Infomercials are also known as paid programming (or teleshopping in Europe). This phenomenon started in the United States, where infomercials were typically shown overnight (usually 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.), outside peak prime time hours for commercial broadcasters. Some television stations chose to air infomercials as an alternative to the former practice of signing off. Some channels air infomercials 24 hours.
During the early days of television, many television shows were specifically created by sponsors with the main goal of selling their product, the entertainment angle being a hook to hold audience attention. Infomercials proliferated in the United States after 1984 when the Federal Communications Commission eliminated regulations that were established in the 1950s and 1960s to govern the commercial content of television.
Infomercials particularly exploded in the mid-1990s with motivational and personal development products, and "get-rich-quick scheme"s based on the premise that one could quickly become wealthy by either selling anything through classified ads or through real estate flipping.
One of the most bizarre by today's standards had to be for radioactive cold cream!