There was a time when the only ‘stars’ to be found on reality shows were actors who could have easily had their own version of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Though most reality series claiming to be of the ‘celebrity’ version feature the likes of Gilbert Gottfried and Bridgette Nielsen, the reality stars of tomorrow might actually be Snoop Dogg and Jennifer Lopez.
It’s clear why the reality bug hits B-, C- and D-list performers, but A-listers are creeping their way into the reality spotlight. The announcement of J-Lo’s new series for TLC created much buzz, particularly after reports came out that Lopez doesn’t plan to reveal her family life on TV and the show will only be about her perfume launch, making this series sound similar to Diddy’s Making the Band, a show that featured an A-list star, but showed him in a very limited and controlled situation.
Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, is letting the cameras in, following him as he attends yoga classes, renews his wedding vows and encourages his kids to play soccer. Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, much like Pamela Anderson’s new show for E!, will be more akin to The Osbournes and Gene Simmons Family Jewels in this way.
With higher profile celebrities taking on reality, are audiences turning away from programs starring lower-grade celebs? Vanessa Case, VP of programming and scheduling for E! Canada, doesn’t think so. ‘I’m a firm believer that celebrity-based shows starring celebrities of any caliber are here to stay for quite a while,’ says Case. She feels tabloid television, which she calls ‘guilty pleasure entertainment,’ holds a lot of power with viewers, drawing them in day after day. Though the range of celebrity is getting bigger, it seems it’s the behind-the-scenes view, not the big names, that continues to draw in viewers.