Published on October 5th, 20110
Blog: Childs’ Play for Channel 5
It’s been a good couple of weeks for the Richard Desmond PR machine. Still fresh from the buzz [and controversy] surrounding the upcoming Health Lottery on Channel 5, the broadcaster has secured The Only Way is Essex [TOWIE] and Celebrity Big Brother star Amy Childs for the eponymous series, It’s All About Amy.
(c) Can Associates
Childs, a columnist for Desmond’s celebrity news magazine New! broke the news in this week’s edition. Since then, the tabloids [predictably] and the trades [surprisingly], have gone crazy for It’s All About Amy, with yards of newsprint dedicated to TV’s reality star of the moment. In case you are one of the few who missed the news, the show – which airs on Channel 5 in December, is co-produced by Zig Zag Productions and CP Entertainment, will follow every stiletto steeled step of Childs as she embarks on the next stage of her career; most notably the opening of her own beauty salon.
But it’s not so much what the cameras are following that’s interesting. What is interesting is WHY they are following this woman and why she appeals to viewers. After all, isn’t she just another reality TV star to be forgotten about this time next year?
Let’s go back to the 90s for a second. You remember hapless Aeroflot supervisor Jeremy Spake from BBC1 doc series Airport, don’t you? Or Maureen Rees from the Beeb’s docusoap Driving School? ‘Vaguely’, I hear you say. Well, herein lies the difference with Childs. Apart from a short-lived presenting gig and an awful cover of Madness hit Driving in My Car for Spake and Rees respectively, their media careers died shortly after they were born. In contrast, the last few years have produced a different kind of reality star. Ones who not only have/had longevity, but ones whose appearance in high-rating shows means they eventually got one of their own.
Enter the late Jade Goody, who many call the original reality star. Her appearance in Big Brother 3 – a show she didn’t even win – resulted in a host of her own shows for Sky Living [Living as it was called then] such as Jade’s Salon -yes, she opened one, too – and Jade’s P.A. etc. Indeed, her wedding and untimely death from cervical cancer was played out on the box. Jade’s career started and finished on TV.
Indeed, Big Brother 11 stars Josie Gibson and John James also appeared in their own show just last year in another Channel 5/Zig Zag show called Josie and John James: What Happened Next?
Now with shows like ITV2’s TOWIE and E4’s Made in Chelsea, viewers can access a real life soap with drama, taking reality TV in a new direction.
It’s proof – if proof be needed – that reality TV continues to reinvent itself
And with Big Brother having already provided the platform for stardom, only a fool would bet against shows like TOWIE doing likewise.