Timeline: 60 years of reality TV programming


August 1948
Allen Funt brings his popular radio show "Candid Microphone" to television as "Candid Camera," and reality TV is born.

January 1956
After years of airing locally in Los Angeles, "Queen for a Day" goes national on NBC. It features four housewives telling their tales of woe to a studio audience, which votes on who will be "Queen for a Day." The show's success changes the way networks look at daytime programming.

December 1965
Chuck Barris adds a new twist to the reality genre with "The Dating Game." The show runs on ABC until 1973.

January 1973
PBS debuts "An American Family," a 12-part series documenting an ordinary American family: the Louds of Santa Barbara, California. 10 million people tune in to watch the Louds, Pat and Bill, and their five kids, one of whom, Lance, was openly gay.

March 1980
People with quirky talents finally get to showcase them on TV as "That's Incredible!" debuts on ABC, spotlighting everything from a man who catches arrows in his hands to an acrobat who leaps over moving cars.

March 1989
"Cops," the series that follows the exploits of real police officers, quietly launches on Fox. The show is still going strong after 20 seasons and over 700 episodes.

November 1994
Hours after the final episode of "The Real World: San Francisco" airs on MTV, cast member Pedro Zamora dies of AIDS. The gay AIDS educator gripped viewers thanks to his highly charged exchanges with the hygiene-challenged Puck.

Reality vet Scott Sternbergh joins "Before the Were Stars" as an executive producers. The show is one of the first to get up-close-and-personal with the everyday lives of celebrities, and spawns a generation of copycats.

May 2000
Sixteen ordinary Americans are marooned on a remote South China Sea island for CBS' "Survivor: Borneo."

August 2000
Darva Conger, winner of Fox's reality show "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" extends her 15 minutes of fame by posing nude for Playboy.

June 2001

Contestants consume their first gross edibles on NBC's "Fear Factor." On the second episode, participants are required to eat a number of worms to stay in the competition.

July 2001
Justin Sebik becomes the first contestant in U.S. reality-competition television history to be kicked off a show, when CBS' "Big Brother 2" evicts him for pulling a knife on Krista Stegall.

November 2001 
ATAS adds an Emmy category for . Fox's "American High" takes the prize.

June 2002
With little fanfare, "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" debuts on Fox as a summer replacement show. Approximately 50 million viewers tune in to the September season finale.

September 2002
"The Osbournes," MTV's reality series about Ozzy Osbourne and his quirky home life, wins the Emmy for outstanding nonfiction program (reality).

June 2003
"From Justin to Kelly," the big-screen musical starring "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, opens in theaters. It grosses under $5 million.

September 2003
The Emmy institutes an award honoring outstanding reality-competition program. CBS' "The Amazing Race" wins.

December 2003
Trista Rehn earns a $1 million payday as the star of ABC's "The Bachelorette" by allowing the network to televise her wedding to the competition's winner Ryan Sutter. The nuptials draw over 26 million viewers.

November 2004
Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich are the final two left standing in CBS' "Survivor: All-Stars." The couple goes on to compete twice in "The Amazing Race" and have their wedding air as a CBS special.

July 2005
Over 22 million people tune in to see "General Hospital's" Kelly Monaco and partner Alec Mazo out-step actor John O'Hurley and partner Charlotte Jorgensen to become the first winners of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

July 2008
"American Idol's" Ryan Seacrest, "Dancing With the Stars' " Tom Bergeron, "Deal Or No Deal's" Howie Mandel, "Project Runway's" Heidi Klum and "Survivor's" Jeff Probst are honored as the first five Emmy nominees in the new category outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program.