Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term "reality television" is most commonly used to describe programs produced since 2000.
Reality television covers a wide range of programming formats, from game or quiz shows which resemble the frantic, often demeaning shows produced in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s (a modern example is Gaki no tsukai), to surveillance- or voyeurism-focused productions such as Big Brother.
Some commentators have said that the name "reality television" is an inaccurate description for several styles of program included in the genre.
In competition-based programs such as Big Brother and Survivor, and other special living environment shows like The Real World, the producers design the format of the show and control the day-to-day activities and the environment, creating a completely fabricated world in which the competition plays out.
Producers specifically select the participants and use carefully designed scenarios, challenges, events, and settings to encourage particular behaviors and conflicts.
The Restaurant and Survivor had at times recreated incidents that had actually occurred but were not properly recorded by cameras to the required technical standard, or had not been recorded at all. In order to get the footage, the event was restaged for the cameras. Other shows (most notably Joe Millionaire) combined audio and video from different times, or from different sets of footage, to make it look like participants were doing something they were not.
Some shows have faced speculation that the participants themselves are involved in fakery, acting out storylines that have been planned in advance by producers.The Hills is one notable example; one TV critic wrote... [continues]
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