Given the sheer volume of original content I view every day, I’m surprised that MTV/VH1 style ‘celebrity’ reality shows rarely come on my radar. Given the popularity of reality TV, I’d expect ‘fly-on-the-wall’ looks into the lives of others to be a common subject on YouTube. Instead, most of the reality shows I’ve seen have played to more traditional YouTube audiences or branded themselves around popular cable TV franchises.
YouTuber Gregory Gorgeous has helped address this dearth of YouTube reality shows. Gorgeous is the central figure of The Avenue, a fairly popular reality show that just began its second season. The Avenue follows Gorgeous and his friends as they untangle their messy lives, with Toronto as the backdrop. The second season focuses on Gorgeous’ relationship with his new boyfriend and his interactions with his best girl friends and their boyfriends. The first episode of the new season was recently released, and given its 18 minute length, I’d guess it has already driven a decent amount of engagement.
One can presume that most of the traffic to The Avenue is driven by Gorgeous himself; his channel, which covers fashion, style, and LGBT issues, has more than 325 thousand subscribers and 45 million views, placing him in the top 1000 for both of those categories. Given his reach, it’s not surprising how many viewers are curious about his life.
Of course, there is a slightly exploitative element to The Avenue that cannot be ignored. Gorgeous is very effeminate and usually wears heavy makeup, often accompanied by a feminine dress style. I’d like to say that we live in a society where these choices aren’t a big part of The Avenue‘s popularity, but they’re hard to ignore.
The Avenue is distributed by Shaftesbury, an international studio that may have been interested in the show’s Canadian roots. Just like the various international shows on Hulu, Goregous and his gang are appealing to an American audience, and based on the positive feedback of their viewers, they’re doing a good job of it.