In the late 90s, reality TV made a most triumphant return. It was in the eighties that reality TV surfaced to mediocre results and most television viewers were not ready to allow it to become the cultural phenomena that it eventually became.
With shows like Survivor, The Apprentice, and The Amazing Race, the public, being quite tired of watching prime-time dramas, sitcoms and the such, were more than ready to give reality TV a chance, as they saw people just like them vying for some top spot of even just going through the motions of daily life as the bright lights of the cameras shined onto them.
Reality TV spawned the society we now have today, which is liked by some, but detested by others. And although reality TV dawned the uprising of the reality star, many only enjoyed a mere fifteen minutes in the so-called spotlight. Join us as we take a look at the reality stars you are rather unlikely to see ever again.
20 Troy McClain (The Apprentice)
From Season 1 of this highly successful show, Troy McClain, a mortgage broker from Boise, Idaho, was definitely a top contender for the ultimate spot. He, as well as many others from that season, made that show what it eventually became. With charisma and acute business credentials to back them up, that cast helped launch a phenomenon that's still spoken of to this day.
19 Sammi Sweetheart (Jersey Shore)
The drama was never far away when this "sweetheart" was on the screen. If she wasn't riling up one cast-mate then she was riling up another. She knew how to push buttons without even trying, and she had a lot of the members of the cast fighting, and over her of all things. She refused to return to Jersey Shore: Family Vacation, and we guess she's saving the drama for her private life nowadays.
18 Richard Hatch (Survivor)
There's perhaps no other reality star with more controversy surrounding them. When Survivor premiered, not many people were aware of how contestants for shows like this would react when put in certain circumstances, and the shrewdness of this particular gentleman came off as evil. It's funny to think back now, as his actions were quite tame compared to what's been seen since, but he was a trend-setter, that's for sure.
17 Sabrina Brimhall (Hell’s Kitchen)
Can anyone say: "Yikes!?" This young woman was definitely a terror on that show. If anyone could match Chef Gordon Ramsey in aggression word for word, it would be this young woman. She terrorized cast-mates in the dorms and was a storm of emotion during dinner service. She was actually a little scary, and she sure made headlines while she was on the show.
16 Nick Warnock (The Apprentice)
He used to say: "I can sell ice to a Native Northerner," which was interesting, because he got his start actually selling ice on the street. Pretty cool. But this young man proved early in the first season of The Apprentice that he was definitely quite the salesman, he also made headlines by starting an on-screen relationship with another cast-mate. He of course didn't win, but he sure had the support of viewers everywhere.
15 Maven Huffman (Tough Enough)
There sure have been some Tough Enough contestants and winners that have stood the test of time, so to speak. The Miz is probably the best example, and as far as contestants that didn't win, we'd have to go with Dolph Ziggler and, of course, Ryback as contestants that made the most of their appearances on that show. Maven, however didn't fare so well. Despite the fact that he won Season 1 and had a few years in the ring, it didn't amount to much.
14 Paula (Jersey Shore)
Adorable as the day was long, but oh-so-poisonous. She was Mike "The Situation"'s main squeeze on the initial run of The Jersey Shore. She sure made headlines in the sixth and final season, and for reasons we can't really discuss here. Let's just say don't ever trust a cake that this woman sends you ... EVER! The events that transpired may have been scripted, but still, a lasting impression is a lasting impression.
13 Ahmed "Babyface" Khaddour (The Contender)
Ahmed Khaddour was one of the young boxers that made up the cast of The Contender's first season on NBC. It was produced by the famed Mark Burnett of Survivor fame, and the host was none other than Sylvester Stallone himself. Young Ahmed here was a definitely charismatic individual that stirred up a lot of controversy in the house, especially with now famed boxer Ishe Smith.
12 Carolyn Kepchur (The Apprentice)
She was one of the severe judges on The Apprentice. She always had something to say, and her snake eyes were always ready to catch something that the show's main host would miss. She was ultimately fired, and without much fanfare she was replaced quite unceremoniously, which is something she didn't appreciate as she has stated publicly.
11 Russell Kook II (Hell’s Kitchen)
Now talk about loose cannons! This guy had aggression written all over his face. He definitely needed a chill pill many times during the filming of a very aggression-ridden Season 8. He ended up placing second, though, so all that aggression seemed to have paid off at least a little bit, but it wasn't enough to cash in on the ultimate prize.
10 Linda Hogan (Hogan Knows Best)
This was probably one of the most disastrous endings in the history of tabloid journalism. The ending of the union between Linda and Hulk Hogan was intensely scrutinized by the press, probably because Hogan was such a wholesome figure for the longest time. She took him out and destroyed his image. She achieved some fame on the reality show based on their lives, but perhaps it was her antics during the divorce that got her the most notoriety.
9 The Unit (Jersey Shore)
To say that Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino has changed his life would be an understatement. He has gone from the bad bot image to wholesome husband who has learned from his mistakes over the years, and that meant probably saying goodbye to some of his old friends. The Unit, over here, although charismatic, seemed to be quite the bad influence on Mike, seen particularly in season 5 of Jersey Shore.
8 Kelly Wiglesworth (Survivor)
She placed second to the aforementioned Richard hatch in that first season of Survivor, which would ultimately set the tone for the later seasons and set the tone for competition related reality television shows for years to come. They were the trend-setters and her part in that show will go unforgotten, we're quite sure. Her face here says it all, though.
7 Christopher Nowinski (Tough Enough)
Christopher was a contestant from that first season of Tough Enough that went considerably far. He was filled with charisma, conviction, and physical ability, which are essentially the key elements for a rising star in the WWE. He had a great character, which was basically a Harvard Graduate type that looked down on everybody, but his fame was cut short because of debilitating head injuries. He has since spoken out about violence in the sport.
6 Justin Guarini (American Idol)
This guy was all the rage for about precisely two minutes. He didn't even get his full fifteen. He was one of the contestants on American Idol's first seasons and although he went very far, he ultimately lost it all to the amazing Kelly Clarkson. They tried to capitalize on the fame of the show and his allure with a musical film that flopped really hard.
5 Susan Hawk (Survivor)
A member of the secret alliance with Richard Hatch, this woman would learn the valuable lesson of what it would mean to trust the members of your own alliance. headlines were made on that show, and perhaps this is why the show and the subsequent popularity of reality television as a whole became what it is today. Tensions were high and these people played their parts well, as she so obviously did. Essentially all she had to do was be herself.
4 Anthony "The Bullet" Bonsante (The Contender)
Talk about aggression. It's come up quite a bit in this piece and we'll have to stay on it for a bit longer, especially when discussing this young boxer here. When he showed up for the first season of The Contender, he made no qualms about why he was there... to win at all costs. He fought tooth and nail, the footage of him actually vilifying him in a sense, but we more than understand his devotion. He wanted the best for his family.
3 Adrianne Curry (The Surreal Life)
She won America's Top Model back in 2003 and since then has racked in quite the appearances. These appearances have dwindled some and we can all see the diminishing spark of her initial fame. Most of her appearances in film, TV, and the internet kind of stopped in about 2012 and she has yet to make any more headlines.
2 Ashley Parker Angel (Making the Band)
Boy bands were all the rage, especially at the turn of the century, which was why a show like this was so perfect at the time that it came about. Audiences and fans of the music genre were now privy to how bands like that were actually formed, as this show took many behind the scenes. This young man was the focus of the show and although he was so popular at the time, that fame would dwindle.
1 Jon Gosselin (Jon & Kate Plus 8)
Now here's a couple that would not only spawn success for family-based reality TV, but would spawn the printing of so much tabloid journalism. We'd imagine that they alone had more stuff written about them than maybe even Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston at the time. Could be, but this man was sure taken through the motions of a pretty severe witch hunt.
Sources: Wonderwall.com, Hollywood.com