During the Writers Guild strike in 2007-2008, reality shows blossomed as networks put the brakes on scripted shows and plugged their scheduling holes with reality fare.
Stuart Fischoff, a professor who founded the journal Media Psychology, said shows such as “Housewives” have taken a unique place in American culture, but don’t necessarily reflect society at large.
“These shows are really not average Americans anymore,” he said. “You have a lot of exhibitionists and people who want to get into the biz who are sacrificing themselves.”
Richards said in his client’s case, he was willing to join “Housewives” to support his wife and build his own brand.
“They prey on an addiction more powerful than heroin or Oxycontin, which is the addiction of being famous,” Richards said.
Fischoff said he was surprised that producers and networks hadn’t developed a better support system for the former reality star akin to the advocacy group that now lobbies for child actors. “You’re going to have all these people who are walking wounded,” he said.
Richards doubts any support network will ever emerge. “I don’t think there’s a lot of sympathy for these people,” he said.
I have two thoughts on that at the moment — ‘not like average Americans’ have become the norm; everybody has either been on an episode, tried out for one or worked on one, it seems. The responsibility of the fame churners has now only shifted to the far more vulnerable Joe ‘public.’ Stay tuned.