Jessica Simpson’s ‘The Price Of Beauty’

Aside from the occasional jabs at her weight and lambasting of her negative effect on star quarterbacks, Jessica Simpson seems to have drifted from the spotlight more than one would expect from a multi-platinum-selling artist and previous star of the reality series “Newlyweds” alongside then-husband Nick Lachey. What better way for a dwindling celebrity to revitalize her career than through the wonderful world of reality TV (again)? “The Price of Beauty,” which premiered this past Monday on VH1, follows Simpson as she travels the world to see the lengths some women will go to be “beautiful.” Unfortunately, after the show only managed to attract 1 million viewers, it may be in need of its own makeover. One million may seem like a lot of people. But when you take into account that the rerun of the show “Pawn Stars” on The History Channel brought in more viewers than a premiere starring pop sensation Jessica Simpson, it’s, for lack of a better word, ugly.

Simpson isn’t alone, though. While reality TV has ruled the landscape for some time now, some shows have struggled to stay desirable for their audiences and to keep up their ratings. Here’s a look at how some other reality shows are managing as they begin to age.

“American Idol”

“American Idol” has been a behemoth of a show for 9 straight seasons. But despite some of the cosmetic changes to the judges table, most notably Ellen Degeneres’ replacement of Paula Abdul, the show’s ratings have been slumping. This past week, the Top 12 performed, bringing in a victorious average of 22.6 million viewers for Tuesday night, and 20.5 million for Wednesday night, according to Zap2It. However, this is down more than 10% from last year’s Top 13 show, which brought in an average 25.2 million viewers. Some have blamed it on the departure of Paula and her nightly antics, while others feel it’s the fault of this season’s less-than-spectacular contestants.

The Apprentice

“Celebrity Apprentice” has become a household name to most. But you can’t forget that it all started back in 2004 with the original “Apprentice,” in which normal, un-famous people vied for a chance to work under Donald Trump, the same man who tried to trademark the phrase “You’re fired.” Unfortunately, the show has been on a decline the last couple of years. For the season premiere on Sunday, roughly 8.3 million viewers tuned in, which was down 18% vs. its 2009 premiere in the targeted 18-49 demographic. This week, Trump and the show’s producers announced that they would be bringing “Apprentice” back to its roots next season by giving “ordinary candidates plagued by the sour job market” a chance to work for Mr. Trump. An added twist will be in the infamous boardroom, where Trump will give those he fires some 1-on-1 advice in the last few minutes of the show. Perhaps the producers are making these changes for the public good, or perhaps they’re just nostalgic for their younger days when 20+ million viewers were tuning in to the show’s first season.

“Millionaire Matchmaker”

Now in its third season on Bravo, “Millionaire Matchmaker” is experiencing its best ratings yet, averaging 1.7 million viewers per episode — up 17% from last year, according to Reuters. Even with its current success, “Matchmaker” is trying a new look. This week, the show’s producers announced it would be following matchmaker Patti Stanger to New York City for the first time to extend her business to a new list of wealthy clientele.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race”

“Drag Race” is a newer show in which drag queens compete for the title of America’s next drag superstar. Kind of like “America’s Next Top Model,” except with wigs and Carol Channing impersonations. The show, which has been a huge success for cable network LOGO, is only in its second season. However, its host, RuPaul, is no new face to our living rooms, having starred in numerous movies and TV shows. The series has been bringing just under a half-million viewers each week, which is great for the niche cable network. With ratings like these, RuPaul has proven that reality TV is still king… or queen.

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