Reality television is a genre of programming that purports to show the unscripted actions of everyday people, rather than prepared dialogue delivered by actors. From the mid-1990s forward, an increasing number of such television (TV) shows are available and have often dominated ratings. For communication researchers, this popular format of TV shows has provided new and exciting opportunities to investigate how audiences interpret and react to entertainment that claims that a majority of its content is real and unscripted. This entry examines the different definitions of reality television before providing a brief history of reality television and then revealing the basic categories of reality television shows. The entry concludes with a review of some areas and methods of study of reality television that ...
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