Commentary

TV's Re-branding: Reality Stars Revalue The Talent Pool

You're a reality star -- or maybe some lesser stellar non-scripted performer. No matter -- you are working hard to keep up whatever value you've got. (Hello, Omarosa!)

Good news: Those efforts might have traditionally trained performers feeling the pinch.

Michael Hirschorn, executive vice-president of original programming of VH1, said in a recent issue of Rolling Stone: "There used to be fifteen or twenty really famous people, and now there are thousands. After they've been reality stars, they can't go back to their old lives. How will they make a living?"

Obviously, they can do another lame reality show on VH1. That's if they can kick Hulk Hogan, David Hasselhoff, Gene Simmons, or anyone else off the air. (Okay, not all VH1 shows -- but you get the picture).

One wonders if at sometime the glut will hurt real celebrities -- you know, actual film and TV actors with training. Will that have any effect on the sponsorship deals that make with marketers?

Surely those well-branded actors, say a Luke Wilson, Tina Fey, Colin Farrell, or Hugh Laurie, might not worry. But say ten years from now when there are tens of thousand of reality stars jamming up the digital airwaves with content producers desperately looking for new talent, it might be a issue.

Famous for 15-minutes, as Andy Warhol said? He'd surely revise it as 15 seconds, nowadays. We'll need all that talent - possibly paying a McDonald's-like wages for those low-end performers.

Right now, you have actors desperate to make sure the film, TV show, or video clip can last as long as possible. Publicity, straight-ahead endorsements, and branded entertainment deals -- all of which had been somewhat of a no-no in keeping one's celebrity cachet intact -- are now tools to use. If not, you might disappear. Still, for a price.

Having Steve Carell's character on "The Office" appearing in the Chili's restaurant might be good for the reality of the show. Now, the next time producer Reveille asks him to repeat that performance you can expect him to want a cut. Then again, a waving finger from the NBC ad sales brass, could say: "This is why we keep you employed. Oh, and by the way, the celebrity glut is coming."

Right on cue, reality stars are already making their way onto scripted TV shows.

We can be sure they'll have no problem holding up a Heineken

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