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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."Reality television 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 countries. In the United States, various channels have retooled themselves to focus on reality programs, most famously MTV, which began in 19... ()

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Keeping Up with the Kardashians(2007)

45min per episode | Reality-TV
1.8/5 (with 59 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, ...

Survivor(2000)

TV-PG
| 42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 59 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.

Big Brother(2000)

45min per episode | Reality-TV
2.1/5 (with 57 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 37 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 36 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)

TV-PG
| 30min per episode | Comedy, Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 35 votes)

Go inside the colorful world of the pawn business. At the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, generations of the Harrison family run the family business, and there’s clashing and camaraderie every step of the way.

With Corey Harrison

America's Got Talent(2006)

1h 25min per episode | Reality-TV
2.6/5 (with 33 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.

Ghost Adventures(2008)

TV-14
| 45min per episode | Documentary, Mystery, Reality-TV
3.5/5 (with 33 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.

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.

Gold Rush(2011)

TV-PG
| 45min per episode | Documentary, Reality-TV
3.2/5 (with 31 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?

RuPaul's Drag Race(2009)

TV-14
| 43min per episode | Reality-TV
3.8/5 (with 29 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.

Jackass(2000)

30min per episode | Reality-TV, Comedy, Action & Adventure
3.1/5 (with 29 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.

With Johnny Knoxville

American Idol(2002)

1h 25min per episode | Reality-TV
2.4/5 (with 29 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

The Amazing Race(2001)

TV-PG
| 42min per episode | Reality-TV
3.3/5 (with 28 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.

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.

Love & Hip Hop Atlanta(2012)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.6/5 (with 27 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 26 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.

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, ...

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?

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 21 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.

With Gordon Ramsay

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
4.0/5 (with 19 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.

Jersey Shore(2009)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
1.8/5 (with 18 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.

With Pauly D, Snooki, Michael Sorrentino, JWoww, Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi Giancola, ...

The X Factor(2004)

1h per episode | Reality-TV
2.2/5 (with 18 votes)

The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent, contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. Created by Simon Cowell, the show began in September 2004 and has since aired annually from August/September through to December. The show is produced by FremantleMedia's Thames and Cowell's production company SYCOtv. It is broadcast on the ITV network in the United Kingdom and TV3 in Ireland, with spin-off behind-the-scenes show The Xtra Factor screened on ITV2. It is the originator of the international The X Factor franchise. The X Factor was devised as a replacement for the highly successful Pop Idol, which was put on indefinite hiatus after its second series, largely because Cowell, who was a judge on Pop Idol, wished to launch a show to which he owned the television rights. The perceived similarity between the two shows later became the subject of a legal dispute. The "X Factor" of the title refers to the undefinable "something" that makes for star quality. The original judging panel was Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh. Dannii Minogue joined the panel in series 4, and Cheryl Cole replaced Osbourne in series 5 after her departure. After series 7, Cowell and Cole both left to judge the American version of the show whilst Minogue left the show due to commitments on Australia's Got Talent. Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow then joined Walsh on the judging panel for series 8, though Rowland announced she would not return for series 9 and was replaced by Nicole Scherzinger. Osbourne later returned in 2013, replacing Contostavlos. Since 2007, the show has been presented by Dermot O'Leary, who replaced original host Kate Thornton. The show is split into a series of phases, following the contestants from auditions through to the grand finale. In the original televised audition phase of the show, contestants sang in an audition room in front of just the judges. From series 6 onwards, auditionees sing on a stage in front of the judges and a live audience. Successful auditionees go through to "bootcamp" and then to "judges' houses", where judges narrow down the acts in their category down to three or four acts to mentor for the live shows, where the public vote for their favourite acts following weekly live performances by the contestants.

Ex On The Beach(2014)

40min per episode | Drama, Reality-TV
1.7/5 (with 18 votes)

What happens when eight smoking hot single guys and girls arrive in paradise for a dream holiday of sun, sea, sex and good times? Well if only life was that simple, because just as things get off to a sizzling start, MTV bring in their Exes to break up the party - one by one! As the eight original cast are left wondering "whose Ex is next?", the trouble in paradise continues to thicken as love triangles become tangled webs of lust, love and loathing. Among the sexy cast is feisty Geordie Shore star, Vicky Pattison, who with her very public breakup and recent string of new guys, is in for one hell of a surprise (or two!), when she's reunited with her Ex On The Beach.

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