My own opinion is that "reality tv" is a misnomer and I would feel better if I had a more accurate term. I'm unable personally to come up with anything better than pseudo-reality tv. Has anyone come across a good term for it? It should be self-explanatory. I don't want to have to explain the term or get into a discussion whenever I use it with a new person.

  • I would probably say "faux-reality". The shows are, of course, highly "staged". – Hot Licks Mar 6 '17 at 18:58
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    @HotLicks - a "faux-reality" show? Come on!!! – user66974 Mar 6 '17 at 18:59
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    Alternate-reality TV – Cascabel Mar 6 '17 at 19:00
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    The slightly more accurate phrase "unscripted" TV is sometimes used. Some folks try to make a distinction between "unscripted" and "reality" (one is really just letting cameras roll on reality, the other has an outline and agenda, basically everything shy of an actual script of dialogue) but the distinction is very fuzzy and it's not consistent which is which so I think you could probably just use it as a very near synonym. – 1006a Mar 6 '17 at 19:24
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    @1006a - are realities unscripted? I do doubt it, but people love to believe it. – user66974 Mar 6 '17 at 19:53

The expression is very popular and generally understood to refer the kind of TV programmes explained below. The expression is present also in dictionaries. Probably a similar expression would not be more helpful.

Note that one of the meanings of reality is:

resemblance to what is real.

Reality TV: noun [ U ] UK ​ ​

  • television programmes about ordinary people who are filmed in real situations, rather than actors

(Cambridge Dictionaries)

Reality television:

  • a genre of television programming in which "real life" people are followed in a situation, game, etc.; also called reality TV, reality programming.


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