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List of reality television programs

Documentary styleEdit

In this genre, camera crews follow the daily interactions of people in ordinary places, such as airports or restaurants, or follow people in a specific profession.

Extraordinary peopleEdit

Historical re-creationEdit

This genre takes modern-day contestants and puts them in the lifestyle of historical people or places.


This genre documents scientific analysis or exploration firsthand.


In this genre, couples or singles are brought together in dating or romantic situations.

Law enforcement, rescue, and militaryEdit


This increasingly popular genre features ordinary people having home or lifestyle makeovers with the assistance of professionals.

Lifestyle changeEdit

Here, ordinary people experience an extraordinary change in their environments or occupations.

Fantasies fulfilledEdit

Docusoaps starring celebritiesEdit

This genre, launched most successfully by music channel MTV, follows a camera crew into the lives of celebrities.

Video cameras/hidden cameraEdit

This is perhaps the oldest reality show genre, popular as far back as the early days of television.

List of reality game shows/reality "playoffs"Edit

main article: reality game show

This, the biggest and most successful reality genre, features contestants who compete for prizes, while often living together in close quarters. They usually feature the elimination of contestants until a winner is chosen. Sometimes they are considered to be "reality playoffs" since their format is similar to that of a playoff in sports.

Talent searchesEdit

Often similar to the game show genre in that there are eliminations and a final winner, this genre centers on contestants competing a specific skill or talent, rather than in random challenges.

1940s premieresEdit

1950s premieresEdit

1970s premieresEdit

1980s premieresEdit

1990s premieresEdit

2000s premieresEdit

2010s premieresEdit


Reality shows in which one or more participants are tricked into believing they are taking part in a legitimate show when they are actually the victim(s) of a joke. These types of shows are somewhat akin to hidden camera shows.


While not reality TV in the proper sense, these reality or scripted parody shows reflect the level of pop culture status that reality TV has achieved.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit