First television reality show
Candid Camera
The first TV show to regularly feature members of the public as its stars was America’s Candid Camera which premiered on ABC in 1948 (it was then called Candid Microphone and was a TV version of an established ABC radio show of the same name which began in 1947). The title was changed to Candid Camera when the show moved to NBC in 1949. The premise was to perform practical jokes on unsuspecting members of the public and film their reactions. Landmark productions in the field include: An American Family (PBS 1973), the first show to feature a prolonged fly-on-the-wall look at real people; The Family (BBC 1974) a similar UK concept; COPS (Fox 1988) a groundbreaking, long-running, narrative-free US documentary series with a camera crew following various police officers on the job; and The Real World (MTV 1992) a show eavesdropping on a group of young people sharing an apartment.