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Highest-rated reality TV shows

Stacker Logo By Antonio Henriques of Stacker | Slide 1 of 100: Whether you're someone who lives for the drama of reality TV or more casually consider it an occasional guilty pleasure, its dominance can't be understated. Today nearly four out of every 10 people watch some form of reality TV. The trend started during the 1940s and 1960s, with shows like "Queen for a Day" and "The Dating Game" entertaining audiences and serving as early prototypes of what would become popular contest shows like "The Voice." But the genre transformed with "An American Family." A predecessor to powerhouse shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians," the 1973 documentary is considered the first reality series on American television. It follows the lives of an upper-middle-class family in Santa Barbara, California, and the drama that stemmed from the parents’ divorce attracted 10 million viewers at the height of its popularity. Over 40 years later, the genre is inescapable, with hundreds of reality shows making their debut in American homes and impacting pop culture. To help pick out the shows that stand out in this wide-ranging genre, we looked at IMDb data for shows with more than 1,000 votes and ranked by their user ratings. From dance-offs to communicating with animals, no topic has escaped reality TV’s grip. Who knows, along the way you may find your next show to indulge in.

Highest rated reality TV shows

Whether you're someone who lives for the drama of reality TV or more casually consider it an occasional guilty pleasure, its dominance can't be understated. Today nearly four out of every 10 people watch some form of reality TV. The trend started during the 1940s and 1960s, with shows like "Queen for a Day" and "The Dating Game" entertaining audiences and serving as early prototypes of what would become popular contest shows like "The Voice." But the genre transformed with "An American Family." A predecessor to powerhouse shows like "Keeping up with the Kardashians," the 1973 documentary is considered the first reality series on American television. It follows the lives of an upper-middle-class family in Santa Barbara, California, and the drama that stemmed from the parents’ divorce attracted 10 million viewers at the height of its popularity.

Over 40 years later, the genre is inescapable, with hundreds of reality shows making their debut in American homes and impacting pop culture. To help pick out the shows that stand out in this wide-ranging genre, we looked at IMDb data for shows with more than 1,000 votes and ranked by their user ratings. From dance-offs to communicating with animals, no topic has escaped reality TV’s grip. Who knows, along the way you may find your next show to indulge in.

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