How The Jersey Shore Crew Is Breaking The Reality Economy


“We’re in the American pop-culture business so it’s tits and ass that sells,” says the guy who books the Jersey Shore guys at clubs. The exception: The Jersey Shore guys.

According to The Daily Beast, the guys get at least $25,000 to appear at clubs and the occasional Sweet 16 — though not too many of them, because apparently teenage girls’ parties make you look uncool to clubs.

They better enjoy the payday while they still have the major network cred. As The New York Times notes, as a show grows and stars demand bigger paydays, they become riskier propositions for networks that once heralded them as cheap, low-risk endeavors.

A glance through the reality TV sausagemaking stories shows that the executives behind them are as ruthlessly fickle as the audience. Take Bravo’s Andy Cohen in The Times:

For Mr. Cohen, the crucial word is “ensemble.” He and other executives assert that almost any reality cast member is expendable, even if the person has been on a show for multiple seasons. Some housewives have departed because of financial disputes with Bravo – “I think it’s happened a couple times,” Mr. Cohen said – and the producers have successfully replaced them.

The opposite of being expendable is when they won’t let you leave, as described by the anonymous reality TV executive interviewed by Esquire:

I keep them on the show if they want to quit. If a girl wants to quit I’ll say, “Do you really want one of the guys to win? Do you really want to let female viewers down?” You’re like their coach; you’re coaching them on how to win the game.

Their coach. Their enabler. Their policeman. Their pimp?

Reality Show Casting Secrets [Esquire]
With New Stars, Reality Shows See Costs Rise [NYT]
Jersey Shore Cast’s $25,000 Club Appearances [Daily Beast]

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