The 10 Greatest Reality-Competition Show Hosts

Ten years after Survivor first aired, the craze of reality-competition still hasn't plateaued in terms of sheer ingenuity or fervor. What's just begun, however, is formal appreciation of the reality-competition host. The Emmys began awarding reality emcees only in 2008, meaning an entire televised profession is unaware of its greatest practitioners. That's why Movieline is stepping in to rank the 10 greatest reality-competition hosts working today, from chef skewerers to tribal council tribunals. Our No. 1 gives an unforgettable performance.


10. Padma Lakshmi

When Lakshmi took over Katie Lee Joel's role as Top Chef empress in season two, the world sighed satisfactorily into its truffle mac-'n-cheese. Padma's a smooth-talking critic and game manipulator of whimpering sous-chef fates.


9. Cat Deeley

The So You Think You Can Dance hostess never wavers in her slick enunciation and competitor sympathies. In fact, the one label Deeley always warrants is "dependable." Now that she's added hosting gigs on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and GSN's 20Q to her canon, she's primed to vault further into America's need for solid masters of ceremonies.


8. Tyra Banks

"You're still in the running towards becoming America's Next Top Model" is Ginsbergian doggerel compared to other reality trademarks, but Tyra consistently makes long-winded catchphrases and judgments work. Now in it's 344th cycle (approx.), America's Next Top Model needs Tyra if its going to maintain the patina of believability that coats this sheer, hollering insanity.


7. Phil Keoghan

Keoghan's man's-manliness punctuates The Amazing Race with an aloof touch. Phil's not greeting you with unicorn whinnies and ice cream trucks when you find him at Angkor Wat -- he nods like a lieutenant colonel and grants a terse acknowledgment of a job well done. He reminds you that you're a fighter -- not just a camera-ready blubberer with spinoff potential.

6. Gordon Ramsay


Hosts like Gordon Ramsay who hate most contestants are divine -- and that's just the amuse bouche. Gordon Ramsay's towel-slamming totalitarianism makes Hell's Kitchen an endorphin blitz for the home viewer, as well as a hefty slice of the underworld for the competing chefs. Delectable always.

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  • NP says:

    You read my mind! I shit you not, I was riding the subway home this evening thinking about how great RuPaul is as a reality show host. She has so much personality, and you get such a sense that she empathizes with the contestants (for obvious reasons), but also wears other hats (mentor, soothsayer, etc.). My train of thought actually started here though: "I love that she can have a catchphrase like 'Don't fuck it up!' because that would never fly on.. just about any other show."

  • milessilverberg says:

    Great list, and I totally agree with #1. When Ru hosted the mock-Match Game in this season's third episode, it suddenly occurred to me that Ru may be the only person on the planet who could host a Match Game remake and make it work. Ru would set just the right tone so that the answers would still have to be cutesy-dirty instead of graphic/explicit, which is what would happen if any garden-variety comic hosted and tried to maintain control over the taste level. RU could also advance society a little by appearing in drag some days, and in civilian attire on others.
    I'm glad to see that others are starting to appreciate Drag Race; it shouldn't be underestimated.

  • burlivesleftnut says:

    I just stopped in to make sure Cat made the list. *disengaging wrath*

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    Disagree. The mark of a great host is one who runs the show without making it all about themselves (I'm lookin' at you Tyra, Gordon, Padma and the ego of Jeff Probst, as big as any Survivor island). Bergeron is a host for the ages, he could have done well at any point in TV history, Keoghan gets props for being the calm amid the storm.

  • Mike the Movie Tyke says:

    (and the mark of good commenter is to post it only once! Don't know wtf happened there, I swear I clicked it a single time!)

  • Lucy says:

    I refuse to live in a world where Jeff Probst is not considered the best reality host. So I guess I just left.

  • Citizen Bitch says:

    Tough decision between Ru and Jeff, but this is Ru's "NOW." Awesome job.

  • Nina says:

    Where the hell is Chris Harrison? The guy from the Bachelor/Bachelorette, one of the longest running reality franchises? He's hilarious.
    Ryan Seacrest, really? He's the most annoying man on the planet.