New Wave of Exotic Subcultures Takes Hold of Unscripted Series

OCTOBER 14, 2014 

In January 2010, Linda Ong, president of Brooklyn-based firm Truth Co. noticed a curious parallel between the ratings for the season 1 finale of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” which aired on the same cabler days after the devastating 7.0 quake ravaged the Caribbean nation.

“Both of those shows got (about) 3.2 million viewers,” recalls Ong, former senior vice president of marketing for Oxygen Media. “It was odd that two seemingly diametrically opposed shows would get the same number of viewers.”

Ong set out to examine what was transpiring in global culture that would allow these two “polar opposite” television events — one a telethon, the other a sensationalized glimpse into the lives of self-professed “Guidos”— to break through the clutter.