Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors. Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television (primarily with game shows), the term reality television is most commonly used to describe programs of this genre produced since 2000. Documentaries and nonfictional programming such as news and sports shows are usually not classified as reality shows.
The genre covers a wide range of programming formats, from game or quiz shows which resemble the frantic, often demeaning shows produced in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s (such as Gaki no tsukai), to surveillance- or voyeurism-focused productions such as Big Brother.
Reality television frequently portrays a modified and highly influenced form of reality, utilizing sensationalism to attract viewers to generate advertising profits. Participants are often placed in exotic locations or abnormal situations, and are sometimes coached, to act in certain scripted ways by off-screen "story editors" or "segment producers," with the portrayal of events and speech manipulated and contrived to create an illusion of reality through editing and other post-production techniques.