Reality shows are known to jump-start careers, break hearts and turn ordinary people into household names. They can also serve as springboards for businesses (Shark Tank) or as adventures in scouting antiques (Pawn Stars). It’s likely you’ve watched at least one reality show in the past 20 years. Everyone has.
As a fan of the genre, you may regularly turn to specific channels to catch the latest installment of your favorite series. While Apple TV Plus or HBO Max — two brands known for prestige television — aren’t necessarily our first choices for getting your reality fix, plenty of other streaming services deliver the reality goods. Sometimes, though, it’s a challenge to keep up with all the shows and reality stars you’re interested in seeing.
Whether you watch reality shows for entertainment, design inspiration or educational purposes, these services offer enough to cover your tastes. Just be aware that not every season of your favorite show may be available to stream.
Read more: HBO Max to Max: New Subscription Plans Compared
Paramount Plus houses a wide variety of reality shows from CBS, VH1 and more. You can stream older and newer seasons of MTV shows such as Jersey Shore, The Challenge and The Hills. VH1 mainstays like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Love & Hip Hop are streaming on the platform, along with the popular CBS hits Survivor and Big Brother.
Paramount Plus also has a few reality originals, including The Real World: Homecoming and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars. Fans will also find titles from CMT (The Last Cowboy) and Paramount Network releases such as Lip Sync Battle, Ink Master and Bar Rescue. Because there’s a designated “Reality” tab on Paramount Plus, it’s easy to find each title in one central location.
The service costs $5 per month for the ad-supported version and $10 a month for ad-free.
A giant in the realm of unscripted programming, Discovery Plus is home to some of the genre’s most recognized brands. HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, TLC, Travel Channel, Magnolia Network, Animal Planet, ID, Lifetime and several others are part of the service. In total, there are 14 networks with content on Discovery Plus, which we laid out in a list here. In May, viewers will find Discovery favorites on Max, the rebranded streaming service that replaces HBO Max.
Multiple subgenres of reality TV available on the platform will have you bouncing from paranormal investigations to fishing expeditions to foodie competitions. And if you’re into celebrities like the Kardashians, Tony Hawk or Martha Stewart, they show up as guests, clients and contestants on various networks.
90 Day Fiancé fans can stay up to date with every episode of all the franchise’s spinoffs. Viewers can also stream every iteration of House Hunters and Flip or Flop, as well as follow Chip and Joanna Gaines’ offerings from HGTV to Magnolia Network. Discovery Plus also has exclusive originals like 90 Day: The Single Life and Ghost Adventures: House Calls.
As with other services, however, some seasons are missing for certain shows. Married at First Sight has 16 seasons, but only five are available on Discovery Plus. Searching is easy, and you can click on a network or type in a title or cast member’s name to find a series.
At $5 a month, Discovery Plus is a bargain for those who love to skip around the reality TV landscape. Scroll through gold mining ventures, alien research and custom motorcycles along with cupcake tutorials and educational romps with dogs.
Peacock offers NBC’s reality slate, including primetime favorites The Voice and America’s Got Talent, but that’s not all. Bravo’s conveyor belt of unscripted series lives on Peacock too, with hits like The Real Housewives franchise, Top Chef, Married to Medicine, Below Deck and Project Runway. Digging around, I again found that not every show is currently available to binge. For example, there are only three seasons of Project Runway on Peacock now.
Fox’s reality picks are also on the platform, including Hell’s Kitchen, Divorce Court, MasterChef and The Masked Singer. Shows from entertainment channel E! such as Botched can be streamed here too. What about originals? The Real Housewives of Miami and Below Deck Down Under may attract fans of Bravo-lebrities, but Snoop Dogg and Maya Rudolph are just a couple of well-knowns hosting their own original Peacock reality series.
But there’s a catch with this streaming service. Peacock users with free accounts can only access a limited number of episodes. You must have one of the service’s paid subscriptions — which start at $5 a month — to watch full seasons.
Hulu harvests much of its catalog from traditional networks like ABC, Fox, E!, VH1, BET, A&E and more. But this has disadvantages. One of them is that full seasons aren’t available for every series. While it has older seasons of Lifetime shows like Married at First Sight, current seasons don’t air on Hulu, so you can’t watch episodes the next day. Since NBC moved its content to Peacock, Hulu users can no longer stream shows from Bravo and other NBCUniversal-owned networks unless you have a live TV subscription.
For Fox shows such as The Masked Singer or MasterChef Junior, however, current episodes and full seasons are both available. And you can still find popular titles in Hulu’s catalog such as Shark Tank, American Idol, Hoarders and Storage Wars, as well as Hulu originals like The Kardashians.
Hulu keeps its reality lineup well-organized with a dedicated tab on the app. For the basic $8 subscription, you can take your pick from an assortment of channels.
During the past five years, Netflix has been gradually building its platter of reality fare. Ultimate Beastmaster was its first release, but the streamer’s made an imprint in dating and cooking entertainment. The Great British Baking Show and Is It Cake? have become hits with viewers, and series such as Love Is Blind, The Circle and Too Hot to Handle often become hot topics on the internet. However, food and romance aren’t the only two areas that Netflix covers in the reality world. Home improvement, mindfulness, travel and international releases are among the categories you’ll find on the service.
Originals Selling Sunset and Bling Empire give viewers a look inside luxurious lifestyles and real estate while Floor is Lava and Bullsh*t the Game Show put a different spin on… game shows. There’s also a row of titles described as “rugged” that features jail-themed docuseries, a peek into the custom vehicle industry, or unique jobs like funeral directors. Netflix’s monthly cost — which runs from $7 up to $20 — is significantly higher than other services.
The majority of Netflix’s reality slate is made up of originals like Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and Nailed It, but a sprinkling of licensed series such as Old Enough and Tiny House Nation are also on the platform. Whatever you do, do yourself a favor and skip the dating-in-a-creature-mask weirdness of Sexy Beasts.
How we chose these reality TV streaming services
Other streaming services such as Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, Prime and HBO Max offer high quality entertainment, but when it comes to reality TV, scope and preference is key. Though we looked at their reality rosters, the platforms on this list have large catalogs to offer for established franchises, new releases and originals.
Netflix may not be top of mind for this genre, but according to Nielsen, the streamer has found huge popularity with some of its unscripted titles. Specifically, Selling Sunset, Love is Blind and The Great British Baking Show have performed very well. For that reason, Netflix edged out rivals like Prime and Disney Plus. I also examined Parrot Analytics statistics between 2020 and 2022 and found that shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, Shark Tank, The Voice and Survivor are consistently in the top rankings in terms of audience demand.
Reality TV streaming services FAQs
How do I sift through the subgenres of reality TV?
It’s a matter of preference. Do you prefer cooking tutorials and competitions? Are you into rich people’s lifestyles or everyday families? What about doing deep dives into paranormal research or tough jobs? Want to root for an underdog to win? Each service on this list offers a variety of unscripted content that doesn’t just stick to one format.
Get to know each channel where mainstream staples and fan favorites like The Voice, RuPaul’s Drag Race and Food Network shows can be found. But also look up niche series related to your interests. There’s usually something for everyone, including veterinarians who specialize in dermatology and experts in urban legends and curses.
Are there any free services with reality shows?
Yes. Free streaming services Tubi, Pluto and Crackle have a selection of reality TV series if you’re in the mood for older or newer releases. Tubi carries Real Housewives offshoots set in Vancouver, Sydney and Durban along with Fear Factor, Beat Shazam, Gordon Ramsay’s series and 2022’s Joe Millionaire. Scroll through Tubi’s reality tab to see its entire catalog.
Pluto also has a dedicated reality section where you can stream shows like Operation Repo, Jersey Shore, Storage Wars or Rescue 911. Crackle has a string of recognizable and obscure titles such as Kitchen Nightmares, The Mediator (2022) and Celebrity Sweat.
What about streaming on network sites and apps?
If you’re not watching reality TV on cable or broadcast networks, then you may wonder about streaming your shows on an app or website. But ABC, Bravo, VH1, Fox and other networks require you to sign in with a paid TV provider in order to access content on their sites and apps. ABC urges viewers to sign up for Hulu to stream anything under the brand’s umbrella. Therefore, we encourage cord-cutters to roll with one of these streaming services instead.