Love it or hate it, Reality TV looks like it's here to stay, but it is not the
new phenomenon that many imagine. In fact, Reality TV in the USA (as it
most resembles the current day format) dates back all the way to 1973 when PBS
American Family which followed the Loud family for seven months (300
hours of film was shot of which only 12 made it to TV) - 10 million viewers
tuned in to watch the marital breakup of Bill and Pat Loud and the coming-out of
their son Lance.
In fact, the history of the genre goes back even further to programs such as CBS's Wanted (a precursor to America's Most Wanted) which went on air in 1955; and before that was the grand-daddy of all reality programs - Candid Camera. Candid Camera started as a radio show, Candid Microphone, in the 1940s, and transferred to the small screen in the 1950s.
This article was originally published in August 2006, and has been updated for the
July 2007 paperback release.
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