The Branson Called You

Richard Branson, the high-energy CEO of Virgin, has signed on with Fox to develop a new reality TV show. Like the business moguls Mark Cuban and Donald Trump before him, Branson will challenge contestants to overcome a series of challenges in order to join his organization.

A New York Daily News article calls the wave of TV shows "billionaire entertainment."

Brad Adgate, director of research at Horizon Media, said the nets are hot on the mogul reality wave because they see an opportunity to reach affluent viewers who are hotly sought after by advertisers. But the nets have been hush-hush on how these business kingpins will take home.

Oh, so? I don't see the billionaire appeal. If anything, I think the formula remains the same: self-improvement. In "Average Joe," the hope was to get the girl. In "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," it was to improve your image. For "American Idol," it's stardom. And for these business-related shows, I don't think the appeal is for billionaire viewers at all.

The appeal is for people who want to improve their situation. People who want a launch pad to a better career, to develop an idea, to create their own business. What do you think?

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  • Tom Asacker


    I am SO glad that you modified your observation from "self-improvement" to "situation improvement." "Get the girl. Improve your image. Stardom." I was begininning to worry about you.

    No . . . I take that back. I AM worried about you. Dude. You've been working at a business magazine for WAY too long. Take a vacation.

  • johnmoore

    I see this as yet another example of tapping into the Aspirational Gap. As I wrote in a FC Now Blog last December... "A gap exists between a consumer's aspirations and their actual lifestyle. All consumers aspire to live a certain lifestyle but most times they settle for living a life below their aspirations. Successful lifestyle brands are designed to tap into people's aspirations and then offer these consumers a way to actualize their aspirations."

    As off-kilter as it may seem, this latest rash of Billionaire Wanna-be Reality TV seems geared to "help" viewers actualize their aspirations of living the so-called good life.


  • Brian Smith

    I would have to agree. It's not like affluent viewers are saying, "So let's see how he makes HIS billions." And although the networks are selling these shows in a "self-improvement" light, I think the real attraction is much more simplistic than that... envy. "I want what they have." And I just can't see someone who is already a billionaire being envious of someone else's wealth. But who knows... maybe I just have to be that wealthy myself before I would really know for sure.