The history of reality TV started in 1973 when PBS introduced “An American Family” to its audiences. It was a series based on a middle-class family known as the Louds, who resided in California.
The man with a different idea
Craig Gilbert, the producer, had a different outlook on how he wanted to film the family. He knew showing the audience the struggles of an American household will have a greater impact than creating artificial drama. His aim was to bring attention to the real problems people face in society.
There were seven members in the household, and the producers took seven months of video before converting them into twelve episodes of one hour each. The reason PBS could experiment, unlike other network giants, is that the advertisers wouldn’t pressure them.
Reality TV starts to go mainstream.
It was a hit among the audience, who absolutely loved the series. However, for several years, there was no other type of reality TV until MTV introduced “The Real World” in 1992. In this show, a couple of adults had to live together in a house, and the network documented everything which took place.
Enter Big Brother, a show which records competitors who live together in a house, and the last one standing wins a substantial financial reward. It was extremely popular among the masses, and the original drama kept people on their feet during every episode.
Survivor was another early reality TV show in which contestants had to complete various tasks in different locations. Due to the immense popularity of these types of series, network executives started to believe that reality TV is possible, despite the absence of actors.
It was clear that scripted and fake events won’t be successful, and the audience wanted to watch the real deal. Fast forward to today, and you have shows like The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Model, Top Chef, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Reality TV series is continuing to grow in popularity, and the audience loves watching regular people struggle in real life, which provides the ultimate form of entertainment!