For the last decade (more or less) I have been reading, watching, writing, and editing (and editing and editing and editing). And now, at long last, my book on MTV is REAL!
Millennials Killed the Video Star: MTV’s Transition to Reality Programming historicizes and analyzes MTV’s original cycle of scripted, identity-focused reality shows that started with Laguna Beach (2004-2006) and continues on today with series like Catfish (2012-to the present). Why did MTV stop selling rock music videos and start selling identity-focused reality television in the 2000s, and what might this shift reveal about the way Millennial youth were instructed to understand identity (their own, of those around them, and of the subjects they watch on reality TV)? I provide a historical, industrial, and cultural context for what I am calling MTV’s “reality identity cycle,” to illustrate how the discourses surrounding reality TV, celebrity, and identity were shifting in the 2000s for Millennial audiences. I analyze MTV’s larger role in discourses of self-governance in relation to Millennial youth identities in particular, the fascination with and normalization of self-scripting and self-disclosure that characterizes Millennial public discourse. For Millennial youth audiences, the first youth generation who regularly documented and projected their selfhood via social media and smartphones, MTV’s reality programming functioned as an “identity workbook,” showcasing a variety of ways of being in the world. This book tells the story of MTV’s changing programming and the role that this programming has played in the way Millennial audiences of the 2000s thought about, talked about, and embraced a variety of identities.
One thing that sets this book apart from other scholarship on MTV’s reality programming is that it relies on a series of first-person interviews I conducted over the last few years with the producers and stars of some of the most prominent reality series airing on MTV, including Jonathan Murray, producer and co-creator of The Real World, Max Joseph, co-host of Catfish, and Dia Sokol Savage, executive producer of 16 & Pregnant as well as the Teen Mom franchise. I was also fortunate enough to speak with Irene McGee a former The Real World and Paula Maronek Beckert, alum of The Real World: Key West. These interviews offer detailed and candid insights into casting, filming, and editing MTV reality series over the last 25 years, as well as the changes to format and content that have occurred in long-running series like The Real World and Teen Mom.
Should you read my book? Well, let’s see. If you like:
2. Trash talking from former The Real World cast members
3. Lauren Conrad when she was still called L.C.
5. Wondering what is up with Farrah Abraham…
Then hoo boy, this is the book for YOU! You can order the full book in early 2021 (for yourself or for your university library!). But my publisher, Duke University Press, is generously providing the introduction to read in advance!Download a PDF of the introduction FOR FREE with this link: https://www.dukeupress.edu/…/978-1-4780-1130-9_601.pdf