Popularizing the 'people in a house' genre

The concept of people living in a house and being filmed was once considered so dry that it could only exist on PBS. The documentary series "An American Family" chronicled the lives and troubles of a classic nuclear family living in Santa Barbara in 1971. The series aired for 12 episodes in 1973 and a follow-up, "An American Family Revisited" in 1983. But when MTV replaced boring family people with hip, urban twentysomethings, the modern era of reality TV was born. It wasn't long until increasingly lurid ideas, such as "Big Brother" (hot people in a house, pictured) and "Sober House" (recovering addicts in a house) ruled the airwaves.
Tony Esparza / CBS
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