'Jersey Shore': After the Final Season, Is the Party Over for America's Favorite Fist-Pumpers? (VIDEO)
Just three years ago, MTV brought together eight unknown twentysomethings, shacked them up in the summer-getaway spot of Seaside Heights, N.J., and let the cameras roll.
Now after record-setting success as the network’s most-viewed series ever, The Jersey Shore is in its sixth and final season. With this end of an era, what will happen to the show’s fist-pumping, club-hopping cast when the small screen goes to black?
"The future for the Jersey Shore stars, just like for most reality stars, is fairly dim," says Stacy Jones, CEO of Hollywood Branded Inc. "Their appeal and overall public interest will fizzle unless each cast member can manage to keep themselves relevant. Let’s face it, reality TV shows and stars come and go, and the Jersey Shore stars have had more than their share of 15 minutes of fame. Their time of partying must come to an end."
Is there a chance the castmates can extend that quarter hour in the limelight?
Perhaps. But not all of the Jersey Shore stars are made equal — Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino stand out amongst the rest. "Snooki and The Situation are the big personalities within the group, and the others are very much so in the background," explains Jones. "[They] have the ability to make a splash or a scene wherever they go."
Snooki has already catapulted her small-screen fame into a successful brand: The reality star published three books (including New York Times bestseller, A Shore Thing), landed a spinoff series with BFF Jenni “JWoww” Farley, appeared in 2012’s The Three Stooges, threw punches on WWE Raw, and has been parodied throughout pop culture, on shows such as South Park and Saturday Night Live. And just seven weeks ago, the former party girl became a mom when she welcomed her first child with fiancé Jionni LaValle, son Lorenzo Dominic LaValle. And motherhood opens up a world of opportunity for the MTV star.
"I think Snooki will ultimately do a lot better than The Situation because she had a baby," reveals pop culture expert Jo Piazza. "Because she had a baby, she can completely re-brand herself and push herself into this different tier of lasting reality stars." Now, "she is going to do a book about the baby, do a show about the baby, and do all the endorsements around the baby. I think Snooki will ultimately get another series on Lifetime or Oxygen about her being a new mom."Jessica Simpson, who made a likeable name for herself with a string of ditzy quotes like, 'is Chicken of the Sea chicken or tuna?', or Nicole Richie who founded a fashion line, or Bethenny Frankel, queen of SkinnyGirl."
"For the Situation to stay relevant, he has to do something major in his personal life," Piazza explains. "Reality stars have to keep inventing new news because they’re not starring in movies and they’re not releasing CDs. That’s not how the news cycle is built around them. Their personal lives have to become the news, and the things that drive news cycles for reality stars are babies, marriages, divorces and rehab."
The Situation has already hit headlines for rehab, after the beefed-up star sought treatment for prescription-medication addiction earlier this year. So what move might keep The Sitch in the public eye? "I think the next step for him — the only step for him — is getting married," Piazza says. "He's going to have to get engaged and get married and he can capitalize on that wedding and it will keep him relevant." But has The Situation been pigeonholed into his Jersey Shore out-of-control party persona? "It's still unclear how this new Michael Sorrentino will live up to the expectations of his followers," Jones acknowledges. "In his case, his popularity is more so based on his crash and burn – and the more he rights himself, the less he may appeal."Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio maximized on his moment in the spotlight to propel his blossoming DJ career. "Pauly D has gotten himself well established within the Vegas party and touring DJ community – one that is chock full of the younger generation that will help him continue to be popular," says Jones. "While he might have the most legitimate career of all of the cast members," she adds, his spinoff, The Pauly D Project, may struggles in the reality-show ratings race. "Is he a strong enough character to support a spinoff? He's going to need some support casting help as he might be the Joey Tribbiani (of Friends) of this cast."
As for the other members of the Seaside Heights house — Vinny Guadagnino, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, Deena Nicole Cortese, Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro — fame may be fleeting. "I'm a little worried that [they] are in for a wave of pain," reveals Piazza. "I think they will just disappear. That's what we've seen with each reality cycle." While a few break-out personalities manage, the "second tier of people keep trying really hard…and then they kind of fizzle into obscurity."
Despite the odds stacked so heavily against them, the Jersey Shore stars are staying full-speed ahead with their careers. "I want to continue with my DJ career," DelVecchio told Celebuzzat the show's season six premiere party in New York City. "I got some headphones that came out, my cocktail came out, REMIX, and I'm working on an album right now with 50 Cent and we have an energy shot, Street Kings."
Not all of the cast is clinging to fame, though. "As long as I'm happy, successful, and doing what I love to do, that's really all that matters to me," said Giancola. For newly-engaged Farley, the future is about family with fiancé Roger Mathews, revealing her hopes to be "married with two kids" in five years. That might be the more ideal path, given that "the shelf life for fame has just gotten so truncated with the 24-hour news cycle," explains Piazza.
But there may still be a chance for the career-minded Jersey Shore stars to preserve their spotlight. "Reality stars who have TV series end need a team of supporters to help them stay [relevant]," explains Jones. "This means ensuring their publicists and managers continue to help them find ways to be in the public eye. [And] if they wish to leave the TV world and re-brand themselves, they will need a make-under." Her advice? "Tone down the big attitudes, fall off the map a bit, stop tanning, and redirect their lives with some real ambition. It won't be easy, but it can be done."Kim Kardashian swooped in on Paris Hilton."
Well, there you have it — Jersey Shore is the new Paris Hilton.