Celebenomics: Why 'Dancing With the Stars' Is Like a Federal Bailout for Hollywood Careers
By Jo Piazza Posted Mar 8th 2010 04:23PM
It's comforting to know we live in an age where no investment bank, car company or celebrity hot mess will ever be left behind.
In the era of government bailouts and cross-aisle calls for economic revival ABC's 'Dancing with the Stars' has become the public relations equivalent of a Fed bailout.
"Just when you think you've hit rock bottom - there's a rescue plan. If you're AIG, it's the federal government. If you're Pamela Anderson or Shannon Doherty, it's 'Dancing With The Stars," says Catey Hill, New York Daily News Money Editor and author of 'Shoo Jimmy Choo: The Modern Girl's Guide to Spending Less and Saving More.'
After his stint on the third season of 'DWTS, Mario Lopez was able to secure his regular gig as the host of entertainment news show 'Extra', a sexy guest starring role in 'Nip/Tuck' and a spot on Broadway in 'A Chorus Line.' In 2007, former Spice Girl Mel B.'s biggest project was tattooing baby daddy Eddie Murphy's name on her arm, actress Jennie Garth (pre-90210 Renaissance) was reliving her days back at West Beverly (in her mind) and Marie Osmond was designing dolls for QVC, but now the women are household names, pursued for projects, endorsements and book deals.
Just as AIG bungled it's books with insurance against mortgage backed securities and risky debt, and the investment banks faced a black-hole of balance sheet indiscretions, many of the stars saved by 'DWTS' carry with them years of mismanagement, bad decisions, weight gain and dreams of superstardom flushed down the toilet sometime in the past decade.
But, like the bailout, with great power to resurrect comes great responsibility. As the ability of 'DWTS' to jump start a career has become a cottage industry, the clamor to get on their dance card has only risen, which is why for the latest season, slated to start March 22nd, we are seeing a line-up of folks who haven't entirely disappeared from the pop culture radar like toxic multiple mom Kate Gosselin, ESPN's aggrieved Erin Andrews and 'Bachelor' Jake Pavelka. The intentions of these folks is less to revive a failed career and more to manipulate public opinion, because the positive bent of the show with its kitschy costumes and spray tans leaves even the losers feeling like winners on that stage.
Girls on Pop break down the 'DWTS' lineup
"'DWTS' is similar to a Federal Bailout because ABC is providing a lifeline to drama-generating part-time celebs that ordinarily wouldn't make it in front of a camera by giving them money, air-time, and an opportunity for other revenue-generating spots in the media," explains Todd M. Schoenberger, Managing Director of LandColt Trading. "It's a handout; but unlike the government, ABC will receive a decent return on its investment. Government bailout initiatives fail to use the programs to generate additional revenue in the form of job creation, which helps increase the tax rolls. ABC knows how to use this show as a feeder into other projects that can gather the same amount of viewer interest."
It's true that ABC is indeed smarter than the Fed when it comes to how they decide to spend their precious assets. Investing in a fallen star on 'DWTS' not only translates into immediate returns for the network, but by cultivating the star power of 'Bachelor' castaways and ESPN personalities, they are only serving to bolster their other franchises.
Perhaps the network and the Fed could pair up and have titans of industry salsa on live television and allow America to decide their fates. Now that would be democracy at work.
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