With reality stars asking for bigger paychecks the more successful their shows become, it begs the question whether some may be pricing themselves out of a job,reports Brian Stelter in the New York Times.
There are two dynamics at work, according to the story. The first is that reality shows are engineered to be cheap to produce, and the second is that sometimes reality stars’ pay balloons just as the shows are starting to shed viewers.
"The reality show ‘The Hills,’ which ended last month after six seasons, seems like a case study of those proportions breaking down; its stars, plucked from obscurity, were collecting six-figure paychecks near the end, yet the show’s ratings were sinking," Stelter writes. Chris Linn, executive vice president for MTV Production, said during his six years at the company it hadn’t canceled a program because it had priced itself off the air, the story adds.
The latest example of reality stars’ growing pay is that of the "Jersey Shore" cast, which combined made about $25,000 for the show’s entire first season, the article says. But after the show became a hit, MTV gave $10,000 per episode to the cast. And in negotiations that played out in the press, cast insisted for another raise before shooting the second half of the second season.
And then there are the risks of personality issues: reality stars would do well to study "Jon & Kate Plus 8," which was providing the Gosselin family with $22,500 an episode. "The show fizzled last year when the lead characters split up. That would seem like a cautionary tale to reality stars everywhere," Stelter writes.