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We Found the Most Popular Reality TV Shows

Which state wants to compete in The Amazing Race and which took sides in Vanderpump Rules? Check out our findings!

Looking for something to watch this fall? With the writers and actors on strike in Hollywood, reality TV is taking over the airwaves. If you want to be ready for the coming wave of programming, you might want to check out the most popular reality TV shows in your state. Lucky for you, we’ve got them all compiled here with a handy guide on where to watch them, too.

How do the shows rank? Well, we started with a list of the top 26 reality shows in the U.S., narrowed it down to 10 shows, and then used data from Google Trends to examine the search volume for each show. Some were surviving as big hits and others are still running their amazing race. But the top dog—err, shark? Yeah, that’s a no-brainer investment.

Time to pitch to the sharks and see where each show stands!

Most states have a Shark Tank in their living room

Is it weird that it’s called Shark Tank and yet has no sharks or tanks? That doesn’t matter to most Americans because Shark Tank is the top reality show in 25 states—exactly half of the U.S. No other show comes even close, so the sharks should be happy they made the right deal.

Big Brother tops the list in 10 states across the U.S.

  • The show, based in part on George Orwell’s novel 1984, follows a group of contestants living under constant surveillance together in a house as they get voted out.
  • The show has the most support in the middle of the country, with states like Indiana, Nebraska, Ohio, and Oklahoma ranking it at the top.

The CBS staple Survivor is the No. 3 most searched reality TV show in the U.S., topping the list in six states.

  • The reality adventure competition is one of the oldest on the list, debuting in 2000 alongside Big Brother.
  • Hawaii is a big fan of Survivor … maybe they’re looking for ways to vote people off their island?

While most states pick one of the top three reality shows—Shark Tank, Big Brother, and Survivor—there are some outliers that picked up a few states along the way.

  • The Amazing Race found its fans in Maine, Montana, and New Mexico.
  • Alaska and South Dakota are big fans of singing competition The Voice.
  • And even after the affair that was #Scandoval, only two states picked Vanderpump Rules as their top reality show: Nevada and Vermont.

Finally, Top Chef finds its culinary winner in Wisconsin, which may be because the next season of the show is coming to the Badger State. And Queer Eye has the most fans in Wyoming. Now, it may be a coincidence, but Tan France of the Fab Five has family (on his husband’s side) in the Cowboy State.

Last year, when we surveyed 1,000 Americans, we found that America’s top reality shows were Big Brother and Survivor. Both shows still rank in the top 10 here, but they didn’t have high search volume on a state-by-state basis. But, as you’ll see, they are still very popular on TikTok and for TV viewership.

Top reality shows by state

State Reality Show
Alabama Shark Tank
Alaska The Voice
Arizona Shark Tank
Arkansas Big Brother
California Shark Tank
Colorado Shark Tank
Connecticut Shark Tank
Delaware Big Brother
Florida Shark Tank
Georgia Shark Tank
Hawaii Survivor
Idaho Survivor
Illinois Shark Tank
Indiana Big Brother
Iowa Shark Tank
Kansas Big Brother
Kentucky Big Brother
Louisiana Big Brother
Maine The Amazing Race
Maryland Shark Tank
Massachusetts Shark Tank
Michigan Shark Tank
Minnesota Shark Tank
Mississippi Shark Tank
Missouri Survivor
Montana The Amazing Race
Nebraska Big Brother
Nevada Vanderpump Rules
New Hampshire Shark Tank
New Jersey Shark Tank
New Mexico The Amazing Race
New York Shark Tank
North Carolina Shark Tank
North Dakota Shark Tank
Ohio Big Brother
Oklahoma Big Brother
Oregon Survivor
Pennsylvania Shark Tank
Rhode Island Shark Tank
South Carolina Shark Tank
South Dakota The Voice
Tennessee Shark Tank
Texas Shark Tank
Utah Survivor
Vermont Vanderpump Rules
Virginia Shark Tank
Washington Survivor
West Virginia Big Brother
Wisconsin Top Chef
Wyoming Queer Eye
Alabama Shark Tank

Most popular reality TV shows

While Shark Tank easily rules the U.S. with a whopping 25 states ranking as their favorite show, we should note that when we first ran the numbers nationally, Survivor was allowed to stay on the island.

So, how did that happen? Well, before running each of the top 10 shows through Google Trends to figure out which states love which shows, we looked at the popular shows nationally by scientifically examining TikTok views, Emmy nominations, TV viewership, and user IMDb ratings.

Almost across the board, Survivor was at the top in each category—although RuPaul’s Drag Race handily beat it in Emmy nominations, and Big Brother came out in front for the TikTok score. But at the end of the day, Survivor beat its closest competitor by nearly 20 points!

As you may have guessed, our top 10 includes some familiar faces:

  1. Survivor
  2. Big Brother
  3. RuPaul’s Drag Race
  4. The Amazing Race
  5. Queer Eye
  6. Shark Tank
  7. Welcome to Wrexham
  8. Top Chef
  9. The Voice
  10. Vanderpump Rules

Some other exciting callouts about the top U.S. reality TV shows:

  • Big Brother ran the house in TikTok with the most TikTok views out of any reality TV show, reaching over 29 billion! (In comparison, The Voice had only 202 million views.)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race snagged the most Emmy nominations. Ru garnered nominations for show and host, along with seven more nominations across categories.
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race also has the highest-rated IMDb user score, with Welcome to Wrexham following close behind.
  • It’s also no surprise that broadcast favorites Big Brother and Survivor have the highest TV viewership. Plus, both of them air on CBS.

The top 10 overall list is an interesting encapsulation of America’s obsession with reality TV and shows how some things don’t change—Survivor and Big Brother both launched in 2000—but Americans are still open to new things, like Welcome to Wrexham, which premiered in 2022.

Where to Watch?

Now that you know which shows are the most popular in each state, you’re probably wondering where you can stream so that you don’t feel left behind in the reality TV conversation. Don’t worry—we get it, and we’re here to help!

While the top reality shows are spread out across channels and streaming services, the big ones—Shark Tank, Big Brother, Survivor, and The Amazing Race—are all on broadcast and returning this fall.

And if you can’t wait that long—no fear! All of the top reality shows are streaming right now. So what are you waiting for? Get your drag outfit ready, sing for the spinning chairs, and buy a Welsh football team ’cause reality show fall is here!


The team at came up with the list of 26 reality TV shows by examining viewership, Emmy nominations, and other lists of popular shows. We narrowed down the list by rating each show on a 100-point scale: 35 points for TikTok viewership and popularity, 30 points for Emmy nominations, 17.5 points for TV viewership, and 17.5 points for IMDb star ratings. This ranking system allowed us to see how the industry and viewers regard each show.

The top 10 shows were then fed through Google Trends to collect search volume data from the past 12 months (8/21/2022 – 8/22/2023). The show with the most search volume in each state was deemed that state’s “favorite”.


This content was produced by and is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with any property mentioned.

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