The recent popularity of reality television has generated a new category of talent. Reality television stars like Snooki, Kelly Clarkson, and Kim Kardashian have become famous merely because of their appearance on reality television. This new definition of “talent” has not only shaped the reality television genre but has also influenced some of the provisions drafted into reality show participants’ contracts. Producers and networks are claiming that they deserve a cut of the stars’ revenues, as they essentially created their fame. This is seen with Bethenny Frankel, the Real Housewives of New York City star who became famous on the show and then later on went on to create Skinnygirl Cocktails, in addition to writing books and hosting her own talk show. When Frankel sold Skinnygirl Cocktails for more than one hundred million dollars, production companies claimed: “if we put you on the show and you end up doing an endorsement deal or write a book, we’re going to participate in your windfall of revenues.”
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on March 15, 2020. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Rimberg, Stephanie, "The True Reality of Reality Television" (2020). AELJ Blog. 231.