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Breaking News: Showbiz Is Based On Nepotism

Can kids from lower-income families make it big in showbiz? No, according to a new British study that concludes the entertainment industry is full of rich people who were already well-off and connected before they hit the big screen. Who knew?

Anyone who's ever watched teevee or a movie and then gone to IMDB to glean an actor's family tree, that's who.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Britain's Durham and St. Andrews Universities, finds that people from poor and lower-income backgrounds rarely, if ever, succeed in the entertainment business because all the opportunities are "hoarded" by the scions of the connected. As the Hollywood Reporter reports:
The study, presented at the British Sociological Association's annual conference on Tuesday, found that women, minorities and people with working-class backgrounds were "discriminated against because they were not trusted insiders."

Members of the working class who work in the production business are discriminated against because they lack the "right accents, hairstyles, clothes or backgrounds," the paper summarized another finding.

The researchers from Durham University and the University of St. Andrews surveyed 77 industry people, with 64 of them being from the middle classes.

"Most jobs were gained through friends and friends of friends," the researchers explained, according to the Independent. "Openings were rarely advertised and producers tended to rely on the grapevine."

The same goes for cable news, where nepotism runs rampant (Luke Russert, I'm looking at you), and the big-time internships are generally unpaid (creating an impossible barrier when you have no money) and hard to get unless you know someone who knows someone. Otherwise, you're bound to earn minimum wage working the 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. shift in a teevee market consisting of 10 viewers. Forever, or until you finally wise up and decide to do something else because the scion of someone famous keeps landing your dream job (Chelsea Clinton, I'm looking at you). Sigh.

So there you have it, kids. In the entertainment and news businesses -- which are pretty much one and the same these days -- it's not what you know; it's who you know even if you already "know" 1,500 people on Facebook and have 30,214 followers on Twitter. You'll need to find a way to become a "trusted insider." Oh man, good luck with that. Bruce Hornsby, take it away. Still a great song.

Update: What's the worst "ordinary" career field for nepotism? If you believe Forbes magazine, it might just be Information Technology.


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