Reality television facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Phillip Phillips at the American Idols Live! Tour 2012 at Seattle Center's Key Arena, July 2012
Phillip Phillips, who won the eleventh season of the singing competition show American Idol, performs on the American Idols Live! Tour in 2012.

Reality television is a genre of television programming which presents unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, document actual events, and have ordinary people instead of professional actors. Although reality television has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term "reality television" is most commonly used to describe shows since 2000. Documentaries, news and sports shows are not called reality shows.

There are many different kinds of reality television shows, from game or quiz shows to surveillance-type shows, such as Big Brother.

Critics say that the term "reality television" is not accurate. Many shows portray a changed and highly influenced form of reality, with participants put in exotic locations or abnormal situations, sometimes told to act certain ways, and with events on screen sometimes changed by editing.

Types of reality television

Kim Kardashian 3
Reality TV personality Kim Kardashian
Shoot of the TV drama, Being Human
Lighting crews are typically present in the background of reality television shows.
Production sound mixer
Sound crews work in the background of reality television shows.
  • Documentary-style—watching people do their daily personal and professional activities
    • Special living environment—People who did not know each other before the show must live together. They are often given tasks to complete together. Examples: The Real World, Road Rules
    • Celebrity reality—A celebrity living his or her normal everyday life. Examples: The Anna Nicole Show, The Osbournes. Sometimes the celebrities are given a task. Examples: The Surreal Life, The Simple Life
    • Professional activities—Professionals doing their day-to-day business at their jobs. Examples: COPS, Miami Ink, American Chopper
  • Elimination/Game shows—Participants compete to win a prize, sometimes while living together. Example: The Amazing Race
    • Dating-based competition—A person chooses one person to date out of a group of suitors. Examples: The Bachelor, Temptation Island
    • Job search—Contestants compete to see who is the best at a certain skill. Examples: America's Next Top Model (for modeling), The Apprentice (for business skills), Hell's Kitchen (for cooking)
    • Game show
  • Self-improvement/make-over—A person or group of people try to improve themselves or their lives. Examples: Extreme Makeover, The Biggest Loser, Supernanny, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
  • Home renovation—Improving homes. Examples: Changing Rooms, Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover:Home Edition
  • Dating shows—People go on a date. Unlike dating competition shows which have the same contestants all season, dating shows have new people each episode. Example: Blind Date
  • Talk shows—A host interviews people, often about strange or outrageous topics that will cause conflict on-screen. Examples: The Jerry Springer Show, Maury
  • Hidden cameras—A hidden camera records random people in a staged situation. The situations are often meant to confuse, amuse or scare the person. Examples: Candid Camera, Punk'd, Scare Tactics
  • Hoaxes—The show is a prank or trick on one or more cast members. They know that they are on a TV show, they just do not know the true nature of the show. Examples: The Joe Schmo Show, Invasion Iowa

Reality television Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.