ALMOST FAMOUS

TV Hawks Celeb Lifestyle to Kids

What ever happened to the days of the afterschool special? Material once reserved for MTV is now hitting kid-friendly networks such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. Programming focusing on the glitz and glamour of a celebrity lifestyle are the central narratives to new shows such as Big Time Rush, about the makings of a popular boy band, and Victorious, about an up-and-coming starlet. Only a few years ago, the channels were still delivering traditional coming-of-age sitcoms about popularity, sibling rivalry, and school. "YouTube and digital technology and social networks, the idea of fame has changed. It's a lot easier to become 'famous'" says one media executive. Another reason for the new trend is that its offshoot can also be lucrative for networks; Miley Cyrus is signed to Disney's Hollywood Records.