Who will be idol? The importance of social networks for winning on reality shows

Odelia Heizler Cohen*, Ayal Kimhi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines, both theoretically and empirically, the effect of social networks and belonging to minority groups (or race) on the probability of winning in reality television shows. We develop a theoretical model that studies viewer behavior by presenting a framework of competition between two contestants from two different groups. The results are examined empirically using unique contestant data from the highly popular reality show " A Star Is Born" , the Israeli counterpart of " American Idol" Our main finding is that social networks and belonging to minority groups play key roles in the contestant's victory. While the effect of belonging to a minority group is positive, the social network effect is U-shaped. Beyond the world of reality TV, this paper sheds light on the general behavior of social networks as well.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Socio-Economics
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

Keywords

  • American idol
  • Contest
  • Minority groups
  • Social networks
  • Voting

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