Real People


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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About

Real People was an NBC reality television series that aired from 1979 to 1984, on Wednesday and then Sunday nights. Its initial episodes aired live in the East.

Real People had the format of a comedy talk show taped in front of a large studio audience. Each segment featured a news report consisting of visits to people with unique occupations or hobbies, occasionally bringing some of them in-studio to interact with the audience. In its early seasons, Real People was NBC's most popular series, often scoring at the top of the ratings. Segments included "funny pictures" and funny newspaper errors sent in by viewers, who were awarded a Real People T-shirt. According to a 2008 interview with producer George Schlatter, who also co-created Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In for NBC, the show had covered serious topics like war heroes.

Regular hosts included John Barbour, Sarah Purcell, Byron Allen, Skip Stephenson, Bill Rafferty, Mark Russell, Peter Billingsley, and Fred Willard.

The success of Real People led to a rash of imitators, the best known and longest-running of which was That's Incredible!. Real People also gave fitness instructor Richard Simmons his major break into the mass media.

When the show was initially syndicated to broadcast stations, it was edited into 30-minute segments and retitled More Real People.

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Highlights
Fred Silverman on NBC's proto-reality show Real People which debuted in 1979
01:30
George Schlatter on producing Real People
03:08
George Schlatter on some of his favorite stories covered by Real People
01:25
Who talked about this show

George Schlatter

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George Schlatter on producing Real People
03:08
George Schlatter on the end of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and the beginning of Real People
01:39
George Schlatter on the hosts of Real People
02:52
George Schlatter on finding and choosing stories for Real People
04:34
George Schlatter on some of his favorite stories covered by Real People
01:25
George Schlatter on Peter Billingsly on Real People
01:03
George Schlatter on the effect of That's Incredible on Real People 
01:15

Fred Silverman

View Interview
Fred Silverman on NBC's proto-reality show Real People which debuted in 1979
01:30

Fred Willard

View Interview
Fred Willard on becoming a host of Real People
02:18
Fred Willard on some of the stories he covered on Real People
03:03
Fred Willard on his Real People co-stars
01:57

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