This week's premiere of WE TV's reality series 'Sinbad: It's Just Family' clued us in to what the comedian is up to these days, and also got us wondering: What other stars got their showbiz starts on 'Star Search'?
This Where Are They Now? feature is a bit of a reversal on AOL TV's usual WATNs, because this one is less about about where they are now as it is where they were then. Did you know that Dave Chappelle and Norm McDonald tried to get laughs in the comedy competition, for example? Or that Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé got their starts in the show's talent portion?
Read on for 12 video clips of celebs you may or may not remember from their 'Star Search' days...
I never really saw her as the host of the show anyway, did you? I mean, we got a kick out of the way she acted as a judge on 'American Idol,' all loopy and confused and weary, but being the host of a show is a completely different thing. Though it would have fun to see her try it for a while. I also wonder if there's a place for 'Star Search' in this age of 'Idol,' 'America's Got Talent,' 'So You Think You Can Dance?' and the coming American version of Cowell's 'The X Factor.'
Maybe Cowell and his team have convinced Abdul to be a judge on 'The X Factor.' That way it can be 'American Idol 2.'
Simon now has competition for Paula. ABC has offered Paula Abdul a spot on 'Star Search.' According to the Hollywood Reporter, following another report in Entertainment Weekly, the latest incarnation of 'Star Search' will be a singing competition and Paula could be a host and a judge. That's twice as much as she did on 'American Idol.'
More importantly, it's on ABC.
If you've never seen Remote Control, it was a wacky pop culture trivia game show that supposedly was filmed in Ober's basement. Besides being a really fun game show (especially for someone raised on television), it costarred a lot of people who later became household names, such as Adam Sandler, Denis Leary, and Colin Quinn.
I can't imagine a worse TV vehicle for Paula, especially the kind of talk show she envisions. She said, "It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance."
That sounds perfectly cloying, especially if you assume that Paula will be pretty much herself, pretty much like she was on American Idol, which was uncritical, sweet, gentle and pleasantly unfocused.
According to his publicist, Howard Bragman, McMahon, who was hospitalized with pneumonia in February, died at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after suffering a "multitude of health problems the last few months."
Among the reported ailments: bone cancer, an anonymous source told the Associated Press.
He was 86.
This probably isn't a surprise to most people, since McMahon has been in poor health for a number of years and also injured his neck severely in a fall in his home in 2007.
McMahon is best known, of course, for being the announcer and couch mate for Carson on The Tonight Show for 30 years. McMahon also hosted the original version of Star Search for many years, co-hosted Bloopers and Practical Jokes with Dick Clark, and was a staple of the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon every September. Besides appearing in a number of TV shows and movies, he was also a spokesman for American Family Publishers (though, oddly, every single joke about these commercials with the giant checks and McMahon mentions Publisher's Clearing House for some reason).
McMahon died at Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center in L.A.
Stairway to Stardom, or what American Idol filmed in a Staten Island basement 25 years ago would look like - VIDEO
Starting in 1979, Brooklyn resident Frank Masi created and hosted a program on local New York television called Stairway To Stardom. Filmed in what appeared to be a freshly carpeted Staten Island basement, Stairway was an especially early, low-budget predecessor to Star Search and American Idol, but sprinkled with the key element of hometown appeal.
He's a TV legend, so much so that even people who didn't grow up watching The Tonight Show at least know of him and his work. It's been even harder to duplicate. Hank Kingsley was right. Sidekickology is a "dying art."
But a few little factoids popped up around the Internet surrounding McMahon's hospitalization, and it made the news even more tragic and depressing.
Television and the talent show have been partners since the very first days of the industry. Taking the best (and sometimes worst) performers and putting them in front of the camera, these shows introduced viewers to personalities that either faded into the background or became household names. Usually, these personalities had a talent that would entertain the public -- singing, dancing, telling jokes -- that they would use once they left the talent show stage to increase their fame.
It continued in this fashion throughout the decades. Until, of course, the 21st Century and the Reality Revolution. While standard, yet bigger and bolder, talent shows continued, network programmers began to realize that there were more talented people than just performers. There were models, clothing designers, chefs, hair stylists, and businesspeople out there ready to show their stuff and make it big. So, they turned some of their attention away from singers and dancers and focused on the others. The result? A schedule full of top models, top chefs, top businesspeople, and top inventors.
In other words, the talent show had returned to television in a big way.
Unfortunately, I don't know where Wade Robson is. Believe me, if I find out if he's coming back to Fox's hit show, you TV Squad readers will be the first to know. I thought in the meantime we could enjoy some of his other work, including his performance on Star Search as a little boy. It's adorable.
Granted, he's not alone in these tough times -- and, yes, he has had millions in his time -- but the revelations that the former Tonight Show star and Star Search host is in money trouble strikes me as really unfortunate. And apparently that help from Jay Leno is slow in materializing. Why isn't Publisher's Clearinghouse giving him a gig?
The latest news is that Citibank is suing McMahon for $200,000, a loan they extended to Ed. In a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior court on June 9, the bank is seeking $179,687 in damages, plus legal fees. This is on top of the potential foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home.
Kathy Griffin has found the perfect genre for her particular brand of comedy. A sitcom wouldn't capture her true character, strict stand-up is not her best venue (although she's gotten very good at it), and a talk show would force her to chat with others and appear interested. The My Life on the D-List format works for her and she's found a way to incorporate stand up, situation comedy and guests into a reality hour that highlights her being funny. She has supporting players -- Team Griffin, Jessica, Tiffany, Tom and Kathy's adorable mom, Maggie -- as her comic foils and partners in crime.
Now, former Star Seach judge Naomi Judd is coming out backing up the claims that at least on that show, Jeff Archuleta was a horrible "stage dad," who at one point had to be put in the security guard's box to stop him. The last report to come out about Papa Archuleta's antics came during a recording session of "We Can Work It Out," the Beatles song that David infamously flubbed the lyrics to during the live performance. Supposedly, Jeff wasn't pleased with David's performance and brought him to tears with his criticisms. Maybe that means the Idol staffers have managed to shush him.
Simon reportedly said, "I do miss Sanjaya in a way. Even though I had problems with his vocals, I always looked forward to him coming on each week. I never knew what he'd wear or what he'd do."
I have to agree with Simon. I never cared for the kid's singing. But he did give us "something to talk about." And without controversy, isn't Idol just Star Search with phenomenal ratings?
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