These days, there's no shame in being a reality star. People send in audition tapes by the thousands for the chance to compete on Survivor or gross out their housemates on Big Brother. Andy Warhol was absolutely right: Everyone is famous for 15 minutes.
The reality stars on our list have already had their 15 minutes, but we want more. There are plenty of fame-hungry people waiting in the wings to take their place, but you can't beat the classics, the originals. Stars like Richard Hatch, Puck, and Paris Hilton made reality TV what it is today, for better or worse. Without them, we probably wouldn't have Real Housewives. Just let that sink in.
Whether you love them, hate them, or just love to hate them, you have to admit, they make for damn good television. Continue on to see which reality stars need to make a comeback.
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25. Denise Richards, Denise Richards: It's Complicated (E!)
24. Angela Pham, Gallery Girls (Bravo)
23. Bobby Brown, Gone Country (CMT)
22. Dave Hester, Storage Wars (A&E)
21. Jennifer Carroll, Top Chef (Bravo)
20. Olivia Palermo, The City (MTV)
19. Eden Wood, Toddlers & Tiaras (TLC)
18. Danielle Staub, Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo)
17. Ashley Klarich, Rock of Love (VH1)
16. David "Puck" Rainey, The Real World: San Francisco (MTV)
15. Janice Dickinson, America's Next Top Model (UPN; The CW)
14. Brian Dunkleman, American Idol (Fox)
13. Clive Pearse, Designed to Sell (HGTV)
12. Danity Kane, Making the Band (MTV)
11. Kelly Bensimon, Real Housewives of New York City (Bravo)
10. Jake Pavelka, The Bachelor (ABC)
9. Kelly Cutrone, The Hills (MTV) and America's Next Top Model (The CW)
8. Richard Hatch, Survivor (CBS)
7. Paula Abdul, American Idol (Fox)
6. Tanisha Thomas, Bad Girls Club and Tanisha Gets Married (Oxygen)
5. Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin's Alaska (TLC)
4. Tiffany Pollard, Flavor of Love and I Love New York (VH1)
3. Jade Cole, America's Next Top Model (UPN)
Jade Cole was one of America’s Next Top Model’s greatest villains. She was convinced she already was a supermodel—what could Tyra Banks teach her?
When it came time for the girls to try their hand at acting in a CoverGirl commercial, Jade was ready. “Acting is a wonderful talent to withhold,” she intoned. The wannabe model then proceeded to flub her lines with Nick Cannon and strut through the set for 30 seconds (which is a lifetime in commercial time) before saying anything. And then, of course, she messed that up too. “I was making an entrance,” she assured the judges.
Jade somehow made it to the top three before being eliminated, but her arrogance lives on in our hearts. She’s been in a few music videos since then, and claims she turned down ANTM All Stars.
These girl's just signed there Rights and Life away! Best of Luck to them cause they sure are going to need it!
— JADE (@JCSupermodel) May 12, 2011
Fair enough, but what’s a girl got to do to get her own show?
2. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, The Simple Life (Fox, E!)
1. Alexis Neiers, Pretty Wild (E!)
Alexis Neiers is primed for a comeback. Sure, she maintains that The Bling Ring is false and that she only plead guilty to avoid a jail sentence. OK, she’s married and has a kid now. Still, who could forget her hysterical phone call to Vanity Fair journalist Nancy Jo Sales?
E! really lucked out when Neiers was arrested for her involvement in the real-life Bling Ring in the midst of filming Pretty Wild. The series was supposed to follow a Hollywood mom’s attempts to control her party-loving daughters. Instead, the show focused on Neiers’ trial. Alexis later admitted that she and sister Tess were on Oxy the entire time, and she was arrested for heroin possession in 2010.
The bad girl may be all cleaned up, but we’d still watch her show. After all, we’re still plagued with this one question: Were they brown Bebe shoes or six-inch Louboutins?