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Reality television is a genre of television programming that documents supposedly unscripted real-life situations, and often features an otherwise unknown cast of individuals who are typically not professional actors, although in some shows celebrities may participate.
Reality television has faced significant criticism since its rise in popularity.
Much of the criticism has centered on the use of the word "reality", and such shows' attempt to present themselves as a straightforward recounting of events that have occurred.
Other genres that predate the reality television boom have sometimes been retroactively grouped into reality TV, including hidden camera shows such as Candid Camera (1948), talent-search shows such as The Original Amateur Hour (1948), documentary series about ordinary people such as the Up Series (1964), high-concept game shows such as The Dating Game (1965), home improvement shows such as This Old House (1979), and court shows featuring real-life cases such as The People's Court (1981).Confession was a crime/police show which aired from June 1958 to January 1959, with interviewer Jack Wyatt questioning criminals from assorted backgrounds.The radio series Nightwatch (1951–1955) tape-recorded the daily activities of Culver City, California police officers.In the United States, various channels have retooled themselves to focus on reality programs, most famously MTV, which began in 1981 as a music video pioneer, before switching to a nearly all-reality format in the early 2000s.There are grey areas around what is classified as reality television.