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Posted at 9:39 AM ET, 04/11/2008

Friday List: Celeb-Reality Dream Team

By Liz Kelly

Show me a tired out, unemployable D-list celebrity and I'll show you a reality show in the making.

Names that once seemed bound for a comfortable level of stardom, but somehow fell short of the mark and were relegated to in-store appearances at suburban malls or, like, robbing dry cleaners. All of that changed when "The Osbornes" ushered in a new era of TV voyeurism: celeb-reality. From Ozzy's home life to Danny Bonaduce's on-camera self-destruction there is a show for every flavor of fan, each one a little more demeaning than the last.

Watch the time capsule of red flags that is the "Anna Nicole Smith Show," help Bret Michaels and Flavor Flav find love, get in on the ground floor of Britney and K-Fed's "Chaotic" relationship, watch Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston's drug-fueled daily life, behold as Gene Simmons queues up his kids for years of therapy, amaze yourself with the time you'll waste watching Scott Baio wrestle with his desire to be a playboy and look into the face of pathetic humanity as one-time names like Erin Moran and Dustin Diamond scrap it out on "Celebrity Fit Club."

But what about the stars of yesteryear that flamed out before the advent of celeb-reality. Who would have made a compelling celeb-reality star? Today's mission, should you choose to accept it (and you will! Mwah ha ha ha ha), is to name names and come up with a dream list of stars who missed the celeb-reality boat. What potential ratings gold was squandered in the years before it became standard to turn a profit from one's own lameness? What star's reality would you have wanted to see up close?

I'll start:

Dana Plato -- She was one of the original Hollywood good girls gone bad. From her hey-day as Arnold and Willis's older sister on "Diff'rent Strokes" to her descent into crime, Plato's story would have made her an ideal candidate for a solo show, a la "Breaking Bonaduce," or a valuable part of an ensemble cast. If only "Celebrity Rehab" had been around in 1999, Plato might still be here.

Joan Crawford -- Sure, "no wire hangers" is the stuff of legend, but what was life really like at Chez Crawford? In fact, forget those well-worn early years. Give me the Joan Crawford of the 1970s who was still fighting for her career in movies like the schlocky "Trog."

Share your picks below, along with a brief sketch of what makes your celeb a good candidate.

By Liz Kelly  | April 11, 2008; 9:39 AM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists  
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Comments

Rosanna Arquette - just because

Posted by: Stuck@Work | April 11, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Maybe its not too late but Henry Winkler aka "The Fonz". Sure he's popped up in a couple TV and Movie spots but what is his life really like post Happy Days?

Posted by: sjcpeach | April 11, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

David Spade: He's not a star from yesteryear but he will be soon.

Posted by: Lisa1 | April 11, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Stuck@work is just trying to get a rise outta Liz Kelly.

Posted by: methinks | April 11, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Kip Winger: Need I say more?
http://www.kipwinger.com/i_about_winger.htm

Posted by: Stuck@Work | April 11, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Clara Bow's "Making The Team" would have been a must-see newsreel.

I'd have watched "Celebrity Driving School" with Jayne Mansfield, Isadora Duncan, James Dean, Bobby Fuller, and Grace Kelly.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Andy Gibb: Bring in the Bee Gees and Victoria Principal and get our littlest Brother Gibb off drugs and back on the charts where he belongs.

After all, love is higher than a mountain, love is "Thicker Than Water."

(Phew! Finally I have "Ice Ice Baby" out of my head now.)

Posted by: td | April 11, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"Rosie O'Donnell's DSM-IV"

"Paula Abdul Goes To The Pharmacy"

"Debating Elizabeth Hasselbeck"

"Win, Place, Show: The Life of Sarah Jessica Parker"

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

byoolin at 11:58 - I actually have heartburn from laughing so hard.

Posted by: trumance | April 11, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

How about Mr. Ed, Trigger, My Friend Flick and Sarah Jessica in an all-equine version of Survivor?

Posted by: mitchnrva | April 11, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Why the Kip Winger hate? I know him, he's a very nice guy who back in the mid 90s went thru a really bad patch after his wife was killed in an automobile accident. He kept it together unlike most big hair metal doods in similar circumstances.

Plus, his "solo" album done after his wife's death, thisconversationseemslikeadream, is quite good. And I'm not a big fan of his hair band stuff.

Posted by: scott | April 11, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"Celebrity Driving School" is genius! Hilarious. And I would totally watch "Paula Abdul Goes to the Pharmacy."

Since all bets are off on the taste level, may I add two more?

"Swimming with Natalie Wood"

"I Can't Wait to Turn 28" with Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix

Posted by: td | April 11, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I think we now have our own little mutual admiration society, td.

Don't forget Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, Robert Johnson, etc., for "28," or, as Wikipedia calls it, the "27 Club."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

This week on "Swimming With Natalie Wood": Dennis Wilson and Jeff Buckley.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

they already did "Paula Abdul Goes to the Pharmacy" it was called "Hey Paula"

Posted by: lza | April 11, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Love me some Jeff Buckley.

Posted by: rachelt | April 11, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Folks, you're missing the low-hanging fruit: Elvis.

You're telling me reality TV wouldn't have been in his face during his later, jump-suited/Vegas years?

It's not that he was a has-been, per se, his image just radically changed. But he was loved enough that would have been something people would tune into.

Keeping in the music theme - Billy Joel seems to have always had a somewhat tempestuous private life, including financial problems.

Howard Hughes would also have made an interesting subject. His love of self-promotion would be at war with the constant intrusion.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | April 11, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

What about the rest of the kids from 'The Brady Bunch' and 'The Partridge Family' Eve Plum's new refrain would be 'Susan, Susan, Susan' Plus don't you really want to know what Tracy & the two Chris's are up to now?

Posted by: jes | April 11, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This week on "Swimming With Natalie Wood": Dennis Wilson and Jeff Buckley.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:28 PM
--------------


I bow to the master. Bravo!

Posted by: td | April 11, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"The Apprentice" hosted by Howard Hughes would blow Trump out of the water.

Instead of dumb stuff like running a car wash for a day or creating a line of swimsuits, it would be things like "hermetically seal HH's feces in these jars," or "trim his fingernails without looking at him," or "get the Spruce Goose airborne again."

Now THAT'S some quality programming.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I would line up to be a PA for, say, "Being Mick and Keith."

Posted by: musicgeek | April 11, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Learning to Fly," hosted by John Denver

Posted by: ripariandweller | April 11, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm just waiting 15 years or so until Sean Preston and Jayden have their own reality show.

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | April 11, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Skiing with Sonny Bono

Posted by: I'm so ashamed | April 11, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I would line up to be a PA for, say, "Being Mick and Keith."

Posted by: musicgeek | April 11, 2008 12:42 PM

*****

Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain, more like. :-P


And this week on a very special John Denver's "Learning to Fly," Lynyrd Skynyrd!

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The person who gave me a hard time last week for asking about Bruno Hauptmann's phone number must be having kittens right about now.

Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm just waiting 15 years or so until Sean Preston and Jayden have their own reality show.

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | April 11, 2008 12:46 PM

With Suri, the Pitt-Jolie clan, Apple, Harlow, Emme and Max (I think that's his name), Dannielynn, Jamie Lynn's kid, etc. as guest stars!

Posted by: WDC 21113 | April 11, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"The Apprentice" hosted by Howard Hughes would blow Trump out of the water.

Please, "The Apprentice" w/byoolin would blow Trump out of the water.

Posted by: jes | April 11, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

We're going downhill fast (apologies to I'm So Ashamed and Sonny Bono)! Somehow I don't think this was the intent of Liz's original post.

But we might as well add to the list Cass Elliott's "Hamming It Up" and The Big Bopper's "Small Plane, Big Crash."

Posted by: td | April 11, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Chaotic" starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

N.B. They weren't reality shows, but didn't we have an outlet back in the day for appearances by washed up celebs? "Love Boat", "Fantasy Island" and "Murder She Wrote"?

Posted by: 44west | April 11, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Tiffany Brissette, Vicki the Robot of the 80s TV sitcom "Small Wonder," now holds a degree in psychology and works as a counselor with small children (according to IMDB). How about a reality show where she counsels regular children as they interact with ROBOT children?? "Brissette's Small Wonders: A World of Robots"

A stretch, I know, but I would watch. :-)

Posted by: s-bomb | April 11, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Damn you, people, I am LMAO when I should be outraged.

How about "Gay or Not Gay" hosted by Anderson Cooper

Posted by: jake e. poo | April 11, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

s-bomb, I think she could easily make a living counseling Suri, Spears kids, Apple etc....

Posted by: RiverCityRoller | April 11, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but think Liz Kelly is shaking her head and muttering, "What hath I wrought??"

Posted by: methinks | April 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

All the MGM kid slaves - Micky Rooney, Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien etc.

I can see a Judy Garland having a show, she often did specials at her home with the kids. And it helps that she had two girls who have had sucessful careers.

Joan Crawford wouldn't have let a camera within 1000 feet of her everyday life, we are talking about a person who was paranoid and wanted to control every second of her image.

Posted by: MGC | April 11, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

jake e. poo: How about "Gay or Not Gay" hosted by Anderson Cooper.

It could be a game show, where contestants could bet on their gayness or straightness, then Kathy Griffin would appear behind door number three to try and out them with her schtick.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

me at 1:25
duh: type in name first, type in name first, type in name first....

Posted by: rachelt | April 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Joseph Pujo a/k/a Le Pétomane (1857-1945)- French professional "fartiste" and entertainer. He had remarkable control of his abdominal muscles, enabling him to pass wind at will. A star of Paris' Moulin Rouge, his act involved playing a flute stuck you-know-where, playing "La Marseillaise," blowing out candles from several yards away, and imitating cannon fire, thunderstorms, animal sounds, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He entertained the Prince of Wales, the King the Belgians, and Sigmund Freud. Pujol's usual fee was 20,000 francs per show.

Comedy Central would have given him his own show, which would have smelled much better than Lewis Black's "The Root Of All Evil."

Posted by: Great Stone Face | April 11, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

would line up to be a PA for, say, "Being Mick and Keith."

Posted by: musicgeek | April 11, 2008 12:42 PM

*****

Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain, more like. :-P


Posted by: byoolin | April 11, 2008 12:48 PM

No, that would be ME lining up for the Journey gig.

Posted by: Bored @ work | April 11, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Man can you imagine Celbrity Rehab with the whole caast of the Little Rascals? That would be money!

Posted by: PGM | April 11, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

How about "Gay or Not Gay" hosted by Anderson Cooper

Posted by: jake e. poo

Guest starring Rock Hudson, and next week, Anne Heche

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

The Kathy Lee Gifford Show - replete with Frank & Cody.

Posted by: tom shles | April 11, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Airing Out My Grievances" with John F. Kennedy

"Gentleman Prefer Demure Starlets" with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell

"A Man's Guide to being a Manly Man" with Rock Hudson

"Hangin' with the Captain" with Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans

Posted by: ... | April 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see a show where celebrity kids confront their parents about stupid things they did when they were younger -- that is, before the celebrities themselves became high and mighty parents who try to disown their pasts.

I want to see Madonna explain the "Sex" book to Lourdes and Rocco with a straight face, since she Madonna is always saying what a strict parent she is. The kids can then give a thumbs-up or -down to Mom's explanation, along with air time to express what it's like being the children of a one-time exhibitionist.

Posted by: td | April 11, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Milli Vanilli

Posted by: KT | April 11, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You people are evil but I love it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

RiverCityRoller, I agree. But then there would be no robots! :-)

Brissette + celebrity kids + robots, now there's an idea...

Posted by: s-bomb | April 11, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

More low hanging fruit (heh): a reality show w/ Liberace. Any context - hanging out at home, finding him true love, you name it.

Survivor with the original cast of Gilligan's Island

I for one would really like to see a show about the "help" at Oprah's place. Every now and then she mentions (odd) things on her show about how she lives, like how her sheets are washed every other day. I think it would be really interesting to see all the weird things she makes her staff do: constant bed changes, other obsessive-compulsive hygiene things, dog walks, dog banquets, whatever. A reality show about Oprah WITHOUT Oprah in it.

Little off subject but am I the only one seriously expecting one of the networks to start working up a show not too unlike the spoof "MILF Island" from last night's "30 Rock?"

Posted by: NW DC | April 11, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Charlie at the zoo. Charleton Heston spends time with the gorillas at the zoo.
This weeks show features Mr. Heston saying "get your dirty paws off me, you damm dirty apes."

Posted by: DW | April 11, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"Knot tying with Michael Hutchence," "Baking with Sylvia Plath," and "Flying Lessons with JFK Jr."

Someone should have a celebrity zombie party!

Posted by: Me | April 11, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I meant filthy paws of course.

Posted by: dw | April 11, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

To play out some earlier themes:
"Rock of Love" with Rock Hudson -- only it would have both male & female contestants like the Tila Tequila show; or

"Twist of Fate" with Waylon Jennings. Each week Waylon has a ticket to make some ill-fated trip (think Hindenburg, Titanic, etc.), but is then subject to a coin toss to see if he has to give up his seat to someone more famous or important.


And finally, even though he's not dead, we could capitalize on the latest lame internet phenomenon and create:

"Rick Roll'd" with Rick Astley -- it'd be like Punk'd, only the punchline to every practical joke would be that the person being fooled would somehow end up locked in a room with Rick Astley, who would then sing "Never Gonna' Give You Up" to the unsuspecting victim.

Posted by: WoW | April 11, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

two words - Charo!

Posted by: jlr | April 11, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Charo was on the sureal life

Posted by: MGC | April 11, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

and she's not dead. yet.

Posted by: WoW | April 11, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think Charo has a new VH1 or MTV show...

Posted by: Me | April 11, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of celeb kids, Candice Bergen had quite a book re her father (Can you believe it, a ventriloquist on radio? Right!!!!).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The Monkees

A show that follows all 4 of them, whereever they are today. Since the show would cut between all 4, it would hopefully not get too boring.

Posted by: CJB | April 11, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

OK - everyone is chiming in with dead celebrities - but wouldn't "Keeping up With The Bushes" be a great reality show?

So many sub-plots - glamourous locales, etc.

Posted by: John D in Houston | April 11, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Two words:

Bob Crane...

(Of Hogan's Heroes and Autofocus fame if the name doesn't ring any bells)

Posted by: Nolabrarian | April 11, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Not a celeb, but how about "Chillin' with the Cheney's"?

Fly fishing in the Rockies, awkward Thanksgiving or Easter family get-togethers, Dick & the Mrs. debating US policies, 'round the world jaunts, perhaps a secret meeting or two? A bit wonky, no doubt, but imagine the possibilities...

Posted by: Nolibrarian | April 12, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Debbie Gibson does Dallas

Posted by: omni | April 14, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

More low hanging fruit -- Tanya Harding. She could have one of those "Rock of Love" type shows, and swat each contestant with a hubcap as he leaves.

Posted by: D | April 14, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I could watch Amy Sedaris do anything.

Posted by: nls | April 15, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Elvis on Celebrity Fit Club

Posted by: Paulie | April 16, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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