Sunday, September 5, 2010

Teen Mom: "I'm Broke"

I saw this headline at the checkout stand at the grocery store on US Magazine. I have never read US magazine and have no desire to (as well as every other magazine that is on the checkout stand).

Why would a magazine boast such an obvious statement? Teenagers don't happen to have a whole lot of marketable skills - hence, the reason they are paid minimum wage as opposed to $100,000. I am assuming that the girl pictured is probably 15-17. Next, teenage moms, particularly single teenage moms are among the poorest demographic in the country. Turns out the lack of marketable skills combined with the expenses of a newborn end up resulting in poverty.

From reading more on the cover, I figured out that there is a reality show about teenage moms. Guess what, reality tv doesn't pay a whole lot (unless you have previously made a sex tape and are famous for being famous). The whole rise of the reality tv genre was to counter the fact that actor/actress based shows were getting very expensive.

So, if you are a network TV exec (remember the primary goal of for profit companies, even media ones, is to make a profit) and you have the TV show "Friends" which costs at least $6 million per episode with 22 episodes per season. And there are 8 million people that watch "Friends" regularly. That is $132 million each season.

On the other hand, someone pitches you the idea of "Survivor". There will be 16 episodes, and the grand prize will be $1 million dollars. All the contestants will just be ordinary people who want their 15 minutes of fame. Even though you are putting them in an exotic local, and you plan on spending gobs of money on sets and stuff, in the end, the cost per episode is only about $1 million. Total cost $17 million. Oh yeah, and you are going to get 8 million people to watch it. So which do you choose?

I can't imagine that whatever channel has the teenage mom show is paying the teenage moms anything more than $100,000 per season (probably more like $10,000). On it you probably have a bunch of narcissitic teens who are looking for their 15 minutes of fame. More than likely they are as good with money decisions as they are in deciding the best time to start a family.

So "Teen Mom: "I'm Broke"" - NO DUH!!

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