When will I be famous? Reality TV and celebrity


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Billy couldn't make the lecture so I stepped in to cover the session using his notes (these). There's a video playlist attached at: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRCHqijqFjGvNuJ9ALGdaHOeeiLi6SII8

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  • MJ, Marlon Brando, Beckham, Pacino, Lucas, Hitch, FF Coppola, Audrey
  • Jade, Leona, Joey Essex (TOWIE), Frankie Cocozza (X Factor), Paris Hilton, ??? Rik Waller?, Katie Price, Susan Boyle
  • using different words to say the same thing – a ‘true fact’
  • When will I be famous? Reality TV and celebrity

    1. 1. Billy Proctor billyproctor@hotmail.co.uk Rob Jewitt robert.jewitt@sunderland.ac.ukWhen Will I Be Famous? Cultures of Celebrity in Reality TV 1
    2. 2. Guess Who? 2
    3. 3. Guess Who 2? 3
    4. 4. Celebrification I want to be a star. I want to be adored. I want to see and hear the screams of my fans and the roar of an ecstatic applause. I want my name in neon lights and my handprints on the Hollywood Boulevard. I want money. I want lots of money. I want a heavenly mansion in Beverley Hills and a string of servants to pay my bills. I want wealth. I want to land a helicopter on my luscious lawn. I want sex. I want drug and alcohol excess. I want a size 8 supermodel in my heart-shaped swimming pool. Give me luxury leather.  Sean Redmond in Holmes & Jermyn, 2006: p.1 4
    5. 5. Starsuckers (2009, UK, C. Aitkens) 5
    6. 6. Celebrification „The desire for fame, stardom or celebrification stems from a need to be wanted in a society where being famous appears to offer enormous material, economic, social and psychic rewards...  Su Holmes & Deborah Jermyn, 2006: p.2-3 6
    7. 7. Celebrification If you are not famous then you exist at the periphery of the power networks that circulate in and through the popular media. If you are not famous you help make up the legions of fans that celebrate the famous. If you are not famous you become part of deifying crowd who help co-produce (along with the popular media) the overriding impression that stars and celebrities are indeed at the centre of things. To be famous is to be famous and that‟s all that matters  Su Holmes & Deborah Jermyn, 2006: p.2-3 7
    8. 8. What is celebrity? „First, commentary in the popular media...tends to regard the modern celebrity as a symptom of a worrying cultural shift: towards a culture that privileges the momentary, the visual and the sensational over the enduring, the written, and the rational. Second, those who consume and invest in celebrity tend to describe it as an innate or „natural‟ quality ... [here] the defining qualities of the celebrity are both natural and magical ... Third, and in striking contrast to this, the academic literature ... has tended to focus on celebrity as the product of a number of cultural and economic processes  Turner, 2004: 4 8
    9. 9. History „there was no such thing as celebrity prior to the 20th Century‟  Richard Schickel, 2000: 23 (cited in Turner, 2004) „fame and celebrity have co-existed for centuries‟  Barry, 2008: 252 9
    10. 10. The First Celebrity? 10
    11. 11. Burke and Hare „these notorious criminals were perhaps the first true celebrities, their reputation disseminated by the popular media rather than poets and historians‟  Kornmeier in Barry, 2008: 253. 11
    12. 12. Dickens and Byron 12
    13. 13. „The famous non-famous‟ „Television is now full of these walking, talking tautologies – figures merely famous for being famous – and in spite of their apparent lack of real training, talent, wisdom or humility, the medium seems only too pleased to continue feeding their craving for the camera‟  McCann, 2002 cited in Holmes, 2004: 111 13
    14. 14. Frankie Cocozza 14
    15. 15. Frankie Cocozza 15
    16. 16. Common people „Ordinariness has always occupied a place among the repertoire of celebrity discourses ... they have always been discovered, suddenly extracted from their everyday lives and processed for stardom; both the film and the music industry have incorporated such processes into their cultural mythologies as well as their industrial practice. In recent times, however, the use of this practice has grown dramatically‟.  Turner, 2004: p12 16
    17. 17. Famous as ordinary? 17
    18. 18. Claire: Slave to Food 18
    19. 19. Dialectic ordinary famous ordinary famous 19
    20. 20. Peter Bazalgette (Endemol, RTS, Dept M.C.S.) „The lament today, from reality TV‟s critics, is why all these awful ordinary people are allowed on television. Their only distinction, apparently, is their desire to show off...the only way they would have got on TV in the old days would have been wedged into some convenient sociological pigeon-hole by the likes of This Week or World in Action. Reality TV is an argument in favour of more diverse programming and access to the airwaves for a more diverse spread of people‟.  Huw Wheldon Address, 2001 20
    21. 21. Capitalism/ Neoliberalism Capitalism requires consumers to develop abstract desire for commodities ... Celebrity culture is therefore partly the expression of a cultural axis organized around abstract desire. It is an essential tool of commodification since it embodies desire. In particular, it provides consumers with compelling standards of emulation  Rojek, 2001: 187 21
    22. 22. 22
    23. 23. 23
    24. 24. Jade Goody Big Brother 2002: Fourth Place 2003: Channel 4‟s 100 Worst Britons. Fourth Place. 2007: Celebrity Big Brother –Race Row 2008: Diagnosed with cancer live on Indian Big Brother, Big Boss. 2009: Succumbs to cervical cancer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iY-CByHw7KA 24
    25. 25. Jade‟s CV Big Brother 2003  You Can‟t Fire Me I‟m Famous Celebrity Big Brother 2007  Living with Jade Jade‟s Salon  Jade‟s Progress Just Jade  Jade‟s Bride to be Stars in Their Eyes (contestant)  Jade‟s Wedding The Weakest Link (contestant)  Jade: With Love The Friday Night Project (presenter)  Jade; As Seen on TV Jade‟s PA  Jade: One Year Later (tribute show) Jade‟s Shape Challenge  Ultimate Big Brother- The Final (15 Minute Tribute) 25
    26. 26. Jade Digital Spy: Jade Goody voted the „ultimate reality star‟. Sir Michael Parkinson: Jade has become property of the media "to be manipulated and exploited till the day she died". He claimed she represented "all that is paltry and wretched about Britain”. More tributes than Michael Jackson. 26
    27. 27. Jade‟s Legacy“Jades story has raised awareness of cervical cancer which has led to hundreds of thousands of people contacting Cancer Research UK for information on the disease as the number of hits to our website, CancerHelp.org shows. Her legacy will be to help save lives”  (Spokesman for Cancer Research). 27
    28. 28. Jade‟s Legacy “This is a tremendous fillip for the NHS screening programme. Jade Goody had a particular impact on the women the NHS struggles to reach - the young and the less well educated. The challenge for public health doctors now is to ensure that this rise is sustained, so that Jade has a long-lasting legacy”  Thomas Moore, health correspondent for Sky News. 28
    29. 29. Jade and the media… 29
    30. 30. Further Reading Barry, Elizabeth (2008) „Celebrity, Cultural Production & Public Life‟, International Journal of Cultural Studies, 11(3), p.251-258. Holmes, Su and Redmond, Sean (2006)(eds.)Framing Celebrity: New Directions in Celebrity Culture. London: Routledge. Holmes, Su & Jermyn, Deborah (2004) (eds.) Understanding Reality Television, London: Routledge Rojek, Chris (2001) Celebrity. London: Reaktion. Schickel, Richard (2000) Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity. New York: Doubleday. Turner, Graham (2004) Understanding Celebrity. London: Sage. 30