The latest trend? Fashion and beauty reality TV

Mannequins wearing the designs of Leanne Marshall, Project Runway's Season 5 winner, are seen at an event for the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on July 25, 2009.

Steve Chiotakis: More than 100 new reality TV shows are in the works for summer and fall and a large swath of them are focusing their lenses on beauty and fashion. But with competition like "Project Runway" and "Say Yes to the Dress," is there really a market for more?

Reporter Sally Herships reports.


Sally Herships: Wedding dresses, nail polish, jewelry -- and the people who sell them. These are the focus of some of reality TV's newest shows. More than 20 are about fashion and beauty. Why?

Porter Bibb: Reality programming is about the lowest cost programming that any network can produce.

Porter Bibb of Media Tech Capital Partners says a typical reality show can cost just a quarter of what a drama would run.

Bibb: They pay almost nothing to the reality talent, if you want to call it that.

But those amateurs seem to know how to make it work. Ben Grossman is editor of Broadcasting and Cable Magazine. He says during tough economic times, viewers turn to reality fashion and beauty TV for more than fluff.

Ben Grossman: So you're not just looking to be entertained, you're actually looking to get something practical that you can use in your life. That's been a huge reason that these things are so popular.

Not just with viewers, but with advertisers too. Every time a manicurist opens a bottle of Flashbulb Fuschia or Atomic Orange, everyone sees the designer label.

I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

About the author

Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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