Now that 'Teen Mom' cast members like Amber Portwood are in their twenties, MTV is looking for a new crop of teenage girls to keep its monster hits 'Teen Mom' and '16 and Pregnant' alive, and [surprise!] industry insiders tell me young ladies are so eager to be on reality TV that they are actually getting pregnant just to score an audition. OK, not much of a surprise. Simply take a spin around the various Internet forums filled with young girls inquiring about what's required to score a role.
"This is yet another example of the desperation of fame," Matt Titus, a relationship expert from TheLoveConsultants.com, tells me. "The sad state of reality television has created a lowbrow vehicle for untainted train wreck personalities to display their private lives. Getting pregnant to be famous is like eating as many cockroaches as possible in a one minute period."
(Didn't they do that on 'Survivor'?)
Casting any reality show right is essential to whether it is a hit or not. Networks spend top dollar auditioning throughout the country to make sure they get the right mix. However, what makes 'Teen Mom' and '16 and Pregnant' both so difficult to cast is that, thankfully, the "talent pool" of potential stars that are both pregnant and teenagers is relatively small.
Mommy expert Beth Feldman, creator of RoleMommy.com, says it would be "horrifying" if teens are actually getting pregnant for a TV show. "Becoming a parent is a responsibility that no one should take lightly, and for a teenager to think that a pregnancy could lead to instant fame and fortune is absurd. Parenting is a lifetime commitment and teens have there own lives ahead of them. Let them grow up before they take the responsibility of caring for another human being."
Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, a friend of the late Michael Jackson and author of 'Kosher Sex,' agrees. "This is out of control celebrity culture. Reality TV first began by exploiting people's problems, assuming they would do anything for fame. The idea of teenage girls getting pregnant to be on television shows that reality TV is going a step beyond exploiting problems. It is now creating the problems."
Anyone who has had a child knows that it is the most serious commitment a person can make. Rabbi Shmuley correctly points out that when young girls begin making this ultimate decision in order find fame, it "shows the moral rot in American society."
"These girls are ignoring the fact that this decision must followed by a lifetime of responsibility," he says.
Maybe my friend Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of the hit HLN show 'Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell,' says it best: "Children should not be having children, period."