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?
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.