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Reality TV shows arose as a named genre of programming in the 1990s. Networks introduced a number of series that featured the unscripted interactions of ordinary people, as opposed to actors or celebrities. Early reality series were a unique form, but the genre has expanded to include shows that infuse other genres-game shows, documentaries, etc.-with unscripted elements.

Eventually, almost every network made us watch reality shows.

The earliest reality series were ground-breaking in that they attempted to focus on the real lives of their characters. MTV's The Real World was arguably the first modern American reality series. It featured a group of non-actor young people living together in a house. The group's daily activities played out via cameras scattered throughout the house. There was no script or plan for how the events in the house would play out.

Very quickly, aspects of reality TV crept into other types of shows. Survivor merged reality TV with the game-show genre. Participants in the show engaged in a competition. Their interactions were filmed and presented in manner that emphasized the unscripted drama between them. This hybrid reality-game show became a very popular subgenre. It eventually encompassed a wide range of competitions, including those involving music, dance, cooking and weight loss.

The reality formula eventually evolved to include unscripted shows that claimed to present the every-day lives of celebrities. Other reality series followed the professional--and, to a certain degree, personal--lives of ordinary people such as police officers, fishermen or others in hazardous occupations. The reality genre also sometimes connects itself with fiction genres. In paranormal-investigation series, for example, real-life investigators go about their business and the show attempts to use their activities to generate suspense.

    Ridiculousness

    Ridiculousness

    Love & Hip Hop

    Love & Hip Hop

    Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team

    Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team

    Teen Mom 2

    Teen Mom 2

    RuPaul's Drag Race

    RuPaul's Drag Race

    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

    Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta

    The Amazing Race

    The Amazing Race

    Love Island

    Love Island

    Teen Mom

    Teen Mom

    Big Brother

    Big Brother

    Are You The One?

    Are You The One?

    Undercover Boss

    Undercover Boss

    Black Ink Crew

    Black Ink Crew

    Basketball Wives

    Basketball Wives

    Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood

    Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood

    Floribama Shore

    Floribama Shore

    The Gary Owen Show

    The Gary Owen Show

    Laguna Beach

    Laguna Beach

    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

    Jersey Shore: Family Vacation

    Sunday Best

    Sunday Best

    The Bachelorette

    The Bachelorette

    Bad Girls Club

    Bad Girls Club

    Keeping Up with The Kardashians

    Keeping Up with The Kardashians

    T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle

    T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle

    Dancing with the Stars

    Dancing with the Stars

    Black Ink Crew: Chicago

    Black Ink Crew: Chicago

    RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

    RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars

    The Curse of Oak Island

    The Curse of Oak Island

    The Real L Word

    The Real L Word

    Snooki & JWOWW

    Snooki & JWOWW

    Love Island

    Love Island

    The Voice

    The Voice

    America's Next Top Model

    America's Next Top Model

    The Challenge

    The Challenge

    Chrisley Knows Best

    Chrisley Knows Best

    Ghost Adventures

    Ghost Adventures

    Hollywood Exes

    Hollywood Exes

    Say Yes To The Dress

    Say Yes To The Dress

    Love After Lockup

    Love After Lockup

    Basketball Wives: LA

    Basketball Wives: LA

    Ink Master

    Ink Master

    Bar Rescue

    Bar Rescue

    The Jeff Dunham Show

    The Jeff Dunham Show

    90 Day Fiance

    90 Day Fiance

    Ice Road Truckers

    Ice Road Truckers

    The Real Housewives of Potomac

    The Real Housewives of Potomac

    College Hill

    College Hill

    The First 48

    The First 48

    Ready to Love

    Ready to Love

    Below Deck

    Below Deck

    90 Day Fiance: The Other Way

    90 Day Fiance: The Other Way

    60 Days In

    60 Days In

    Cheyenne

    Cheyenne

    Comedy Central Presents

    Comedy Central Presents

    Shark Tank

    Shark Tank

    The Masked Singer

    The Masked Singer

    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

    The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

    The Real Housewives of Atlanta

    The Real Housewives of Atlanta

    The Great British Baking Show

    The Great British Baking Show

    Impractical Jokers

    Impractical Jokers

    Naked and Afraid

    Naked and Afraid

    Step Up: High Water

    Step Up: High Water

    Brad Meltzer's Decoded

    Brad Meltzer's Decoded

    Jersey Shore

    Jersey Shore

    American Restoration

    American Restoration

    Jay Leno's Garage

    Jay Leno's Garage

    Mountain Monsters

    Mountain Monsters

    Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars

    Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars

    Intervention

    Intervention

    Vampires

    Vampires

    Hardcore Pawn

    Hardcore Pawn

    Welcome to Plathville

    Welcome to Plathville

    16 and Pregnant

    16 and Pregnant

    Keyshia Cole: All In

    Keyshia Cole: All In

    How the Earth Was Made

    How the Earth Was Made

    Gold Rush

    Gold Rush

    Forged in Fire

    Forged in Fire

    Lizard Lick Towing

    Lizard Lick Towing

    30 For 30

    30 For 30

    Mutt & Stuff

    Mutt & Stuff

    American Idol

    American Idol

    Mountain Men

    Mountain Men

    Ex On The Beach

    Ex On The Beach

    A Haunting

    A Haunting

    Celebrity Big Brother

    Celebrity Big Brother

    The Contender

    The Contender

    Below Deck Mediterranean

    Below Deck Mediterranean

    Wheeler Dealers

    Wheeler Dealers

    The Bachelor

    The Bachelor

    Hoarders

    Hoarders

    Marrying The Game

    Marrying The Game

    Alaskan Bush People

    Alaskan Bush People

    Braxton Family Values

    Braxton Family Values

    The T.O. Show

    The T.O. Show

    Total Bellas

    Total Bellas

    Deadliest Warrior

    Deadliest Warrior

    1000 Ways to Die

    1000 Ways to Die

    World of Dance

    World of Dance

    Alone

    Alone

    Deadliest Catch

    Deadliest Catch