Screamers. bosses make for compelling viewing
Though they may not solve the world’s most pressing issues, this group of personalities make it hard to turn away when flipping through the 500-channel universeTom Sizemore and Heidi Fleiss
When the once A-list actor and former Hollywood madam appeared together on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew,” they walked away with the coveted Most Baggage With My Ex Award. Sizemore and Fleiss drove each other to the edge, yet somehow their mutual struggles to become sober and their disaffection for one another were just as touching as they were tragic. Alexis Neiers
It’s hard to imagine feeling any worse than after the credits from an episode of “Pretty Wild” roll past. Just the same, the relationship between this Hollywood hopeful and her enabling mom had to be seen to be believed. Neiers’ alleged involvement in the bling ring that burgled the homes of stars such as Orlando Bloom recently led to her making a plea of no contest that will result in her serving six months in jail. Simon Cowell
Love him or hate him, when auds have tuned in to watch Fox’s “American Idol,” they’ve been watching to see how Cowell responds to doe-eyed contestants. Cowell’s trademark honesty meant he wouldn’t hesitate to say what he, and everyone else, was really thinking. With him now gone, it’s hard to imagine how anyone as vital can take his place. Patty Stanger
As the matchmaker-in-chief on “Millionaire Matchmaker,” Stanger helps the wealthy and relationship-impaired connect with the person of their dreams. First, however, she often puts them through a dating makeover; with the delicate touch of a drill sergeant, Stanger tells them to trash and remake their wardrobes, redecorate their homes and mind their manners. Of course, Stanger has never been more explosive than when challenged by potential clients about why it took so long to find a suitable mate. The cast of ‘Jersey Shore’
The Joisey accents and slang might drive you crazy, but few shows have made their way into the pop culture lexicon more quickly than this one. Snooki (Nicole Polizzi) is routinely spoofed on “Saturday Night Live,” and more than one newscaster has made a joke at the expense of “The Situation” (Mike Sorrentino).
As her marriage was crumbling, “Jon and Kate Plus 8” became less about her brood and more about whom she and her soon-to-be ex-hubby were sleeping with. That, of course, brought in stellar ratings for the show’s final episodes as their failing nuptials were tabloid fodder that resonated way beyond the TLC offering. Buddy Valastro
There’s no urgent scenario that can’t be calmed with a little butter, sugar and frosting, and nobody knows this better than “Cake Boss” personality Buddy Valastro. On TLC’s dessert-friendly skein, Valastro and his family use their Hoboken, N.J., bakery do everything from help settle the nerves of anxious brides to make sure a hospital of sick children has something enjoyable to eat. He’s a real buddy after all. Jillian Michaels
As a trainer and coach on “The Biggest Loser,” Michaels drives contestants almost to their breaking point in a quest to confront personal issues and shed pounds. She now brings her no-excuses style home by moving in with families confronting weight problems on NBC’s “Losing It With Jillian,” which premiered June 1. Jake Pavelka
This reality show contestant endured a painful and controversial loss on “The Bachelorette” to become lead of “The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love,” where he found fiance Vienna Girardi. His popularity was strong enough to get him cast on this year’s “Dancing With the Stars,” and, though he was eliminated, both he and Vienna danced together at the finale, per audience demand. Joel McHale
When the stars and shows in the reality world venture a little too far into the ridiculous, someone has to pull them back. That person is McHale, and with the help of “The Soup,” he launched into the sitcom world with “Community.” “The Soup,” however, still allows McHale to point out the hypocrisy and utter foolishness that permeates the daytime dial.