peeping-Tom TV
n. Reality television shows, particularly shows that focus on the personal lives of ordinary people.
Also Seen As
In days of yore, or at least in days of lore, beautiful young things who wanted a break in show business might be asked to gratify the libidinal fancies of a director or casting agent. The couch was a detour on the way to more savory things, the rung below the bottom rung on the ladder.

The latest wave of peeping-Tom television, from "Joe Millionaire" to "Are You Hot?" reworks the old arrangement. Now the hopefuls have to tickle the libidos of the viewing masses.
—John Leland, “Glued to Public Seduction TV,” The New York Times, February 23, 2003
1996 (earliest)
There is a new danger on the streets of the capital. A cab equipped with hidden cameras which record the reaction of passengers as the cabby — in reality, actor Lee Walker — engages them in cheery chit-chat.

The idea is clearly borrowed from a American documentary in which New York cab-passengers talked with startling lack of restraint about their lives, unaware that hidden cameras and microphones were recording their every word and gesture. The fares ranged from a policeman who talked in graphic detail about what happened to people who fell under Underground trains to a mother with a drug habit.

The London version, Taxi! … is not quite so extrovert but does produce some quite lively characters. … Taxi! is the latest manifestation of Peeping Tom TV, of which Jeremy Beadle (with whom Lee Walker honed his public-participation skills) is the brand master.
—Geoffrey Phllips, “The peeping cabbie,” Evening Standard (London), December 19, 1996
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