“Origin Of Reality Television”
What Impact Reality Television Has On Society?
Television has become a member of almost every family on our planet. It is not just any ordinary member, but a very important one, because the time spent next to it exceeds the amount of time spent together with any other family member. You don't have to apply any efforts to talk or listen to complaints while communicating with it. Television has the power to alter society. Whether we realize it or not, what we watch and listen to stays in our brain for many years. The question is "What is Reality Television?" one might ask. Reality Television is defined by MSN Encarta as "television programs that present people in live, though often deliberately manufactured, situation and monitor their emotions and behavior". What was the first reality television show? Survivor, The Real World, or maybe even Temptation Island. The answer to all of these common assumptions is no. Reality television came about long before Survivor and The Real World; it has been around for over fifty years. The first reality show was aired in 1948, long before Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and was on the air until 2000. This made it not only the first reality television series, but also the longest running reality show. So do you know what it is? Maybe this will give it away, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!” Candid Camera was the first reality television show. Candid Camera was originated by a man named Allen Funt, and continued by Peter Funt, his son, after Allen retired. Funt thought of the show while serving in the armed forces. He started by taping complaints of servicemen and broadcasting them over the Armed Forces Radio. He later took the idea to network radio, and in 1947 had a radio show called Candid Microphone. In 1948, ABC cast the program on their network and kept the name Candid Microphone. However, in 1947 the show was moved to NBC, and the name was changed to Candid Camera. Over the years, Candid Camera was not only aired on ABC and NBC; it also was broadcast on CBS and other syndicated channels.
The point of the show was to put hidden cameras in unexpected places and position people in baffling situations to look at, watching their reactions. Situations included a lady asking someone to help her because she was having car trouble, but when the people would open up her hood there wasn’t an engine. Another such situation had a bowler waiting for his bowling ball to come from the ball-return, and when it did the ball wouldn’t have the finger holes that it should. The segments always ended with the saying, “Smile; you're on Candid Camera!”
Soon after Candid Camera, “Wanted” was introduced as the second reality television show. Wanted discussed crimes and criminals and included interviews with victims’ families as well as public authorities that worked on the crime cases. While it only lasted for one year, it inspired the hit television series, America’s Most Wanted, which aired in 1988. America’s Most Wanted is still on the air and is hosted by John Walsh, whose son was kidnapped and murdered. The show presents information about crimes, and reenacts the crimes. To date, the show has helped to capture catch over 600 criminals. Following America’s Most Wanted was a show called Cops, which is also still on the air. Cops aired in 1989 and is also a crime fighting television show.
In 1973, An American Family debuted on PBS. This was a documentary about the loud family from Santa Barbara, California. The loud family was taped for over 300 hours, but only 12 of those hours have gotten airtime. This show was produced by Craig Gilbert an American Family. It was viewed by over 10 million viewers. The show unfolded with Bill and Pat Loud, the parents, splitting up, and Lance, their son, coming-out and saying he was gay. Unfortunately, like many reality shows today, the Loud family complained that the broadcasting of the show misinterpreted their lives.
Bibliography: Americas Most Wanted (2002) America Fights Back.
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