2010-2011 reality shows, ranked in order of popularity

During the 2010-2011 TV season, reality TV shows did well, comprising half of the top 10 shows among viewers ages 18 to 49. Reality TV gave us the most-popular (American Idol) and the least-popular shows (Shedding for the Wedding) this year.

EW’s James Hibberd compiled a list of all broadcast TV shows and their 18-49 rating, which includes those people who watched on a DVR within one week of the broadcast. I’ve stripped that list of the scripted TV shows, which gives us this list of reality TV shows, ranked by popularity.

The numbers that follow the colon are the percentage of people ages 18 to 49 who watched, on average. So, 8.8 percent of adults that age watched American Idol, while 4.3 percent of that group tuned in to Survivor last fall.

After #31, there are no more ranks listed, probably because there are so many ties–and some of these shows tied with a scripted show or other reality shows. To see how they compared to your favorite scripted shows, see the full list:

1. American Idol, Wednesday performance: 8.8
3. American Idol, Thursday results: 8.0
4. The Voice: 5.6
6. Dancing with the Stars, Monday performance: 4.8
10. Survivor Nicaragua: 4.3
18. Amazing Race 17: 3.8
Survivor Redemption Island: 3.8
Dancing with the Stars, Tuesday results: 3.8
25. The Bachelor: 3.6
28. Undercover Boss: 3.4
30. Hell’s Kitchen, Tuesdays: 3.3
31. Celebrity Apprentice: 3.2
Biggest Loser 10: 3.1
Biggest Loser 11: 3.1
Amazing Race 18: 3.0
Hell’s Kitchen, Wednesdays: 3.0
Secret Millionaire: 2.9
Extreme Makeover Home Edition: 2.3
Wipeout: 2.3
Minute to Win It: 2.2
Kitchen Nightmares: 1.8
The Apprentice: 1.7
America’s Next Top Model 15: 1.7
America’s Next Great Restaurant: 1.5
Who Do YOu Think You Are?: 1.4
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: 1.4
Shark Tank: 1.4
Skating with the Stars: 1.3
Supernanny: 1.2
America’s Next Top Model: 1.2
School Pride: .7
Shedding for the Wedding: .5

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.