This reality show has been going on since May, with 10 episodes done and more to come. Evictions from the house will start next year, perhaps in February.
Then again, these show participants might stay. That's what's different with this show. Staying will bring them more money -- kind of like endorsement deals.
I'm talking about the Republican presidential debates.
These debates, the most recent of which aired on CBS, seem to take on new story arcs with each episode. A little while ago, their central figure was Rick Perry. More recently, Herman Cain. Now, Newt Gingrich.
Why stay in the race? Because you never know what might happen. And more importantly, as with any reality show, millions of people are watching -- anywhere from 3 to 6 million per debate.
Fund-raising is key. In the midst of Cain’s rise in the polls, and then stories alleging sexual harassment, he had his biggest fund- raising period. Now Gingrich’s sudden rise in the polls has grabbed him over $1 million in about a month.
Stay on the reality show, for as long as you can. That's the aim of any would-be singer ("American Idol," "The Voice"), designer ("Project Runway"), celebrity/actor ("Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Jersey Shore"), chef ("Top Chef," "Hell's Kitchen"), entrepreneur ("The Apprentice"), dancer ("Dancing with the Stars," "So You Think You Can Dance"), or adventurer/survivor ("Survivor,","Amazing Race").
A couple of decades ago, debates were something politicans wanted to avoi because they feared making a very glaring mistake. Now the rewards outweigh the risks. And even then some mistakes don't mean the end of the road. With a projected $6 billion available for political campaigns in 2012, no one wants to leave the house.
Any story can be turned around -- so politicans need to think like marketers s. The ROI may not always work but the cost per thousand viewers is a bargain considering a relatively low entry cost.
Now, think of the real marketers involved: those that buy ads in all the news coverage surrounding these shows.
Traditional advertisers know this kind of content targets older 25-54 television viewers. From their point of view, they wish for this show to grow and get renewed -- at least through next November.