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Money for Nothing
May 23, 2011 3:45 AM   Subscribe

In 2009, Jon Gosselin was offered $365,000 for interviews: how reality stars, celebrity parents and rehab workers make money selling gossip to celebrity websites and TV shows.
posted by Georgina (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
And how you pay for it if you click those links or buy those tabloids or watch those entertainment news shows.
posted by pracowity at 4:01 AM on May 23, 2011


How odd. A story about non-stories being legitimized by publication in the NY Times. Its kinda the heart of Metafilter, I tell ya!
posted by hal_c_on at 4:20 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


David Berkowitz has gotta be thinking "of course! It's so simple!"
posted by ShutterBun at 4:25 AM on May 23, 2011


In 2009, Jon Gosselin was offered $365,000 for interviews

he makes a thousand dollars a day
he makes a thousand dollars a day
i got zero interest in what he say
but it don't matter, cause anyway
he makes a thousand dollars a day

he makes seventy cents a minute
he makes seventy cents a minute
i got zero interest in it
but whichever way you skin it
he makes seventy cents a minute
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:26 AM on May 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


and that's a thousand dollars a day
hey hey!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:27 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Paywalled now? Does NYT want a cut? (or is that just due to multiple clicks on my part?)
posted by ShutterBun at 4:29 AM on May 23, 2011


I have no trouble imagining Lindsay Lohan's dad, upon finding out his newborn child was a girl, saying to himself, "I gotta monetize this."
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:29 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Eh, it's just selling a different form of entertainment they star in. What makes it so different from being paid to be in a production due to celebrity status?
posted by jaduncan at 4:38 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the problem might be that this particular form of "celebrity appearances" might actually encourage lawbreaking in exchange for a payday. I can only think of a few entertainment productions that would legitimately qualify as "breaking the law."
posted by ShutterBun at 4:44 AM on May 23, 2011


I know Cortex's dark secret. Bidding starts below.
posted by dortmunder at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2011


I can only think of a few entertainment productions that would legitimately qualify as "breaking the law."

And I can only think of one.
posted by three blind mice at 4:50 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


"This is how it works in the new world of round-the-clock gossip, where even a B-list celebrity’s tangle with the law can be spun into easy money circulation figures, feeding the public’s seemingly bottomless appetite for dirt about the famous."

Hypocracy masquerading as lofty, academic journalism. Any media outlet that writes about celebrities is fuelling that "seemingly bottomless" craving, whether they dirty their gloves in a bidding war or stand smugly back and report on the feeding frenzy.

And disappointingly but predictably, there is no attempt to answer the million dollar question: what is behind this demand for celebrity gossip? It's not so easy to look down your nose at these degenerate gossip whores when you consciously acknowledge that your salary is paid by the ad revenue they generate.

Not so smug and lofty now, are you?
posted by londonmark at 5:17 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


flapjax, you'll be putting up the Dylanesque folk track on MeFi Music any minute now, right?
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:19 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh. I'm getting John Gosselin mixed up with Jean-Marc Gosselar. Before I read the story, I was feeling relief that there was a safety net now in place for former stars of "Saved by the Bell", after the sad story of Dustin Diamond.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:28 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


A few years ago, a movie star of some renown was filming a scene in my store. Somehow, a rumor hit the internet that he was chased by screaming fans into the path of an oncoming taxicab. Nothing of the sort happened, but I did get a call from an aquaintance who works at a major metropolitan daily. I should have said "Buy me a drink and I'll tell all I know." Then after downing the drink said "I know nothing. Thanks."
posted by jonmc at 5:30 AM on May 23, 2011


There is something kind of astounding and depressing about this. Reality TV is a weird business.
posted by OmieWise at 5:35 AM on May 23, 2011


In 2009, Jon Gosselin was offered $365,000 for interviews......

In 2011, no one cares.
posted by Fizz at 5:35 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


what is behind this demand for celebrity gossip?

Hunting and gathering could be coordinated with grunts and pointing. Language evolved for the more nuanced purposes of gossip.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:42 AM on May 23, 2011


what is behind this demand for celebrity gossip?

same thing that's behind demand for gossip about your co-workers: morbid curiosity and a need to feel superior, and boredom.
posted by jonmc at 5:46 AM on May 23, 2011


Although...a MeFi gossip rag has possibilities. Imagine the headlines:

Pink Superhero Wears Black!
orthogonality seen leaving novena
jonmc wearing Smiths t-shirt!
Hermitosis alive and living in Manitoba!
posted by jonmc at 5:53 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


morbid curiosity and a need to feel superior, and boredom

Yes, that. Or the need to sell things to stupid people. Gossip is not, in itself, the industry; we are.
posted by londonmark at 5:53 AM on May 23, 2011


Hypocracy masquerading as lofty, academic journalism.

After having a look at TMZ, I'm pretty sure there remains a big difference between the Times and TMZ. They aren't automatically reduced to the same level just because the Times writes an occasional piece about the gossip industry. It's not as if the Times is running a daily column on the front page deploring that day's TMZ front page while reproducing TMZ's cleavage shots.
posted by pracowity at 5:54 AM on May 23, 2011


It's not as if the Times is running a daily column on the front page deploring that day's TMZ front page while reproducing TMZ's cleavage shots.

No, that would be the Daily News.
posted by briank at 5:56 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Great read... and yeah, pretty messed up.
posted by ph00dz at 6:17 AM on May 23, 2011


I was being unnecessarily obtuse, but I do strongly believe the NYT is as implicit in our celebrity culture as the gossip rags and sites it finds so fascinating. For every seedy expose churned our by the bottom feeders, there's a sycophantic puff piece in a broadsheet or on a more reputable news site. They might appear different on the surface, but both kinds of story are essentially doing the same thing. We cultivate celebrity to sell stuff -- whether it's the products they are endorsing, or the stuff being advertised alongside the reporting. The seedier stuff is just the inevitable result of a marketing strategy that demands a constant supply of new and fresh celebrity-driven journalism. Marketeers have every reason to welcome and encourage the broadest possible range of stories and see very little difference between them.

Not to absolve the lowly punters of responsibility, but it's not just supply meeting demand. As any parent of a five-year old will tell you, demand does not spring into being of its own free will. We'd hardly need advertising if it did.
posted by londonmark at 6:29 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


A good friend of mine went to college with and had the same academic major as Monica Lewinsky. Despite this, he never really knew her (she was a teacher's assistant in one of his classes, but that was their only interaction).

This did not prevent several news outlets from contacting him incessantly when the scandal with President Clinton broke, offering all sorts of perks and money if he would give a tell-all interview. This friend happens to come from a very wealthy family and thus could not be enticed by these sort of offers, but I can't help but wonder what kind of nonsense a person in a similar situation who could use the cash or free travel would be willing to make up if offered the same.
posted by The Gooch at 7:45 AM on May 23, 2011


Oh. I'm getting John Gosselin mixed up with Jean-Marc Gosselar...

...whom you're getting mixed up with Mark-Paul Gosselaar.
posted by hermitosis at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


ShutterBun: Paywalled now? Does NYT want a cut? (or is that just due to multiple clicks on my part?)

Look at your cookies. Delete ALL the cookies from the NYT which are from a section (citydesk, leisure, etc), and look at the ones which are from the top level of the domain "nytimes.com". You'll find a couple, one which has a date relatively recent in the past and one which is about a month from now. Delete both of those. You can leave the rest to help you keep your login.

Ta DAAAA! That eliminates the monthly counter tracking thing and now you'll have another 20 articles you can view for the month.

posted by hippybear at 8:36 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or just copy and paste the title of the article into Google, Google it, click the Google link to the article, and the article opens.
posted by pracowity at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to one study, humans are hard-wired for gossip, especially negative gossip. Researchers found that when test subjects viewed images of people about whom they were told something either good, bad, or neutral, subjects stared longer at those who had done something bad. "Bad gossip included 'hit a small child'. Neutral gossip might be 'rode the elevator with a co-worker'. An example of good gossip was 'helped an elderly woman with her groceries'."
The results showed that the volunteers registered the faces associated with negative gossip for the longest period of time, compared to images that were either neutral or positive.

The authors note that the faces themselves were all quite similar, so as to avoid the possibility that the volunteers would be responding to different features in the pictures themselves.

...

Scientists have speculated that humans evolved to be insatiable gossips because our rumour-obsessed ancestors were more likely to survive to have children.

Gossip may have helped humans living in large groups to learn indirectly about each others' characters. The theory is that keen gossips were better at attracting and keeping lovers, and deciding who was a threat to their survival.

"Gossip helps us predict who is friend and foe without first-hand experience of that person, and probably evolved to protect us from liars and cheaters," said Feldman Barrett.
posted by taz at 9:57 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, wrong link. This is the one I was quoting from, but they are both articles about the same study.
posted by taz at 9:59 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


(when they're up when they're up) kick 'em when they're down
posted by and for no one at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2011


Sometimes the New York Times, as much as I read it, reminds me how many more view points there are in the world.

From the article:

Lindsay Lohan, who first impressed critics in 1998 by playing 11-year-old twins in “The Parent Trap,” had a bright acting future but began struggling with drugs, alcohol and the law, often in public view. Now she is on the gossip sites daily, alternately as a comeback-in-waiting and a onetime prodigy gone wrong.

I wonder what it's like to be the type of person who needs to have this explanation of what a Lindsay Loihan is. While I have no shame of my pop culture love, I bet it's a brighter (and I don't mean intellectually) place.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2011


Yeah, I don't know what a Loihan is either
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2011


I feel kind of naive for not thinking of it in these terms before, but imagine being Lindsay Lohan and having both parents selling stories about you for money.
posted by slmorri at 11:32 AM on May 23, 2011


Get a library card and read the NY Times for free.
posted by brujita at 9:23 PM on May 23, 2011


Hermitosis: ...whom you're getting mixed up with Mark-Paul Gosselaar.

GOSSELARS ALL THE WAY DOWN.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:29 AM on May 24, 2011


Paywalled now? Does NYT want a cut? (or is that just due to multiple clicks on my part?)
Just hit the stop button in your browser before the paywal notification pops up, and you can read the whole thing. Or you can just read the article in another browser, since the limit is actually cookie based.
posted by delmoi at 3:48 AM on May 24, 2011


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