Top seven extenders of reality TV fame
7. Colleen Haskell (Survivor): Colleen was in the first season of Survivor (Borneo) and while she didn't outwit, outplay and outlast the other cast members, she did make a good run of her fifteen minutes. She finished sixth in her season but was such a genuine and fair player that when her torch was extinguished Richard Hatch called her a "wonderful person." Using her American-apple-pie-pretty-girl-next-door appearance and attitude, she parlayed her reality TV fame into more roles in both television and film. She did a Blistex commercial and had a guest spot on That 70's Show. Most notably, however, she starred alongside Rob Schneider in The Animal (2001). Pretty good for a Catholic school girl from a small town in Maryland.
6. Tiffany "New York" Pollard (Flavor of Love): "New York," a name given to her by rap's most eligible bachelor Flava Flav, is the queen of VH1's romance competition shows. Actually, she's the H.B.I.C. ("Head Bitch in Charge") as she told her fellow cast members on Flavor of Love and her suitors on I Love New York. Both her obnoxious behavior to the other contestants and her fatal-attraction-esque obsession with Flav made her the real reason to tune in to the first season of Flavor of Love. She was even asked back by Flav to compete in the second season of Flavor of Love. Rap's greatest hype man repayed "New York's" loyalty by bringing her to the final two twice and NOT choosing her twice. Oh, that's good TV. So, what happens after getting dumped on national television two seasons in a row? "New York" got her own spin-off show, I Love New York, where she showed a saner and softer side (this side not to be outdone by the crazy obnoxious side). And just when "New York" fans thought they could relax because the H.B.I.C. had found true love (and even an engagement) in "Tango," he broke up with her on the I Love New York reunion show. What's a girl to do when she's been dumped a whopping three times on national television? Find out when I Love New York 2 premieres October 8, 2007 at 9 p.m. EST on VH1.
5. Ryan Starr (American Idol): Ryan Starr scored seventh on the first season of American Idol. Her rocker voice, rebellious attitude, and sexy style made her oh-so-wrong for American Idol but oh-so-right for more reality TV. After getting the boot from Idol, Ryan has appeared on All-Star Reality Reunion, Battle of the Network Reality TV Stars, VH1 Big in 04, and most notably, The Surreal Life. Fans of The Surreal Life will remember Ryan's breakdown as she and her fellow cast members hopelessly tried to write an original song. She lamented that Jordan Knight (who, I might add, has had real commercial success as a musician albeit in a boy band) was telling her how to sing and bossing her around. It reminded her of how the producers of Idol repressed her edgy creativity. In addition to her numerous reality TV appearances, Ryan has worked on some scripted TV shows as well: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and What I Like About You.
4. Mike "Boogie" Malin (Big Brother): "Boogie" first appeared on the reality TV scene in the second season of Big Brother as the lesser half of the show's deadliest alliance Chilltown (with Dr. Will Kirby). While "Boogie" has been bashed for not being as likable, charming or attractive as his Chilltown partner, he nonetheless came back for Big Brother All-Stars and won the show. However, Mike Malin's success doesn't end there. In fact, his reality TV show success was a springboard for his booming restaurant business. Some Big Brother fans may remember his shameless promotion of his business endeavours during the All-Stars season. "Boogie" was seldom seen wearing anything other than a t-shirt that billboarded one of his eateries. He is co-owner of The Dolce Group which has several restaurants in Los Angeles, Reno, and Atlanta. Even better, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderama, and Jaime Kennedy are only a few of the celebrity investors in his restaurants.
3. Eric Nies (The Real World): Eric Nies was part of the original cast of MTV's ground-breaking show The Real World. Since his first appearance on MTV he has made it so that when anyone thinks of MTV and muscles, he/she cannot help but think of Eric Nies. After The Real World, Eric continued his work for MTV as the host of the dance show, The Grind. His work on The Grind nicely transitioned into a career as a fitness personality. He starred in The Grind Workout which featured Eric bare-chested and clad in spandex pants and a bandana as he helped viewers grind their way to fitter bodies. Eric also put out a series of workout videos called Ropesport. But, he just couldn't get enough of MTV reality shows. He appeared as the host of The Real World: Tenth Anniversary Special, The Real World / Road Rules Battle of the Seasons, and Hangin' with MTV. He has also returned to MTV to compete in The Real World / Road Rules Battle of the Sexes (seasons one and two) as well. In addition, Eric has appeared in several Real World videos: The Real World Reunion: Inside Out, The Real World Vacations: Behind the Scenes, and The Real World You Never Saw. From his first Real World episode in 1992, Eric Nies has made a career for himself by evolving with MTV's reality shows. The only thing that hasn't changed--his toned muscles.
2. Elisabeth Hasselback (Survivor): Elisabeth Hasselback began her rise to TV stardom on Survivor: The Australian Outback (2001). Similar to Colleen Haskell, Elisabeth's physical attractiveness and likable personality won her a large fanbase while she was on the show (although it didn't win her the prize). Some Survivor fans may remember Elisabeth quipping that she and fellow cast members "lost a third-grader" when they weighed themselves after weeks in the Australian outback. It was this goofy affability that landed her as the host of Style Network's The Look for Less. However, it wasn't until Elisabeth replaced LIsa Ling on The View that she became a household name. Her cuteness and conservative politics made her a staple on The View. She has gotten into heated arguments with fellow cast members about the Bush administration and the war in Iraq (most memorable was with Rosie O'Donnell). Recently, Barry Manilow refused his invitation to The View because he didn't want to sit next to Elisabeth or converse with her on the show because of her right-wing sensibilities.
1. Kelly Clarkson (American Idol): And finally, Kelly Clarkson--the original American Idol. That title would be fame enough but Kelly has moved way beyond her Idol roots which included cheesy spin-offs like Justin and Kelly and become not only a household name but also a respected musician. Her first album Thankful, released shortly after she won Idol, did well but mostly featured her songs from the show like "A Moment Like This." It was her second album Breakaway in 2004 that went multi-platinum with hits like "Since U Been Gone," "Walk Away," "Behind These Hazel Eyes," and "Because of You." She even lent her song "Go" to Ford Motors Co. to use in an advertising campaign. Kelly has won numerous awards for both her albums including two Grammys in 2005: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance ("Since U Been Gone") and Best Pop Vocal Album (Breakaway). Her third album entitled My December came out in the summer of 2007 but has not enjoyed the same success as Breakaway. The album was touted as Kelly's most personal work to date but legendary producer Clive Davis was skeptical about the album having any real hits.