The Real Thing About Reality Television When did it all really start? And what is it all about? Let's take a close look and find out for ourselves. It was way back in the 1940's that a brilliant mind hit upon the idea of capitalizing on the inherent curious nature of all humans. We get attracted to something that is out of the ordinary and unexpected. Soon a commercial angle took shape and the nucleus for reality television was created. The first ever such show was conceived and devised by Allen Funt, an American television idol who was a multi-faceted producer, director and writer. He was the creator of candid camera, which was a bold approach those days. The program itself was called candid camera where a person is totally unaware that he or she is being filmed and is also asked the most outrageous questions one could ever think of. The gamble seemed to have paid off well as the concept went on to become a rage for the next 40 years or so which is an incredibly long time for any single idea to last. Funt had actually devised this concept on ABC Radio as Candid Microphone, which eventually paved the way to make it a runway hit on television. He was also smart enough to be able to use kids and adults as his subjects on the shows. This resulted in the ratings shooting up and increased revenues. In UK, the same concept with a slightly different theme was introduced by Granada Television in the series Seven Up! which introduced an altogether new concept, where a group of ordinary seven year-olds from a wide cross section of society were interviewed and asked about their reactions to everyday life. Every seven years members of the same group were asked identical questions and the answers were quite varied and amazing. This information could definitely be of great interest to any seasoned psychologist. The concept got a new twist with the production of Nummer 28 on Dutch television. It secretly filmed a group of strangers put together in the same environment for an extended period of time and the ensuing drama was indeed interesting to watch. This particular show started using sound-track music and also "confessionals" recorded by cast members that served as interesting narrations. The reactions of some of the participants were totally unexpected and showed how claustrophobic people could get. With the introduction of the TV show Robinson Expedition, a new dimension to the show was added with the idea of competition and elimination. The show ended after contestants had battled against each other and were removed one by one until the winner emerged. These shows came to be called the elimination shows and they became so popular that millions of viewers started watching them on popular TV services. Global recognition came with the success of Big Brother and American Idol which received top ranking as far as ratings are concerned. The locations were fantastic and the situations were real time with an element of risk and danger inherent. The airing of The Amazing Race and Project Runway recorded a dip in viewership. Shows such as Fear Factor and Wife Swap had to rely on re-runs during the day on cable television for sustenance. The longest running reality show COPS, however, has survived and outlasted the others. This award winning production was created by John Langley and Malcolm Barbour and focused on police officers, constables and sheriff's deputies during their regular patrols and beats. It went on to earn four Emmy nominations and is currently aired prime-time on Saturday nights.