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Burning Question: Is It Over for Jessica Simpson?

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Jessica Simpson (Getty Images)

Jessica Simpson's "Fashion Star" just got canceled. What about her pilot? She hasn't really done anything in years; is her career as a celebrity over? Do we need to launch a Kickstarter for Jessica Simpson just so she can live ;)? - P. Watson, Billings, Montana

Indeed, Simpson's bid to be the Tyra Banks of fashion appears to have stalled. (She should have smized more, duh.) "Fashion Star" lived for only two seasons, and that planned NBC pilot, reportedly based on Simpson’s life — you know, as a creator of exotic redneck names for children — also isn't looking too promising.

According to Forbes magazine staffer Dorothy Pomerantz, these sorts of entertainment ventures earned Simpson about $1 million yearly — at least, circa 2011-2012.

The thought of losing a $1 million income might terrify tiny folk like you or me, especially when you consider that Simpson also hasn’t starred in a movie for 5 years. But Simpson and her family do not need your pity. For this is a rich woman. An obscenely rich woman.

How rich? Well, that $1 million loss is just a drop in the lip gloss tube for Simpson, who, last we checked, earned her an estimated $13 million yearly. That's according to Forbes, which last checked up on Simpson's status last year.

Simpson isn't even on Forbes's latest list of top-earning entertainers because she makes so little of her money on TV. Despite her myriad magazine covers and ventures in reality shows, Simpson is, at her core, a fashion mogul, the face of more than 200 separate licenses covering everything from shoes to maternity wear.

(Need a more detailed dossier? Fine. How about footwear, outerwear, sunglasses, optical frames, handbags and handbag accessories, swimwear, perfume, belts, legwear, scarves, hats, wraps, jewelry, intimates, slippers, cold-weather accessories, luggage, dresses, jeanswear, sportswear, athletic wear, tween footwear, coats, swimwear, legwear, maternity apparel, toddler apparel and baby footwear? Simpson's maternity collection alone is being sold at more than 800 stores across the country and overall, industry watchers say we're looking at a brand with a combined $1 billion in annual sales.)

Even as a marketing tool, "Fashion Star" simply wasn't that lucrative a venture for Simpson.

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"She's very much like the Olsen twins," Pomerantz explains to me. "Simpson might do appearances or do a small hosting job, but the bulk of her money is coming from her fashion business.

"And she doesn't need to perpetually be on TV to boost those sales. Her clothes were selling well before 'Fashion Star.'"

And the reason for that is simple, industry experts say: Simpson is a natural for selling fashion to the masses, no matter what other entertainment projects she might have, or not have, at the moment.

"She's very authentic and customers really like that," says Lisa Lockwood, news director at Women's Wear Daily. "She’s not a stick figure. She's got a body. People can relate to her. She speaks her mind, and with a personality that strong, people can relate."

Of course it also helps that the companies making her clothes have top-notch reputations; the Camuto Group, which owns 29 retail categories under the Simpson umbrella, also designs the shoes for highly respected fashion innovators such as Tory Burch, Lockwood notes.

"She's got that magic touch," Lockwood says of Simpson. "Her shoes are sexy, and she's just been very smart about everything."

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