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Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 07/19/2010

'Jersey Shore' cast members go on strike, despite their lack of real jobs

By Jen Chaney

Life's a beach ... unless you go on strike. (MTV)

Several "Jersey Shore" cast members have reportedly gone on strike, refusing to shoot scenes for the Snooki Show's third season. Why? According to E! Online and other media outlets, they don't get paid enough.

Here's how it breaks down. The alleged strikers -- JWoww, Ronni, Sammy, Pauly D and Vinny -- each pull in $10,000 per episode, writes USA Today. So at the end of a nine-episode season, each of them walks away with $90,000. That's $90K for partying, drinking heavily, hooking up, wearing tacky clothes and sporting glaringly hideous spray-on tans. There are plenty of people in New Jersey who do all of these things and receive no compensation whatsoever. If you ask me, those are the individuals who should be threatening a revolt of some sort.

I mean, we're living in challenging economic times. Plenty of very talented, capable people lack jobs and haven't been able to find new ones for many, many months. If your name is JWoww and you actually are employed, this is not only a sign of remarkable good fortune, it's a borderline miracle.

I understand that "The Jersey Shore" has become a cultural phenomenon of sorts. And I understand that the "actors" want to be compensated fairly for that.

But Pauly D., et al: you are not the cast of "Friends." So suck it up. Cash your paychecks before the 15-minute celebrity alarm clock goes off. And count your friggin' blessings.

By Jen Chaney  | July 19, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  TV  
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Next: Lindsay Lohan to report today for jail term; 'Jersey Shore' cast reportedly close to raise


Wasn't MTV gonna replace half of the cast anyway?

Posted by: wadejg | July 19, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

ahh - but you're missing the opportunity...
(cue Les Grossman voice but edited for content)
the world needs a documentary on JWoww's struggles with unemployment - i'm seeing a 96 week reality series
We begin episode 1 -- which culminates as he moves from Patron to Montezuma Gold....
week 45 - where he is evicted and cant get a space at the local shelter...
and by episode 96, as we fade to black we hear him enthusiastically asking 'would you like fries with that?'

honestly - whether they get paid 10k a show or 100k a show - the end game probably plays out the same....

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 19, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I have less than zero sympathy. There are people with real educations and real jobs who don't make that kind of money. I would love to make $90K for 9 weeks and no hassles with crazy clients.

Posted by: epjd | July 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This had me laughing out loud; I totally lost it at the miracle of being named JWoww and being employed. Meanwhile, can anyone direct me to the picket line in support of these poor, exploited workers?

-Snarky Squirrel

Posted by: 7900rmc | July 19, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

With the high level of popularity of the show, whether we like it or not; these kids are more popular than some movie stars that pull in millions per film..advertisers win as well. It's called capitalism. After all President Obama in his Address and Sen. John McCain think enough of Snookie's reaction (McCain) to a tanning tax to have mentioned her in their speeches to the nation! Government out of touch? But they sure know about Snookie. Guess that makes her a much much more valuable commodity??? Go for it!! ;)

Posted by: salty2 | July 19, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't BP use them to plug the leak?

Posted by: tvolpe | July 19, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Snooki without the "e" correction.

Posted by: salty2 | July 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I have been following the story all day. ROFL..I literally rolled on the floor laughing..Thats the funniest thing, I have read this month.

Posted by: kakabooboo | July 19, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

These jerks have let a little publicity and ratings of a trashy show go to their heads. Offer them a cut in pay of 75% from their present pay, donate 50% of their present pay to the local animal shelters, the homeless or the cure for cancer and spend the rest on finding other appreciative people to take their place!

Posted by: scll52 | July 19, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Salty is making the case that snookie prime would be an imperfect substitute for snookie in a microeconomic sense... but i'm not so sure. To me it seems that one spray-on-tan jersey blowhard is pretty much the same as another - so it feels like a pretty straight indifference curve to me (but maybe that's just me). It's Snookie's idiocy that makes her commentary valuable (maybe that just works in a modern american political context...) - but there's no shortage of dim bulbs willing to chime in on tax rates to be found out there... i dont see a lot of unique in play here.

Just hire a new moron for MTV Celebrates Morons #73 concept and get on with it.

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 19, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Ok, while I'll argue that there's almost no way of measure the value of labor that suggests these folks deserve a raise, or what they're already making, or even to continue to draw breath, look at it this way. The show that they're on is making money hand over fist. THAT is where the problem lies. The fact that the cast are striking is just an argument over the distribution of that income.

Posted by: karmadrome | July 19, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Here's how it works: if you're talented, you jump at an opportunity like Jersey Shore to get yourself out there. Never mind about compensation. Do it for free on the promise that the free exposure will jump start your career. If you have no talent, you carp about how you're not being paid enough because you know that all this free publicity is a dead end. This of course begs the question: if they're talentless, why are we watching them?

Posted by: tomsj | July 19, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Jen, re: "There are plenty of people in New Jersey who do all of these things and receive no compensation whatsoever", ha ha. Always easy for DC to dump on Jersey. Fact is most of the cast isn't from NJ (just as most of those who go wild on the Shore - the exception, not the norm - aren't). I remember lots of instances of DC area kids (especially the ones on the Hill and K Street enamored with themselves) acting stupid in Georgetown or Adams Morgan. No TV show about that, however, since the rest of the country probably wouldn't find that quite so laughable.

Posted by: exDCinNY | July 19, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I quote ...... "I remember lots of instances of DC area kids (especially the ones on the Hill and K Street enamored with themselves) acting stupid in Georgetown or Adams Morgan. No TV show about that, however,.."

May I suggest a title - K St. Kidz. Where's my 15%?

Posted by: TonyMostyn | July 19, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

karmadrome - ok - so the product is entertainment and in that environment the only real value is the control over access to the consumer (and the capital required to deliver and market it to the consumer). It's the monopoly of that distribution channel that has the value in this equation - and presents the barrier to entry for other budding jersey dropouts to impress and entertain (which is why the 10 million identical idiots on youtube are poor and being trolled by 4chan one by one). In an environment like that - i dont see how one jersey cog has any value greater than any other cog.

Considering the sort of contracts media conglomerates toss around these days and considering we're talking about Jersey (not really your classic right to work state), i dont see how these guys have a spray on tanned leg to stand on - or to put it in meme-speak "they is dun goofing up and the consequences will always be the same".

In the mean time, last month thousands of very hard working people who went on strike at a honda plant in china had to quickly settle for a $15 a month raise (to $152 a month). Our Jersey friends need to grow up.

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 19, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Just fyi...almost none of the cast is from NJ.

Posted by: njnative | July 19, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

how many ways can you spell "losers"?

... doubly so since they're not even from NJ, which at least carries with it the love/hate badge of lifetime membership...

What a bunch of narcissistic weenies....

Posted by: fendertweed | July 19, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"I understand that 'The Jersey Shore' has become a cultural phenomenon of sorts . . ."

It may be a phenomenon, but this has got to be the first time the word "culture" has ever been used in connection with this show!

Posted by: tomguy1 | July 19, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I think they are overpaid now.

Posted by: farmsnorton | July 19, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Aren't The Utterly Self Absorbed about a dime a dozen nowadays?

It would save a lot of trouble plus be a good lesson to the young to just fire them, then pay their replacements 50% of what these losers are getting.

Posted by: binkynh | July 19, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

wow, I'm thinking that 5 of just about any of you losers on this messageboard can go out and rent a place on the Jersey shore all summer and get drunk in bars, dance around make fools of yourselves, make videos of it all and put it online and suck up the entire market.

Why the hell haven't you done it already? Dudes it's the middle of *July* for chrisakes.

Where's your video at!?!

Posted by: dubya1938 | July 19, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

And I am supposed to be worried that these people have to pay more taxes than me?

Posted by: catmomtx | July 19, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

ahh dubya1938, I, for one, realized that there was a point where I had to grow up, and could not operate on a daily basis with a hangover. Being a party-girl is not really a long-term viable career.

(& I am very grateful that youtube, and easy-access hand-held video was not really existent in my day!)

Posted by: anonymouslurker | July 19, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: tradevipmbt | July 20, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Is this such a surprise to anyone? You knew you were dealing with a bunch of Jersey Shore Rats in the first place.

Posted by: atroncale1 | July 20, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Quintilius - +1 for using "right to work state" in this context. Of course, the fact that Jersey is not a right to work state almost certainly strengthens that cast's Situation (assuming they've paid their union dues).

That being said, your point is valid but not, I believe, convincing. The network's monopoly on distribution is a compelling factor if, and only if, all guido and guidette related entertainment is of approximately equal value in the marketplace. I think it can be readily demonstrated that this is not the case.

First of all, if all vacuous orangeskins are equally valuable as entertainers, the laws of the marketplace dictate that other networks would be producing shows to exploit this seemingly inexhaustible resource and (this bit is key), those shows would produce revenue that would be comparable to that created by "Jersey Shore." The fact that this is not the case suggests another line of inquiry.

That fact that this program has been uniquely successful indicates that it has a unique appeal. Had MTV chosen to change out the cast of the show after every season, a la "The Real World," I would be forced to agree with your conclusion. However, the argument can be made that the cast have significant name equity and that the value of the "Snooki" brand equals or even exceeds that of "Jersey Shore."

If it is true that the Snooki brand is what adds value to "Jersey Shore", then the monopoly on distribution of Snooki-related entertainment held by MTV is not a natural condition of a free market but instead a distortion enforced by one-sided contracts on the side of management to prevent honest laborers from owning the value created by their work.

Posted by: karmadrome | July 20, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

If these kids are so popular, they deserve a piece of the action...

Posted by: jerkhoff | July 20, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse


so on the one hand, the market forces dont believe there's a market out there for competing snooki prime product... this restricts snooki's bargaining position rather severely - very much a 'so Mawae - what are you gonna do about it, take your players association and go play golf?'

i'll give you that the network might feel that they have value associated with the current basket of nutters - and considering the short attention spans of the average american viewer it's probably best not to confuse them - but i think i disagree with your neo-ricardian labor argument in a very simple way... i dont see the cast as valuable for their labor, but instead see the new jersey shore moron as a raw material... (Yes - now the Jersey Shore cast are diamonds) - if the cost of extracting their antics gets too high, it behooves the enterprise to poison the wellhead and mine the next beach.

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | July 20, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse


I'm not sure I understand your first point. If there is a market for Snooki, but not Snooki-prime, then doesn't that imply that the value is in the original product and attempts to create a knock-off, even by the original Jersey Shore program, would fail. Hence, the value of Snooki with respect to not-Snooki is considerable.

You may well be right about your second point. An argument can't be false just because the consequences are awful, but please consider for a moment the lurking horror of your proposition: The idea that there is a nigh-endless supply of marketable morons concentrated in this location that can all be exploited, ad infinitum, for televised consumption. Even worse, it strikes me as probably that this particular strain of moron is not unique, or at least, not so unique that it can't be mined elsewhere. That exponentially raises the potential number of "reality shows" that could theoretically spring from this source. I haven't done the math, but I suspect there's a real possibility that there is not enough bandwidth in the spectrum to accommodate ruthless exploitation of this vaguely-natural resource.

So, maybe I'm just clinging to the notion that the current Jersey Shore cast represent a unique brand that cannot be replicated simply because the alternative is too awful to consider. I can live with that.

Posted by: karmadrome | July 20, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather watch a pack of dogs gang-bang a female in estrus. there any difference between that and watching the cast of Jersey Shore? Is there any difference between a female canine in estrus and a female cast member of Jersey shore?

We know the difference between canine males and male members of Jersey Shore: the male cast members of Jersey Shore WISH they could lick their own balls.

Posted by: angelos_peter | July 21, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

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