Love and Marriage in Prime Time
An American Family: Welcome to Reality
America's first brush with reality television came in 1973, when PBS aired the 12-episode documentary An American Family. By chronicling the day-to-day drama of the Louds, a suburban family of seven, the program granted viewers a brazenly intimate look into the complexity of family life. With the cameras rolling, Bill and Pat Loud went through a divorce, their eldest son Lance confronted his homosexuality, and the nation watched, transfixed.