PFI Rating: Which Reality Shows Attract Passionate Fans?

Reality programming is a cultural force, recently accounting for 8 of the top 10 rated shows in broadcast television. To measure the connection that reality shows have with their audiences, we used E-Poll’s Passionate Fan Index (PFI).

Reality Show Passionate Fans

The PFI is a comprehensive measurement with a formula that combines 12 key attributes from E-Score Programs and makes it an invaluable tool for networks and advertisers looking to predict a show’s future success.

Previously, we have looked at broadcast shows, cable shows, entertainment franchises and different types of brands through the PFI framework. Now we have identified reality shows in broadcast, cable and streaming with the highest PFI scores.

  • The top 10 reality shows with the highest PFI are roughly balanced between competitive and non-competitive shows (6/4). The top spot goes to a competitive show in RuPaul’s Drag All Stars, which also scores highest in Rated Excellent.
  • Compared to all program types, reality shows are considerably more Informative, Easy to Join and Family Friendly.
  • Of the two main types of reality programs, non-competitive shows are generally more Emotionally Involving, Informative, and Intriguing, while competitive shows are generally more Exciting, Family Friendly and Funny.

Classic Reality and New Kids on the Block

Several new reality shows have made a big splash this season, adding to well established names in reality. We listed some of the longest running reality programs on the air along with some of this season’s breakout reality shows to see how their PFI scores match up.

  • One of this year’s hit shows, The Masked Singer, is off to a promising start with a lead in PFI among all other singing competition shows.
  • Although Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s The Titan Games has pulled ahead of American Ninja Warrior in both PFI and Make a Special Effort to Watch, the long-running classic still edges out the newcomer in One of My Favorites.
  • While still a promotional juggernaut, The Bachelor just wrapped up its 23rd season scoring a 79 PFI, which is similar to its score from last year, but down ten points from our PFI measurement two seasons ago. See The Bachelor’s extended 13 year history in the chart above.

Celebrities of Reality

Reality shows give an impression of a “real” view of their hosts and characters. This helps fans develop strong bonds with those personalities and turns them into bigger stars and marketing powerhouses. We looked at some reality show stars with above-average PFI scores to see what makes these celebrities stand out.

  • Netflix’s revival of Queer Eye has enjoyed recent success thanks in part to Tan France who boasts well-above-average scores in Approachable (43) and Funny (48). His Stylish score (62) is among the highest for all male celebrities in our database.
  • Ellen DeGeneres took her talk show success to reality television with Ellen’s Game of Games (PFI 112) helping boost the show’s early success with her high scores in Appeal (62), Funny (59) and Good Energy (42).
  • Despite her relatively low Awareness, Marie Kondo from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo boast high scores in Appeal (59), Good Energy (37), and Influential (29), all attributes that can positively influence viewers of her show.
  • Children of the late Steve Irwin, Bindi and Robert Irwin, follow in their father’s footsteps in Crikey! It’s the Irwins (PFI 148) boasting an impressive 72 and 69 in Appeal, respectively.


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