Tube Talk. The ‘states’ of reality TV

By Paula Hendrickson

[dropcap]Whether[/dropcap] you want to admit it or not, you probably have a favorite reality show or two. Some people like celebrity-centered docusoaps like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, while others might prefer quest-focused shows like Finding Bigfoot or my brother’s personal favorite, The Curse of Oak Island. I tend to go with reality competition series like Face Off and The Great British Baking Show that don’t encourage sabotage or betrayal of fellow competitors.

Maybe you’re inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Shark Tank while your best friend watches Hoarders and My 600-Pound Life to motivate them to burn more calories by cleaning their closets. Or perhaps you love the table-flipping, self-created drama found on every iteration of the Real Housewives franchise.

There really is a reality show—or three—for every taste.

Need proof? Just look at the results of’s second annual report that breaks down the nation’s favorite reality shows, state-by-state:’s team used analyzed Google Trends data to pinpoint which reality shows are the most popular in each state.

Some results make sense. Little People, Big World is the most popular reality show in the Roloff’s home state of Oregon. The Las Vegas-based Pawn Stars is tops in Nevada. And Mob Wives tops the list in New York State.

As for Illinois? Apparently, Dancing With the Stars is our collective favorite reality show. It’s also tops in Indiana and Iowa. (I would have guessed American Pickers would be Iowa’s favorite reality show, but I didn’t do the research.) If Dancing with the Stars is so big here, it must be a guilty pleasure, since I don’t know anyone who openly admits to watching it anymore.

Cross the border into Wisconsin, and the number one reality show is The Bachelor—influenced no doubt by there being a bachelor from Wisconsin this year— while Wisconsin’s neighbors in Minnesota and Michigan seem to prefer its spin-off, Bachelor in Paradise.

While I occasionally watch a handful of the shows that topped this year’s list, none of the reality shows I watch regularly made the cut. Better luck next year, I guess. R.

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