2011-2012’s reality shows, ranked by ratings popularity

Despite the never-ending flood of new and returning series, the 2011-2012 television season has officially concluded, and now it’s time for the results show. Once again, the most-popular reality show in the country is American Idol, though it has fallen to number two, behind Sunday Night Football.

Of the seven shows in the top 20, six are singing competitions, and the other is Survivor South Pacific. The least-popular network reality show: The CW’s Remodeled, produced by Big Brother‘s Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan.

TV By the Numbers published a ranked list of all network shows based on their popularity among people ages 18 to 49, the best public indicator of their value to networks.

I removed all the scripted and other shows, leaving only the ones that matter: reality TV shows. As you look at it, keep in mind that ratings matter most in time slots, so a low-rated show here might perform very well for a network in its time slot. But it’s also interesting to see how well shows performed overall: Despite airing against X Factor and American Idol, Survivor‘s fall season remained a top-20 show, while the spring season was 29th.

2. American Idol performance
3. The Voice performance
6. American Idol results
10. X Factor performance
15. X Factor results
16. The Voice results
20. Survivor South Pacific
28. America’s Got Talent (Mondays)
29. Survivor One World
30. Dancing with the Stars
33. Hell’s Kitchen (Monday at 9)
35. America’s Got Talent (Tuesdays)
38. Hell’s Kitchen (Mondays)
40. Amazing Race 19
46. Dancing with the Stars
47. Amazing Race 20
50. The Bachelor
54. Fear Factor
65. Biggest Loser 13
66. Biggest Loser 12
72. The Bachelorette
74. American Ninja Warrior
78. Celebrity Apprentice
79. Celebrity Wife Swap
86. Mobbed
86. Undercover Boss
106. Wipeout (Thursdays)
108. The Sing-Off
109. Shark Tank
111. Fashion Star
117. America’s Got Talent (Tuesday at 8)
119. Kitchen Nightmares
124. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
127. Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
131. COPS
150. America’s Next Top Model 11
152. Who Do You Think You Are?
164. Wipeout (Saturdays)
170. Shark Tank (Saturdays)
179. America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion
189. America’s Next Top Model 11 (encores)
192. America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion (encores)
193. Remodeled

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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.