Real People is a NBC network reality TV series which was produced by Bob Wynn & John Barbour, and executively produced by George Schlatter.
The show aired from April 18, 1979 to July 4, 1984, lasting for five seasons. It was produced by George Schlatter Productions & NBC.
It featured regular hosts such as John Barbour, Sarah Purcell, Byron Allen, Skip Stephenson, Bill Rafferty, Mark Russell, Peter Billingsley, and Fred Willard.
A one-hour retrospective special of the series aired on September 16, 1991 with hosts Sarah Purcell and Fred Willard.
"Real People" featured a panel of seated hosts in front of a large studio audience. The hosts introduced pre-filmed segments and engaged in comedic banter about them.
Each segment was a visit to someone with a unique occupation or hobby. Occasionally, someone was brought into the 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, and was a rare hit for the network at a time when NBC was a distant third in the ratings & struggling with numerous flops.
Segments included "funny pictures" and funny newspaper errors sent by viewers, who then were awarded a Real People T-shirt.
The success of the show led to a batch of imitators, the best known and longest-running of which was "That's Incredible!" which aired on ABC and "That's My Line" on CBS, hosted by Bob Barker.
The show gave fitness instructor Richard Simmons his major break into the mass media and spotlighted unique talents such as Pittsburgh Police traffic cop Vic Cianca.
When repeats of the show initially were syndicated by Telepictures to broadcast stations, it was edited into 30-minute segments and retitled "More Real People."
In 1980, NBC launched two attempts at spin-offs: "Speak Up, America" and "Real Kids".
"Speak Up, America" starred former child televangelist Marjoe Gortner and basically expanded the opening segment of "Real People" (in which audience members were encouraged to sound off about any topics they wished) into a full hour program.
"Real Kids" starred Peter Billingsley and a cast of child hosts in a format that mirrored Real People, but focused only on kids. However, both spin-off formats quickly failed, though Billingsley went on to join "Real People" as a recurring host\contributor.