|Presented by||John Daly (1996–2000)|
Kristen Eykel (1999–2000)
Ahmad Rashād (2000–2001)
|Voices of||Beau Weaver (announcer 1996–1999; 2000–2001)|
Mitch Lewis (announcer 1999–2000)
Jim Pratt (announcer 2000–2001)
|Narrated by||J.J. Johnson (2000–2001)|
|Theme music composer||Planet One Music Productions|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|Production locations||Mesa, Arizona (1996-1997)
Hollywood, California:Hollywood Center Studios (1997-2001)
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production companies||RTV News Inc.|
Paramount Domestic Television
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||September 9, 1996 –|
September 7, 2001
Real TV (commonly known as America's Best Caught on Tape) is an American reality television program that ran in syndication from September 9, 1996 to September 7, 2001. It aired footage of extraordinary events that were usually covered in mainstream news.
Real TV usually showed the home and amateur video. The types of incidents portrayed were often daring rescues, escapes, stunts, and accidents. Clips containing violence or injury were not shown often. The clips had a narration provided by the host of the show, and were commonly set to a soundtrack to heighten the drama. Other clips have included TV show bloopers, human interest stories, and inventions.
The show was hosted by John Daly (no relation to the golfer of the same name) from its beginning in 1996 through 2000, with Beau Weaver announcing until 1999. During Daly's run, the show took on a theme similar to that of a news show, even featuring various correspondents to present the stories along with him. Featured correspondents included Sibila Vargas, Michael Brownlee, John Johnston, Lisa G., and Ellen K. William B. Davis, best known as Cigarette Smoking Man from the sci-fi TV series The X-Files, also made occasional appearances.
In season 4 of the show, he was joined by Kristen Eykel, and Mitch Lewis became the announcer.
When Daly and Eykel quit the show, Ahmad Rashād took over for them until the show's end. Rashād's version of Real TV had a new set, introduction, and announcer. The correspondents from Daly's run did not appear, nor did the themed segments or news show atmosphere. The show seemingly became targeted towards younger viewers, featuring more extreme sports footage, and less focus on human interest stories and celebrities. The show was canceled in 2001, and was replaced in many markets by the weekly series Maximum Exposure, which ran original episodes until 2002 and continues to air in syndication (Maximum Exposure was produced under the RTV News banner).
Various segments appeared in episodes, usually just as a way to thread featured videos of a similar nature. One feature that appeared often was "Quick Clips", which featured a number of quick video highlights of some amazing footage. Each episode of Daly's version had the "Real TV Quiz", which generally featured video footage of a celebrity before they became famous, challenging the viewer to guess who they were during the commercial break. Example: Zachary Ty Bryan actor from Home Improvement, was featured in a quick clip in 1998 from his appearance at the premiere of the movie "Blade" starring Wesley Snipes. Zachary was videotaped giving a shout out to Real TV on camera at the premiere by known Real TV contributor Michael Nordan a freelance videographer at the time. Viewers had to guess who the quick clip featured talent was. Announcer Beau Weaver announced the quiz at the start of the show's run before the quiz was taken over by Daly. During season 1, the quiz was before the second half of the show. The quiz moved to the end of the show at the start of season 2.
Closing clip montage and credits
Some clips were replayed during the closing credits, set to the show's theme song for most of Daly's run, although episodes with no clips during the credits had the title card on a different monitor in the studio and a short credit roll. In the show's third season, in episodes with a full credit roll, the title card appeared on a much larger monitor in the studio before the clip montage, and the 1995 Paramount Domestic Television logo also appeared on the monitor after the theme song ended.
After its original run, the older episodes of Real TV (Eykel and Rashad run only) re-aired on TNN (The National Network) (later Spike TV, now The Paramount Network) from 2000 to 2003, also all older episodes of Real TV (Daly runs only) re-aired on Spike TV from 2003 to 2006, and the older episodes of Real TV (Daly runs only) re-aired on the Fox Reality Channel from 2005 to 2007. Real TV (Daly runs only) was also re-aired on WGN America from 2007 to 2008.