It seems like the most straight-forward hypothetical in the book. Why would a celebrity, with a career and skills and a reputation, willingly walk themselves into the depths of the South African jungle and eat the most obscure kinds of insects in front of prying cameras and nosy viewers?
Money. Dollar bills. Full pockets.
It’s widely rumoured the pay packets for the celebrities entering the I’m A Celebrity jungle hover over six figures – and near $700,000 if you’re comedian Tom Arnold – making it a payday that is, arguably, worth the fuss.
And so, the conclusion we tend to draw is a simple one: Celebrities go on I’m A Celebrity for the money.
But is it actually as simple as that?
If you ask Bernard Tomic, not at all. For someone who sits at home and “counts money”, or to be more specific, counts his “millions”, entering the reality TV sphere seems like a dramatic way to earn cash when tennis isn’t stingy in its payments.
“It is not for the money. I am doing this because it is something I always wanted to do in my life,” Tomic told News Corp just before entering the jungle.
The potential sprinklings of sarcasm aside, there’s probably no doubt the jungle was something Tomic’s embattled reputation needs rather than wants.
He needed the jungle as much as the ratings needed him. And now, two days in, he is out.
Because the thing that the show almost gave Tomic the opportunity to do is the same reason why celebrities will never stop coming back to I’m A Celebrity: Celebrities will forever misbehave and reputations will always need to be salvaged.
In a realm where reality TV offers little more than cheap entertainment, I’m A Celebrity gives some of our country’s most famous faces an opportunity their full pockets can’t buy.
The ability to reform their public image.
Take former AFL player Barry Hall, who, prior to his foray into the jungle, was branded the bad boy of the sport. A few very public on-field king hits did little to dispel public perception that he was aggressive. Since the show, a more mellow, wholesome picture of Hall has emerged after meeting and marrying Lauren Brant and welcoming a son to the world.