Impact of Celebrity on Entertainemnt as a Form of Communication

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Catering to the Celebrity Obsession

Communication is by definition an interchange of thoughts, opinions or information that is considered to be of some type of importance. Media disseminates this information through a multitude of outlets such as television, newspapers, magazines, internet etc. The media is used for a variety of purposes including: advertising, governmental campaigns, education and entertainment.

Over the past twenty years television networks have focused on entertaining viewers through media. Networks entertain their audiences by appealing to their interest with the type of programs they produce. In recent years there has been an emergence of a new type of program, Entertainment New Magazines. These programs focus on celebrity news/gossip, fashion tips, exercise/health and red carpet coverage. Examples of these programs include NBC's Access Hollywood, Paramount-CBS' Entertainment Tonight, and Warner Bros. Extra. All of these programs have emerged in the past ten years and have obtained a devoted and loyal fan base. Many may wonder why these programs have grown so much in recent years. The most apparent reason seems to be the public's infatuation with celebrity.

The American obsession with celebrity has grown at an alarming rate. Media recognizes that and makes use of it.. Simply put in an article in
USA Today, "America is enmeshed in a harmonic convergence of celebrity infatuation. Celebrities fill our magazines and our TV screens. Celebrities tell us what books to read. What shoes to buy. What perfume to wear. And, of course, celebrities seek our votes. The nation's new manifest destiny is a non-stop celebration of all things famous." Entertainment News Magazines provide their audiences with the opportunity to feel as if they are a part of the celebrity world. In the past celebrities appeared to be inaccessible to the public. Now all one needs to do is turn on their television and be informed of the intimate details of Jessica Simpson's divorce or Mel Gibson's DUI incident. Celebrities' lives have become a topic of discussion in all crowds. Whether people discuss stars fashion choices, eating habits or current love interests they are still partaking in the mania of celebrity news and gossip. The public entertains themselves, and are entertained by celebrity news.

What or Whom is to blame for this sudden infatuation? Some point the finger at the media. Dick Clark a long time celebrity feels that, "celebrity obsession is mostly an outgrowth of tabloid newspapers, trash TV and the Internet." In some ways Clark is correct if Americans were not provided television shows that focus on celebrities and their lives the interest may not be as high. But on the other hand it is not to say that the obsession with celebrity would completely die due to a lack of information. Celebrities are a form of entertainment and have been for a long time. It is unlikely that the media is the sole power responsible for the obsession.

If communication is used to distribute information of importance, and entertainment is a form of communication, is it to say that what Americans deem important is celebrity gossip? With the growing following of Entertainment News magazines, the logical response to the question seems to be - -yes- -. It is hard to fathom that what Americans regard as valuable information is the personal details of celebrities' lives. The real question one should mull over though, is, "Does celebrity news add value to our lives"


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