1.[return to page 1 of essay] An earlier version of this paper was presented at Console-ing Passions in Santa Barbara, CA, April 2008. Denise Mann, Suzanne Scott, and Kate Fortmueller gave valuable feedback over the course of revisions.
2. Virginia Heffernan, “It’s Lauren vs. Heidi in the Battle of the Ex-BFFs,” The New York Times, August 13, 2007.
3. Gossip Girl’s Season 1 Finale, one of its highest rated episodes, posted 3 million viewers, see James Hibberd, “Gossip Takes Big Gain,” Hollywood Reporter, May 21, 2008. Unlike MTV, The CW has taken aim at viewers who stream or download episodes even going so far as to pull episodes from its website and itunes in the second half of Season 1, for a report on this see: Andrew Wallenstein, “Gossip Stream Plugged,” Hollywood Reporter, April 18-20, 2008.
4. Kimberly Nordyke, “Hills Thrills with Record Viewership,” Hollywood Reporter. March 27, 2008.
5. For a discussion of this on Dawson’s Creek see: Will Brooker, “Living on Dawson’s Creek: Teen Viewers, Cultural Convergence, and Television Overflow,” in The Television Studies Reader, ed. Robert C. Allen and Annette Hill (London: Routledge, 2004), 569-580.
6. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly Lauren and series creator Adam DiVello admitted to some re-shooting, with DiVello stating,
In Tim Stack, “They Shoot. She Scores.,” Entertainment Weekly, August 8, 2008. 31. The awkwardness that comes out of these re-shoots has led to much speculation about how much of the show is scripted, which MTV continues to deny.
7. Andrew Perry, The Hills: City of Angels (New York: MTV Books, 2006), 31.
8. “Exclusive: Teen Vogue on Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port: ‘It was Time for Them to Move On’,” US Magazine, February 8, 2008.
9. Christina Kinon, “The Hills Whitney Port lands job in New York,” New York Daily News, August 27, 2008.
10. Ian Burrell, “It’s More Than Rock’n’Roll,” The Independent, March 6, 2006.
11. The M by Mariah Carey Ford Models Virtual Model Search is a contest that allows users to create an avatar and win a virtual modeling contest to be the new face of vHills.
12. “MTV Teams Up with Lauren Conrad to Produce First Ever Virtual and Real World Fashion Line,” P.R. Newswire, March 6, 2007.
13. For a closer look at Lauren Conrad’s entire line, go to
14. Teen television shows typically feature a protagonist who provides an in text critique of the wealth that is depicted onscreen, examples of this include Brandon and Brenda Walsh on FOX’s Beverly Hills 90210, Ryan on FOX’s The O.C., and Dan and Jenny Humphrey on The CW’s Gossip Girl.
15. Tim Stack, “They Shoot. She Scores.,” Entertainment Weekly, August 8, 2008. 31.
16. In its June 11, 2008 issue, Forbes estimated Lauren’s income as 1.5 Million and on August 22, 2008 In Touch Weekly reported that Lauren’s income for The Hills season 4 was $75,000 per episode, with Spencer and Heidi making $65,000 per episode each, Audrina $35,000 per episode, and Whitney $20,000 per episode. As of this writing, MTV has not confirmed the validity of these amounts.