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California’s Glam Slam: Top US States to Produce Reality TV Stars

Step into the captivating realm of reality TV, where overnight sensations are born, and celebrities emerge. The unscripted drama and raw emotions captivate hearts, as ordinary people can embark on an exciting reality TV journey. From intense game shows such as Survivor to sizzling dating shows like Too Hot To Handle, the entertainment industry leaves no stone unturned, with participants from all corners of the country. In the United States, a staggering 79% of adult TV viewers indulge in reality television, making it an increasingly popular ticket to stardom nationwide.

But have you ever been curious as to which US state produces the most reality TV stars? We used IMDb data to uncover the most popular shows, ranging from Vanderpump Rules to Alone. We then explored the stars’ origins across the country.

Here’s our key findings:

  • California is the ultimate reality TV state, followed by New York, with Florida and Texas tied for third
  • At the tail end of the rankings, North Dakota and West Virginia are the states with the least interest of being on reality TV
  • LA, NYC and Chicago take the spotlight as the top 3 reality cities

Which state reigns as the reality TV star capital?

California’s Glam Slam

Overall, being on reality TV is clearly a nationwide interest. However, California steals the show as the ultimate reality celebrity state, boasting nearly 20% of all reality stars such as Raquel ‘Rocky’ Dakota and Cely Vazquez. So, if you are looking to work on a glamorous yacht on Below Deck or find your match on Love Island, then California is your best bet. New York comes in second with 11% share of the celebrity spotlight, whilst Florida and Texas claim the 3rd spot with a tie.

Still amongst the top, Illinois stands strong as the 4th biggest reality TV celebrity state being hometown to celebs such as The Vixen and Jade from RuPaul’s Drag Race. While a star-studded tie for 5th place includes: Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Of course, reality TV might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that rings true for North Dakota and West Virginia, both at the bottom of our list with no reality stars being from those states in our data. Delaware follows closely behind with a mere 0.01% representation.

Glimmering Hollywood: The US city that shines with star power

Peering deeper into the data, we had a look to see which cities birthed the most reality TV stars.

LA claims the throne as the greatest reality city, reigning with its Hollywood celebs and movie industry, while NYC and Chicago eagerly pursue in the chase for stardom in second and third place.

Reality TV: Is it the red-hot ticket to fame and fortune?

According to Gitnux, 80% of participants in reality shows report long-lasting benefits from the experience. It can serve as an ideal launchpad for future careers, be it in singing, acting or venturing into business. For example, with an impressive Instagram following exceeding 800,000, Rhonda Paul from Too Hot To Handle has leveraged her platform to establish her own business, Pure Luxx Beauty.

In addition, Elizabeth Rowe triumphed in Is it Cake? Season 2, pocketing a total of $90,000 and showcased her award-winning business, thelondonbaker.com. While winners of Survivor take home a whopping $1,000,000! These life-changing opportunities fuel the immense popularity of reality TV.

Reality TV stars shine coast to coast!

As you can see, reality TV thrives across the US, gathering stars from all over the country. While California takes the lead, the top 5 ranks welcomed unexpected contenders, such as Illinois and Georgia. This remained true for when we looked at the ultimate reality cities with LA, NYC and Chicago being the top 3.

Undoubtedly, reality TV can provide a whole host of benefits and the craze definitely doesn’t look like it will be slowing down anytime soon, with more seasons and shows on the horizon. So, where will the next reality tv superstar be born?


Using Imdb data we collected the top 10 most popular reality TV shows in the United States over the last 10 years. We then researched every contestant/cast member in the shows (837 reality TV stars in total), as well as which state they are from. In doing so, we were able to determine which states produce the most (and fewest) reality TV stars.

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