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There are grey areas around what is classified as reality 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.

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In the 1950s, game shows Beat the Clock and Truth or Consequences involved contestants in wacky competitions, stunts, and practical jokes.Confession was a crime/police show which aired from June 1958 to January 1959, with interviewer Jack Wyatt questioning criminals from assorted backgrounds.Reality television as a whole has become a fixture of television programming.In the United States, various channels have retooled themselves to focus on reality programs, most famously MTV, which began in 1981 as a music video pioneer, before switching to a nearly all-reality format in the early 2000s.The radio series Nightwatch (1951–1955) tape-recorded the daily activities of Culver City, California police officers.

The series You Asked for It (1950–1959) incorporated audience involvement by basing episodes around requests sent in by postcard from viewers.

Producer-host Allen Funt's Candid Camera, in which unsuspecting people were confronted with funny, unusual situations and filmed with hidden cameras, first aired in 1948, and is often seen as a prototype of reality television programming.

Precedents for television that portrayed people in unscripted situations began in the late 1940s.

Still, the series has met with rapturous reviews on both sides of the pond, making it a must-watch for anyone who hasn't taken the plunge yet.

Please help by moving some material from it into the body of the article.

These shows have been listed in the order they'll premiere, and I'm only including shows with a set release date.