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Reality television is a genre of television programming which presents unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, document actual events, and have ordinary people instead of professional actors. Although reality television has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term "reality television" is most commonly used to describe shows since 2000. Documentaries, news and sports shows are not called reality shows.
There are many different kinds of reality television shows, from game or quiz shows to surveillance-type shows, such as Big Brother.
Critics say that the term "reality television" is not accurate. Many shows portray a changed and highly influenced form of reality, with participants put in exotic locations or abnormal situations, sometimes told to act certain ways, and with events on screen sometimes changed by editing.
Types of reality television
- Documentary-style—watching people do their daily personal and professional activities
- Special living environment—People who did not know each other before the show must live together. They are often given tasks to complete together. Examples: The Real World, Road Rules
- Celebrity reality—A celebrity living his or her normal everyday life. Examples: The Anna Nicole Show, The Osbournes. Sometimes the celebrities are given a task. Examples: The Surreal Life, The Simple Life
- Professional activities—Professionals doing their day-to-day business at their jobs. Examples: COPS, Miami Ink, American Chopper
- Elimination/Game shows—Participants compete to win a prize, sometimes while living together. Example: The Amazing Race
- Dating-based competition—A person chooses one person to date out of a group of suitors. Examples: The Bachelor, Temptation Island
- Job search—Contestants compete to see who is the best at a certain skill. Examples: America's Next Top Model (for modeling), The Apprentice (for business skills), Hell's Kitchen (for cooking)
- Self-improvement/make-over—A person or group of people try to improve themselves or their lives. Home renovation—Improving homes. Examples: Changing Rooms, Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover:Home Edition
- Dating shows—People go on a date. Unlike dating competition shows which have the same contestants all season, dating shows have new people each episode. Example: Blind Date
- Talk shows—A host interviews people, often about strange or outrageous topics that will cause conflict on-screen. Examples: The Jerry Springer Show, Maury
- Hidden cameras—A hidden camera records random people in a staged situation. The situations are often meant to confuse, amuse or scare the person. Examples: Candid Camera, Punk'd, Scare Tactics
- Hoaxes—The show is a prank or trick on one or more cast members. They know that they are on a TV show, they just do not know the true nature of the show. Examples: The Joe Schmo Show, Invasion Iowa
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