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, broadcast interviews with a dozen ordinary 7-year-olds from a broad cross-section of society and inquired about their reactions to everyday life.Every seven years, a film documented the life of the same individuals during the intervening period, titled the Up Series, episodes include "7 Plus Seven", "21 Up", etc.; it is still ongoing.Precedents for television that portrayed people in unscripted situations began in the late 1940s.Queen for a Day (1945–1964) was an early example of reality-based television.Documentaries, television news, sports television, talk shows, and traditional game shows are not classified as reality television, even though they contain elements of the genre, such as unscripted situations and sometimes unknown participants.Other genres that predate the reality television boom have sometimes been retroactively grouped into reality TV, including hidden camera shows such as Candid Camera (1948), talent-search shows such as The Original Amateur Hour (1948), documentary series about ordinary people such as the Up Series (1964), high-concept game shows such as The Dating Game (1965), home improvement shows such as This Old House (1979), and court shows featuring real-life cases such as The People's Court (1981).These shows and a number of others (usually also competition-based) became global franchises, spawning local versions in dozens of countries.Reality television as a whole has become a fixture of television programming.

Other criticisms of reality television shows include that they are intended to humiliate or exploit participants (particularly on competition shows); that they make stars out of either untalented people unworthy of fame, infamous personalities, or both; and that they glamorize vulgarity and materialism.It differs from documentary television in that the focus tends to be on drama, personal conflict, and entertainment rather than educating viewers. The genre has various standard tropes, including "confessionals" (also called talking heads or interview segments) used by cast members to express their thoughts, which often double as the shows' narration.In competition-based reality shows, a notable subset, there are other common elements such as one participant being eliminated per episode, a panel of judges, and the concept of "immunity from elimination." An early example of the genre was the 1991 Dutch series Nummer 28, which was the first show to bring together strangers and record their interactions.In 1948, talent search shows Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour and Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts featured amateur competitors and audience voting.In the 1950s, game shows Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences involved contestants in wacky competitions, stunts, and practical jokes.The 1946 television game show Cash and Carry sometimes featured contestants performing stunts.

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