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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

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March 29th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

15 minutes of fame? Not so much

Pop artist Andy Warhol once said "in the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes."

Turns out he was almost right. In an age of viral videos and reality TV, celebrity status seems easy to come by. Some might say, a little too easy.

In the past, we could console ourselves that the Morton Downeys of the world would soon leave the airspace. But something has changed. And now, according to a new study, the ease of fame is matched with the difficulty of making the famous, unfamous.

McGill University researchers found that nowadays, those 15 minutes are going into triple overtime. Someone like Kim Kardashian, who is famous for merely being famous, doesn't have to do much to remain relevant year, after year, after mind-numbingly painful year.

So how do the Kardashians of the world pull it off?

Researchers say that in the current media environment fame is self-reinforcing. Once you're in the spotlight, attention begets attention. Then all the different forms of media - TV, magazines, and gossip blogs - end up competing with each other to fulfill the desires of a celebrity-obsessed culture.

There are exceptions to the rule. After all, when was the last time you thought about William Hung?

But researchers say more often than not, people who make it to the top of the fame food chain stay there. That means actress Lindsay Lohan will continue to dominate tabloid headlines, despite the fact that she hasn't had a hit movie since Secretary of State John Kerry was a candidate for president.

"You know what? It's not my fault you're like, in love with me, or something!" Lindsay Lohan's character cries in the movie "Mean Girls."

You're right, Lindsay. It's not your fault. It turns out, the blame lies with all of us.

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