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Play the Reality TV Crossword

It’s pretty easy to date the beginning of reality TV shows to 1948 and the start of Candid Camera. Ordinary people were the focus of the show, though what they were reacting to were not-so-ordinary pranks! (My all-time favorite is still the mysteriously moving spoon at a diner counter.) Thanks to syndication, we were able to watch Candid Camera in the ’70s, and it seemed like no time at all passed between Allen Funt explaining the camera setups and then Sarah Purcell, Byron Allen and that guy with the bowl haircut (that was comedian Skip Stephenson, for the record) in 1979 setting up all the videos of, yes, Real People, working their jobs and hobbies and occasionally reliving some heroic behavior we all tuned in for on this Top 20 show. In the 2000s, reality TV exploded with the mega-success of competition shows like Survivor, Big Brother, and especially American Idol, which was the most watched show in the U.S. for six years in a row in the early 2000s. Reality TV continues to take up large chunks of the TV we watch every night, along with live sporting events. I for one am looking forward to the latest Survivor this March, when the show returns for its 44th season! —Michael Fell, Editor-in-Chief of TV Guide Magazine

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