Survivor vs. Big Brother vs. The Amazing Race

Which of CBS’ most popular reality shows is the best? Read on to see how they have been ranked. Photo in Public Domain.

The TV network, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), is the host of three of America’s major reality shows. These reality shows include Big Brother, Survivor, and The Amazing Race. Each of the shows have been running for nearly two decades. Both Big Brother and Survivor premiered in 2000, and The Amazing Race premiered a year later in 2001. Each of these reality shows have sparked an incredibly large fan base during their opening seasons, and they continue to get many viewers across America when they air. 

So which of the three reality shows is the superior one?

Survivor has been running for the longest period of time with a premier date of May 31, 2000, and a total of 41 seasons. The show has had the same host for all of its running time, Jeff Probst. With a cash prize of one million dollars, one can imagine that being a participant of the show can become pretty strenuous. A group of about 20 participants are split into tribes, and are tasked with becoming the last man standing after being stranded on an island for 39 days. The Survivor motto, “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast,” has become the perfect description of what the show is all about. 

Big Brother is the second longest running reality show of the three with a premier date of July 5, 2000, and a total of 22 seasons. The host of Big Brother has changed throughout the years, but it is currently Julie Chen. The prize money of Big Brother is exactly half what you win on Survivor at $500,000. Big Brother is not nearly as physically draining as Survivor or The Amazing Race, but it still takes some wit and major social game to be crowned the winner. Participants on Big Brother are placed inside an isolated house with a goal of building friendships and maintaining alliances to avoid being evicted from the house. Completely cut off from the outside world, those who choose to be a part of Big Brother must figure out a way to coexist with complete strangers to take home half a million dollars. 

Last, but not least, the shortest running show of the three is The Amazing Race. Premiering on September 5, 2000, and with 32 seasons, “The Race” has become a huge fan favorite. The host from the start, Phil Keoghan, has seen a number of couples race around the world to the finish line… literally. On The Amazing Race, teams of two have the goal of being the first team to finish the race. The race is split into twelve legs, with each leg being in a new city from anywhere around the world. The teams must complete some crazy adventurous tasks to obtain clues that will get them to a prize of one million dollars.

All three of these CBS reality shows have the quality to suck watchers in for different reasons, especially depending on your interests. But there is only one correct order to rank them, and here’s why:


Coming in first place is the longest running show of the three, Survivor. There are so many reasons to love the show, with its backstabs, betrayals, dominating athletes, and nonstop tribe drama, it’s hard to take your eyes off of the television. Reasons big and small, here’s why Survivor has taken the top spot:

The show has arguably changed the face of television. The show has an unscripted Lord of the Flies-esque aspect to it. American television had never seen anything like it. The creators of the show had no idea whether their “experiment” would succeed or fail, but the public was in awe of the idea. Survivor became an almost instant sensation with an incredible 51.7 million people watching Richard Hatch become the first Survivor ever. 

Despite that fear that the creators had of the show being a “one season wonder,” it instead launched an entire genre of reality TV and remains the most-viewed television show on Wednesday nights 21 years after its debut. While Big Brother focuses on a social game, and The Amazing Race focuses on a physical game, Survivor incorporates both. 

The show is one of television’s biggest mainstays that ignited the popularity of shows like The Amazing Race and Big Brother, so it surely deserves its spot at number one. 

Survivor is available to watch on Netflix (select seasons), Hulu (select seasons), Prime Video, and Paramount +.

The Amazing Race

In second place is The Amazing Race. Unlike Survivor and Big Brother, The Amazing Race, focuses solely on your navigational and physical skills, and not social game. 

The Race is fun, fast-paced, and allows America to see the world through the eyes of the race. While watching teams battle to the finish line is intriguing, the aspect of watches being able to learn more about cultures and local customs of some rare tourist stops is attributed to the specialness of the show. Like any other competition 

The Amazing Race has its fair share of petty behavior which contributes to the drama that people want to see in reality TV. The way the teams who are from all walks of life, either support or ignore each other throughout the race ranges can be admirable or extremely frustrating. Most of the excitement that comes with the show, and why people have been tuned in for years is that it offers an amazing look at the world and takes us on second hand adventures that most people only dream of. 

The Amazing Race is available to watch on Hulu, Prime Video, and Paramount +.

Big Brother

In last place is CBS’ Big Brother. Named after George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother is the slowest paced show out of three. 

Although it is still an incredibly intriguing show, as the housemates are continuously monitored with cameras and microphones, it is arguably the least exciting. Despite it being able to top the other two CBS reality shows, Big Brother has its must see aspects. The show mostly entertains viewers with its scandalous situations, confessions in the video diary room, and the participants’ cunning behavior. 

People who are into reality shows will argue that Big Brother is a binge worthy show; however, it is truly unmatched to its more intelligent CBS reality show peers. 

Big Brother is available to watch on Paramount +, and Prime Video.


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