolated location and are forced to live off the land with meager supplies for roughly 39 days. Frequent physical challenges are used to pit the tribes against each other for rewards, such as food or luxuries, or for “Immunity”, forcing the other tribe to attend “Tribal Council”, where they must vote off one of their players.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians(2007)

45min per episode | Reality-TV
1.8/5 (with 53 votes)

A peek inside the exploits and privileged private lives of the blended Kardashian-Jenner family, including sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé.

With Caitlyn Jenner, Kanye West, Kelly Osbourne, Perez Hilton, Adrienne Bailon, Sabrina Bryan, ...

Big Brother(2000)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.2/5 (with 47 votes)

American version of the reality game show which follows a group of HouseGuests living together 24 hours a day in the "Big Brother" house, isolated from the outside world but under constant surveillance with no privacy for three months.

Cops(1989)

TV-14
| 30min per episode | Reality-TV
3.0/5 (with 36 votes)

Follow real-life law enforcement officers from various regions and departments of the United States armed with nothing but with cameras to capture their actions, performing their daily duty to serve and protect the public.

Hell's Kitchen(2005)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 34 votes)

Aspiring restaurateurs brave Ramsay and his fiery command of the kitchen as he puts the competitors through an intense culinary academy to prove they possess the right combination of ingredients to win a life-changing grand prize.

With Gordon Ramsay

Pawn Stars(2009)

30min per episode | Comedy, Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 33 votes)

Pawn Stars is an American reality television series, shown on History, and produced by Leftfield Pictures. The series is filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it chronicles the daily activities at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour family business opened in 1989 and operated by patriarch Richard "Old Man" Harrison, his son Rick Harrison, Rick's son Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison, and Corey's childhood friend, Austin "Chumlee" Russell. The show, which became the network's highest rated show, and the No. 2 reality show behind Jersey Shore, debuted on July 26, 2009. Reruns can be seen on History as well as its sister network Lifetime, which added the show in December 2010. The series depicts the staff's interactions with customers, who bring in a variety of artifacts to sell or pawn and who are shown haggling over the price and discussing its historical background, with narration provided by the Harrisons and occasionally Chumlee. The series also follows the interpersonal conflicts among the cast. One reviewer referencing these conflicts described the show as a version of Antiques Roadshow "hijacked by American Chopper's" Teutul family. TV Guide has offered a similar description, calling the show "one part Antiques Roadshow, a pinch of LA Ink and a dash of COPS".

With Corey Harrison

The Voice(2011)

TV-PG
| 43min per episode | Reality-TV
2.4/5 (with 33 votes)

The strongest vocalists from across the United states compete in a blockbusters vocal competition, the winner becomes “The Voice.” The show's innovative format features four stages of competition: the blind auditions, the battle rounds, the knockouts and, finally, the live performance shows.

Ghost Adventures(2008)

TV-14
| 45min per episode | Documentary, Mystery, Reality-TV
3.5/5 (with 32 votes)

Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans and his crew, Nick Groff and Aaron Goodwin, search for haunted locations both domestically and internationally. During their investigations, Zak and crew acquaint themselves with the general area; interview locals about the hauntings; and go face-to-face with the evil spirits who reportedly haunt these locations.

Gold Rush(2011)

TV-PG
| 45min per episode | Documentary, Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 30 votes)

Follow the lives of ambitious miners as they head north in pursuit of gold. With new miners, new claims, new machines and new ways to pull gold out of the ground, the stakes are higher than ever. But will big risks lead to an even bigger pay out?

Jackass(2000)

30min per episode | Reality-TV, Comedy, Action & Adventure
3.1/5 (with 28 votes)

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 launchpad for the television and acting careers of Bam Margera, Steve-O, and also Johnny Knoxville, who previously had only a few minor acting roles. Since 2002, three Jackass films have been produced and released by MTV corporate sibling Paramount Pictures, continuing the franchise after its run on television. The show sparked several spin-offs including Viva La Bam, Wildboyz, Homewrecker, Dr. Steve-O and Blastazoid. The show placed #68 on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.

America's Next Top Model(2003)

42min per episode | Reality-TV
2.3/5 (with 27 votes)

Aspiring models compete for a chance to break into the business with a panel of judges critiquing their progress throughout the competition.

The Amazing Race(2001)

TV-PG
| 42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.3/5 (with 27 votes)

This reality competition sees teams embark on a trek around the world to amazing destinations where they must compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical. Only when the tasks are completed will they learn of their next location. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning the race and the $1 million prize.

RuPaul's Drag Race(2009)

TV-14
| 43min per episode | Reality-TV
3.8/5 (with 26 votes)

Join RuPaul, the world's most famous drag queen, as the host, mentor and judge for the ultimate in drag queen competitions. The top drag queens in the U.S. will vie for drag stardom as RuPaul, in full glamazon drag, will reign supreme in all judging and eliminations while helping guide the contestants as they prepare for each challenge.

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta(2012)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.5/5 (with 26 votes)

Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta is the Atlanta based spin-off of Love & Hip Hop. It premiered on June 18, 2012, on VH1 and chronicles the lives of several women who are involved with hip hop. The second season premiered on April 22, 2013, with new cast members: Atlanta DJ and radio personality Traci Steele plus DJ Babey Drew, Traci's ex and father of their son Little Drew.

Deadliest Catch(2005)

TV-14
| 45min per episode | Reality-TV
3.3/5 (with 25 votes)

Forty-foot waves, 700 pound crab pots, freezing temperatures and your mortality staring you in the face…it's all in a day's work for these modern day prospectors. During each episode we will watch crews race to meet their quota and make it home safely.

American Idol(2002)

1h 25min per episode | Reality-TV
2.2/5 (with 25 votes)

American Idol is an American reality-singing competition program created by Simon Fuller. It began airing on Fox on June 11, 2002, as an addition to the Idols format based on the British series Pop Idol and has since become one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. The concept of the series is to find new solo recording artists where the winner is determined by the viewers in America.

Directed by Ken Warwick, Bruce Gowers, Shane Drake, Nigel Lythgoe

Bad Girls Club(2006)

TV-14
| 30min per episode | Reality-TV
2.7/5 (with 23 votes)

A cast of young women, who recognize that their outrageous behavior has hindered their relationships, careers and lives, are brought together in a beautiful mansion. They claim they want to change, but will living together help them move forward and turn their lives around – or will chaos rule?

Shark Tank(2009)

42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.6/5 (with 23 votes)

Aspiring entrepreneurs pitch various business ideas to "The Sharks" -- tough, self-made, multi-millionaire and billionaire tycoons -- in hopes of landing an investment.

With Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, ...

The Real Housewives of Atlanta(2008)

TV-14
| 1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.9/5 (with 22 votes)

Bravo's cameras turn to the Southern states as the network presents this inside look at the Real Housewives of Atlanta. These women handle the personal dramas that affect their affluent lifestyles with a signature Southern brand of “style” and “grace.”

With NeNe Leakes, Kim Zolciak, DeShawn Snow, Sheree Whitfield, Lisa Wu, Kandi Burruss, ...

Catfish: The TV Show(2012)

42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 21 votes)

In each episode, with the guidance and help of Nev Schulman and Max Joseph, a hopeful romantic partner will go on an emotional journey to discover the truth about their significant other. Has that object of affection been telling the truth?

Kitchen Nightmares(2007)

TV-14
| 44min per episode | Reality-TV
3.6/5 (with 20 votes)

Chef Ramsay attempts to do the impossible: turn one ordinary and empty restaurant into the most popular, sought-after venue in town. There's no time for polite small talk as he embarks on his mission to turn around the fortunes of each restaurant in just one week and save them from their living nightmares.

America's Got Talent(2006)

1h 25min per episode | Reality-TV
2.9/5 (with 20 votes)

A weekly talent competition where an array of performers – from singers and dancers, to comedians and novelty acts – vie for a $1 million cash prize.

Storage Wars(2010)

21min per episode | Reality-TV
2.8/5 (with 20 votes)

When rent is not paid on a storage locker for three months in California, the contents can be sold by an auctioneer as a single lot of items in the form of a cash-only auction. The show follows professional buyers who purchase the contents based only on a five-minute inspection of what they can see from the door when it is open. The goal is to turn a profit on the merchandise.

Project Runway(2004)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.6/5 (with 20 votes)

Heidi Klum hosts a reality series where aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges' panel.

With Nina García, Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Zac Posen

Face Off(2011)

TV-14
| 40min per episode | Reality-TV
3.6/5 (with 20 votes)

In this competition/elimination series, special effects make-up artists participate in elaborate challenges for a grand prize and the honor of being Hollywood's next great effects artist.

MasterChef(2010)

1h 20min per episode | Reality-TV
3.5/5 (with 19 votes)

This hit cooking competition series sees award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay and other celebrity chefs put a group of contestants through a series of challenges and elimination rounds, in order to turn one home cook into a culinary master.

Street Outlaws(2013)

TV-14
| 1h per episode | Reality-TV
4.1/5 (with 18 votes)

From a 1969 Chevy Nova to a race-ready farm truck, the vehicles - and their drivers - come in all shapes and sizes and have one thing in common: the need for speed. But according to the STREET OUTLAWS of Oklahoma City - home to one of the largest undercover street racing rings in America – if you’re not on “the list,” you don’t matter. The “list” contains the 10 fastest street-racing cars in Oklahoma City and they are the best of the best. Not only will these guys will do anything -ANYTHING- to get ranked on this list, they’ll do whatever it takes to STAY ranked. Street racing comes first - before family, before friends and before work. The stakes are high and these drivers will put everything on the line to get to top, where there can only be one #1.

Judge Judy(1996)

TV-G
| 22min per episode | Reality-TV, Crime
2.6/5 (with 18 votes)

Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claims disputes within a simulated courtroom set. All parties involved must sign contracts, agreeing to arbitration under Sheindlin. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Judge Judy, which premiered on September 16, 1996, reportedly revitalized the court show genre. Only two other arbitration-based reality court shows preceded it, The People's Court and Jones and Jury. Sheindlin has been credited with introducing the "tough" adjudicating approach into the judicial genre, which has led to several imitators. The two court shows that outnumber Judge Judy's seasons, The People's Court and Divorce Court, have both lasted via multiple lives of production and shifting arbiters, making Sheindlin's span as a television arbiter the longest. By 2011, Judge Judy had been nominated 14 consecutive years for Daytime Emmy Awards without ever winning. On June 14, 2013, however, Judge Judy won its first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program on its 15th nomination. It is the first long-running, highly-rated court show to win an Emmy.

With Judith Sheindlin, Petri Hawkins-Byrd

Bigg Boss(2006)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
1.5/5 (with 17 votes)

The Indian version of Big Brother in which a number of contestants known as “housemates” live together isolated from the rest of the world yet under constant surveillance. Each week housemates and the public vote who leaves.

Jersey Shore(2009)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
1.8/5 (with 17 votes)

Jersey Shore is an American reality television series which ran on MTV from December 3, 2009 to December 20, 2012 in the United States. The series follows the lives of eight housemates spending their summer at the Jersey Shore in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Season 2 followed the cast escaping the cold northeast winter to Miami Beach, with Season 3 returning to the Jersey Shore. The fourth season, filmed in Italy, premiered on August 4, 2011. The show returned for a fifth season, at Seaside Heights on January 5, 2012. The fifth season finale aired on March 15, 2012. On March 19, 2012, MTV confirmed that the series would return for their sixth season. On August 30, 2012, MTV announced that the Jersey Shore would end after the sixth season, which premiered on October 4. The series finale aired on December 20, 2012. The show debuted amid large amounts of controversy regarding the use of the words "Guido/Guidette," portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes, and scrutiny from locals because the cast members were not residents of the area. The series garnered record ratings for MTV, making it the network's most viewed series telecast ever. The series' cast have also been credited with introducing unique lexicon and phrases into American popular culture.