The price of (retained) fame


Summer is approaching, with warm weather hopefully on the horizon. Already though it feels like silly season has arrived given the extreme measures people have been taking simply to secure their place in the popularity rankings.

It’s certainly nothing new, celebs rise to prominence only to then find their popularity on the wane. But how far is too far when it comes to selling your story, personality, or brand image in the name of bolstering that public profile?
Recent weeks have provided countless talking points on this issue. A certain music industry big-wig’s ‘unauthorised’ biography springs to mind as the most glaring example. Apparently Mr Cowell had been a little evasive with the book’s writer, Tom Bower, and some of the ‘revelations’ inside have been revealed much to the displeasure of its subject. But then let’s look at the surrounding evidence.
X Factor’s ratings are in decline, both in the UK and Stateside, with stiff competition coming from Strictly Come Dancing, The Voice, and that other show Cowell judges, Britain’s Got Talent (with the latter two currently in a ratings war BGT is losing). Coupled with this his last attempt to create something new resulted in the dud Red Or Black, all of which suggests his days on top may be numbered.
With this in mind if the opportunity arose for a biography to be published that puts the once all-powerful host back in the limelight it could benefit all those involved. Not least as contained therein are ‘shocking secrets’ that double up as evidence suggesting Cowell isn’t as camp as his wardrobe decisions and beauty regime suggests. Suffice to say though, he may have (allegedly) had a fling with Dannii Minogue and, way back when, Sinitta, but nobody in this office is convinced.

Sticking on the music front Madonna’s made some bold moves of late too. It’s probably unnecessary to explain that the latest LP from this mature star, MDNA, is a direct reference to illegal drugs she’s arguably too old to still dabble in, so let’s focus on two tracks therein. I F****d Up will clearly raise an eyebrow or two, whilst single Girls Gone Wild, and its accompanying video full of gyrations and chains, is similarly ‘shocking’, though mainly because the woman in question is 54. Now I’m not saying she’s worried about competing in a pop marketplace overrun with successful, younger females, but if she were this would be a logical reaction, albeit one that could potentially traumatise some viewers.
It’s not just musos that come to mind, either. Ricky Gervais’ recent controversial Channel 4 pilot Derek, which was accused of poking fun at a guy who may be academically and socially challenged, has come at a time when the comedian’s reputation is at its lowest. Idiot Abroad is OK, but The Ricky Gervais Show isn’t, at all. Again, to insinuate that following the runaway successes of Extras and The Office the funnyman’s lack of smash hits has led to a crisis of (egotistical) confidence, which in turn gave rise to his decision to go for a sensitive, ratings-grabbing subject matter, would be speculation. But it does make perfect sense.
Whatever the reality there’s no denying extreme measures can lead to a measured increase in sales, but then how many times have we seen this happen, only to then witness the celebrity continue falling from the front page after the smoke finally clears? So is it a good idea to go to such lengths in order to stay in the press? Furthermore, do you think these examples can be labelled as mere attempts to generate publicity? Why not share your own thoughts on the matter via the comments form below and let’s see if they match our own theory.