Depending on your generation, the term Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous has one of two meanings. Either you have the Good Charlotte song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, or you’ve just remembered a 1980s TV classic. For the purposes of this article, we are going to refer to the latter.
If you grew up in the 1980s, you undoubtedly remember this show. Long before 20 yr old tech billionaires, there was a time of opulence and grandeur that flowed from “old school money”, and “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” gave us a glimpse into this world.
But alas, would a show like this be a hit with today’s audiences?
What Was Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous?
For those a little too young to have seen it, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous was an early reality-style television show that did as the name suggested. It ran for a long time from roughly 1984 to 1995, with a few tweaks along the way.
A British host named Robin Leach took a deeper look into the homes and lifestyles of celebrities and famous figures within the top 1% of earners.
There was even a requirement that stars needed a net worth of at least 50 million. This included actors, singers, businessmen, and even future-president Donald Trump.
And of course who could forget their iconic intros featuring that unforgettable voice of host Robin Leach:
There was an aspirational and sincere side to the show where these lifestyles were something to work for. Build yourself up in 1980s corporate America, and you too could have those houses, pools, yachts, and everything else. Leach’s catchphrase was “champagne wishes and caviar dreams”, which summed up the opulence of the show.
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Almost Came Back
Fans of the show may not realize that it almost returned in 2014. The Style Network liked the idea of rebooting the show, with Nick Cannon as its host. But even Cannon was unsure how it would play out, and they soon scrapped the project entirely.
However part of the appeal was also having a great host, and Robin Leach were some pretty big shoes to fill even for Nick Cannon. I mean when we think of the original show, that iconic voice is irreplaceable, and perhaps that’s another reason why the show wasn’t rebooted.
Would A Reboot Even Work Today?
There are arguments to make on both sides here. On the one hand, reality TV shows about the rich and famous are still popular. A large audience still craves the escapism of a show like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and the Real Housewives franchise. So an episodic look into the lives of other stars isn’t a bad idea. Something like a chance to revisit the Trump family would be interesting in 2022.
However, the tone would be different now. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous presented a world beyond our reach with people better than us and had an aspirational feel. Today, many would want to see these people fail and embarrass themselves to bring them down a peg or two.
There is far less desire to celebrate the 1% club that are often perceived (correctly or incorrectly) to have built their wealth by making lives miserable for the poorer classes. If that style of narrative were to happen, we would be back to that scripted reality and not the portrayals we saw in the 1980s.
To a point, the world has evolved beyond the need for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in its true original format. To be fair, we are probably better off for that. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t revisit the series online and gawk at all the things that were acceptable in the 80s.
However these days it seems like wealth isn’t as celebrated as it was in the 80s, and in fact it is often demonized. So perhaps the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is a show best left in the 1980s. Regardless it had a memorable run, and it remains one of the most iconic shows of the decade.