In part one of episode 13 of this season of Top Chef All Stars, a little snippet stood out amongst the drama. Contestant and previous season 4 winner, Antonia Lofaso commented that the show’s prize money doesn’t matter, only winning the competition.
This goes to show what we at Gamification Co have been saying all along: cash prizes are not as strong as of incentive as status. This also evokes some of the sentiments of the MOF as we discussed earlier this month. The grand prize on Top Chef is $100,000. While this is a lot of money, it isn’t enough to open a high-end restaurant which would presumably be the reason to enter such a competition in the first place. However, being named the winner of a contest with such popularity and visibility is the key to success. And being name Top Chef All Star is being a winner twice over.
Most of reality TV is based off of the idea of status and notoriety – being famous for being famous. A new type of celebrity as been created within the last decade of programming. That being the case, one has to wonder if having any kind of prize on a non-game show TV competition is even necessary. Would it be difficult to get people to put everything on the line just to be “That person from that show”? Probably not.