My personal definition of reality is something that is concerned with what actually happens. And reality tv is (boredom induced by) watching tv shows about people doing things that actually happen, as opposed to scripted shows.
Perhaps I’m just missing something, but why is Fox touting Murder in a Small Town X as their newest “reality” show?? http://www.fox.com/smalltownx/ It says right on their promo site that real people play a game that is in fictional world of mystery. This site http://www.sirlinksalot.net/murderx.html comes right out and says that the murders aren’t real (however, at least one worried person on the offical site’s MB is worried about that.) Isn’t this just glorified murder mystery dinner theater, **not ** reality tv?
Many people use the term “reality TV” to mean “TV without professional actors” or at least that in which pros aren’t the central players.
Your definition would include shows like “Cops”, which used to be the flagship of the old meaning of the phrase. Now, “Survivor” is treated as the main example.
Personally, I agree that the earlier definition has a lot more reality in it. However, the language progresses and words mean different things as time goes by.
“Reality TV” is the new buzzword, so of course they want to call their show a “reality TV show”. There’s nothing real about Temptation Island or Survivor. These are just glorified and over-hyped and more intrusively personal versions of the old standard, the game show. Come do something stupid on TV to compete for money. Dress up in a stupid costume and barter for a goat, run through a store trying to fill a shopping cart as fast as you can, get pies throw at you or dipped in green slime.
Now not all game shows are bad - I just prefer “Win Ben Stein’s Money” or “Jeopardy”.