Despite its centrality in the production, circulation and consumption of contemporary celebrity culture, the detailed study of television fame has occupied a relatively marginal place in star/celebrity studies. Early work on television fame originated from film studies, or was generally defined ‘against’ the concept of film stardom. This meant that it was often characterised negatively: the apparent specificities or qualities of TV fame were defined in pejorative terms, and it was imagined in terms of what it was not (‘film’ stardom proper). The subsequent expansion of celebrity studies has arguably placed less emphasis on the specificity of media forms and boundaries – in part reflecting the fluid and pervasive circulation of contemporary media fame. We suggest here that this has created a conceptual context in which the real complexities of TV fame have fallen between the analytical cracks. This article thus seeks to explore the ways in which television fame has been positioned within star/celebrity studies, while also examining how a range of historical and contemporary studies can illuminate the possibilities and challenges for the future study of TV fame.
|Number of pages
|Published - Mar 2010