In ancient times it came in the form of a hagiography with some poor scribe commanded to write a glowing account of the powerful or famous in which any inconvenient blemishes would be smoothed over, presenting the subject in the most flattering light.
Today’s modern equivalent is having one’s own reality television series, and while the “lighting” is just as important, it’s a case of the more blemishes, the better. And yes, it has opened the way for a lot of decidedly ugly television, though thankfully much of it will never make it to air.
Sydney artist Charles Billich, 82, and his socialite wife, Bavarian sexpot Christa, 70, are certainly an interesting couple, renowned for their open marriage and free love parties, but “news” this week claiming they would soon be television stars in the United States with their own reality television show should be treated with considerable scepticism.
The Billiches, who have a long and enduring love affair with publicity, have participated in the filming of a “pilot”, which will supposedly be pitched to American network bosses in the hope someone will green-light a show. PS suspects they’ll need more than their Senior’s Cards to get it off the ground.
The show is reportedly being produced by Hollywood “heavyweight” Adam Schroeder, though it has been some time since he had a hit as big as The Truman Show, Zoolander or Clueless.
The idea for the show is to follow the Billiches’ journey as they open an art gallery in Los Angeles.
And while the Billiches were busy emailing copies of the press reports to their many nearest and dearest, PS learned that it was the Billiches themselves who paid for much of the pilot shoot, from hiring the venue to paying for the catering.
Apparently becoming a reality TV star comes at a hefty price.
PS is still waiting for former Sydney gumshoe Frank Monte’s reality television series, The Private Eye and The Madam, to finally hit the small screen.
In 2015 Monte turned to crowdsourcing site Kickstarter to spruik for $100,000 needed to shoot a pilot, but only managed one donation of $1000.
To be set in Los Angeles, the show was to feature the daily antics of Monte and his fiancee Sharon Sargeant who not only ran an escort agency but, at $1000 per hour, was the most expensive escort on her books.
Monte was trying to raise funds for the show while the NSW police was pursuing him for $80,000 in legal costs after Monte’s failed legal bid in 2012 to prevent the police cancelling his private investigator’s licence due to his “lack of moral integrity” and his lengthy history of ripping off clients.
Monte was famously bankrupted when he failed to pay $400,000 awarded to international fashion design family the Versaces who sued him over his memoir, copies of which had to be pulped..
Hopefully the wait won’t be quite so long for Lisa and David Oldfield’s mooted show. A series of stories in the press claim they are in talks about doing their own reality television series, fresh from Lisa’s shrill appearance in the Real Housewives of Sydney and David’s rather off-colour performance in 2016’s race relations-focused SBS series First Contact.
While light on details, PS has been unable to discover which television network or production company has engaged with the Oldfields, with the half dozen contacted claiming no knowledge or interest in such a show.
Perhaps it’s the same mystery production company which Kyle Sandilands’ girlfriend, the walking fashion blasphemy that is Imogen Anthony, has reportedly been “in talks with” for her show too?