Durable participants: A generational approach to reality tv's 'ordinary' labor pool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The expansion of reality programming across television's changing landscape has been the result of industrial strategies that seek out specific types of real people in order to cast them on particular types of shows. In the US, this practice has resulted in the reconfiguration of ordinary people into durable forms of talent. This paper adopts a generational model in order to contextualize the evolving status of reality TV's participants since the genre's (re)emergence at the turn of the century. In so doing, assertions that reality TV's participants are unexceptional and therefore inherently disposable are argued to be increasingly inadequate when considered in the light of emerging post-network business models and labor practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1076
Number of pages16
JournalMedia, Culture and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Jersey Shore
  • The Real World
  • Top Chef
  • celebrity
  • labor
  • post-network
  • reality TV
  • television


Dive into the research topics of 'Durable participants: A generational approach to reality tv's 'ordinary' labor pool'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this