First of all, we have to remember that there is nothing real about reality tv shows.
In the late 1960s the BBC transmitted a futuristic SF play entitled, The Year of The Sex Olympics.
The main plot idea about the play was that people were becoming bored with a daily tv diet of porn and the unrest was unsettling the government. The tv planers came up with the idea of putting a family on a remote Scottish Island and left them, and hidden cameras, for the population to watch as the conditions took their toll. The government liked the idea and allowed it to go ahead.
The idea of the fictional, futuristic planers and government was that people would watch a voyouristic series that outlined the lives of other people. Especially if that life was harder than there easy existance.
I believe this play is still available on dvd.