Reality TV Stars: The Ones We Love ... And the Ones We Love to Hate
By Andrew Scott Posted Feb 21st 2010 11:30AM
Over the years, reality television has turned a slew of ordinary people into famous Hollywood stars. Most of those stars have since become a nuisance, dominating the tabloids with stories ranging from scandal and affair to obsessions with plastic surgery. (We're looking at you, Speidi!) Never before has 15 minutes of fame felt like such an eternity.
But if the recent death of 'Deadliest Catch' captain Phil Harris has proved anything, it's that there are still some good people left in the medium. Upon hearing the news, thousands flooded the Internet with messages of sympathy and support for his family, and reminded us of the incredible influence he had on his viewers.
Of course, these days, it's a rarity for a reality star to make such a positive dent on television; for every Phil Harris, there seems to be a Tila Tequila, or a Jason Mesnick or a Bret Michaels.
With that dichotomy in mind, we here at PopEater decided to take a closer look at reality's most beloved and reviled stars. Read our picks, then post some of your own.
As it turned out, getting dumped was the best thing that could have ever happened to Melissa Rycroft. Granted, she was embarrassed by millions of viewers when 'Bachelor' Jason Mesnick changed his mind at the reunion, picking runner-up Molly Malaney instead -- but the payoff was worth it. Rycroft has since been a contestant on 'Dancing With the Stars' (she finished third), contributed to 'Good Morning America' and will soon appear as a special correspondent for 'Entertainment Tonight.' And since we all know what it feels like to be dumped, we'll be rooting for her every step of the way.
Whether he's cleaning an animal skull, making a flower pot out of cow manure or castrating a goat with his teeth (yep), Rowe brings a fearless, can-do attitude to the job that guarantees an hour of riveting -- and often hilarious -- television. As they say ... it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it -- and we're happy that somebody is Mike Rowe.
Gunn's "nice guy" approach is a relief to the otherwise cutthroat world of fashion. As mentor on Lifetime's 'Project Runway,' he goes the extra mile for each contestant, offering advice and criticism that is constructive, logical and beneficial to their success on the show. In other words: The guy knows how to make it work. And whenever someone is able to steal the spotlight away from Heidi Klum, you know they're doing something right.
This bubbly Brit has all the right moves as host of 'So You Think You Can Dance': She's smart; she's infectious; she's easy on the eyes. Best of all, she keeps the show balanced; just when you think the hot tamale train will derail, she pulls it back in with grace and style. She's the perfect yin to Nigel and Mary's yang.
She's the co-worker every employee dreads to be around, having twice been a contestant on NBC's 'The Apprentice.' And she hasn't made it any easier for reality TV fans, either, with additional appearances on about 20 shows, including 'The Surreal Life,' in which her short fuse and bad attitude was tested by Janice Dickinson, among other house guests. But Omarosa's ultimate low point? In 2008, when she used her infamy to take on the publishing world with the release of 'The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It on and Off.' Yes, Omarosa. Please tell us how to turn it off.
Heidi and Spencer Pratt
As if their drama on 'The Hills' wasn't enough, Speidi took it to a whole new level when they appeared on the trainwreck reality series 'I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here.' The result: More whining, more confused viewers and, of all things, a feud with 'Today' show weatherman Al Roker. By then, we thought their 15 minutes of fame might be up. But as we've come to learn, they always find a way to stay in the spotlight. Case in point: Heidi's latest bout with plastic surgery, in which she allegedly had 10 procedures in one day. Sorry, Heidi. But no among of surgery can fix how frustrating you two are.
He's been called the most evil survivor in history, and after all of the stunts he pulled last season, it's tough to dispute that title. Sure, he knew the island like the back of his hand, and could pull immunity idols out of thin air, but lying, manipulating, scheming and sheer arrogance will only get you so far -- second place, in fact, which is where he ultimately finished. Now that it's over, we can't say we blame the jury for picking Natalie instead.
When you're a reality star and you find a new plus-one in the middle of divorce proceedings with your wife, odds are you probably won't make any man of the year lists. Instead, as was the case with Jon Gosselin, you'll find yourself on a slew of tabloid covers, in a nasty legal battle and at the butt of every joke in town. Luckily for us, things appear to be calming down on the Gosselin front, with news this week that Jon has finally reached a confidential settlement with TLC, the network which housed 'Jon and Kate Plus 8.' The only downside: This means that Kate and the rest of the Gosselin gang are probably headed back to TV soon.
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