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ABSTRACT

Reality television programming (RTVP) was once simply an innovative entertainment phenomenon. But RTVP also has recently evolved into a mainstream promotional platform. Two new forms of celebrities arose during this progression: “reality” and “celebreality” stars. This study, which is grounded in connectedness theory, addresses an unresolved issue related to the use of celebrity endorsers, that is, how endorsers’ status as reality or celebreality stars influences viewers’ perceptions of, beliefs about, and purchase intentions toward products they endorse. These relationships were examined through SEM, as were the effects of viewers’ connectedness to RTVP stars and their perceptions regarding whether RTVPs are authentic. Four primary findings emerged. The observation that reality impacted viewer connectedness and that connectedness and authenticity impacted viewers’ purchase intentions (endorsement effectiveness) revealed various practical and theoretical contributions, as did the observation that endorsers’ celebreality or reality star status moderated each of these relationships.