You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Runners-up are first in series stardom

Road to the Emmys 2012: Reality Competition

Winning a reality competition can get you fame and fortune, but for the also-rans — even if they get eliminated early — a grand prize might still await.

With enough charisma to become memorable, these folks can find themselves in the winners circle with their own reality show.

Think back to 2006, when viewers were introduced to New York (aka Tiffany Pollard) on “Flavor of Love,” where she competed for the heart of the velour-wearing clockmaster Flavor Flav. Despite her inability to make a love connection, the exposure led to a slew of other reality opportunities.

It wasn’t long before Miss York was running the gamut of daytime talkers and making appearances on “Flavor of Love: Charm School,” before eventually snagging a few of her own competition reality shows. New York served as a model for other groupie-turned-girlfriend hopefuls Daisy De La Hoya and Megan Hauserman from “Rock of Love,” and a reality TV show format was born.

The potential of these also-rans can be a big business, both for the network and the former contestant. More often than not, unsuccessful challengers are finding their niche as hosts, judges and experts for other reality shows.

Tabatha Coffey was on the first season of “Shear Genius,” and while the saucy Aussie had the salon skills to make her noticeable to auds, a bad matchup with Tyson Daniel in a team challenge cut the hair salon owner from the running. However, her tell-it-as-it-is attitude and unique personal style won her the coveted fan-favorite prize and made Bravo execs take notice of the outspoken hairdresser.

“Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” aired first in August 2008 and follows Coffey from one failing hair salon to the next as she verbally whips the owners, the workers and the salon into shape. The season four finale aired April 3.

Designer Santino Rice was introduced to fans of “Project Runway” in the second season, where his talent, unapologetic (and sometimes brutal) honesty and dead-on Tim Gunn-goes-to-Red-Lobster impression won him fans, despite “Runway” editors’ attempts to cast him as the show’s villain. Santino made it to the final three, but ended up with the bronze, finishing behind Daniel Vosovic and Chloe Dao.

Santino bounced around the tube for a while, appearing as a judge on the Miss Universe pageant and “America’s Most Smartest Model,” before he landed on Lifetime’s “On the Road With Santino & Austin.” Teamed with fellow former “Project” designer Austin Scarlett, the two took a roadtrip through America’s backroads, helping cowtown ladies express themselves through couture.

In 2009, the designer landed a sedentary position as a judge on Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” where his comments help shape budding drag queens hit full superstar status. “On the Road” aired for a single season in 2010, while the season finale for “Drag Race” aired April 30.

“Top Chef” season-two runner-up Marcel Vigneron is best remembered for being his own fan-favorite. First introduced to foodie auds in season two of the Bravo competish, the molecular gastronomy guru managed to get himself ostracized from the other players due to his Kanye-sized ego, attitude and questionable rap. Vigneron made it to the final two, but eventually lost to Ilan Hall.

Yet despite his amour-propre, Bravo execs asked Vigneron to return to the tube with repeated visits to many a “Top Chef” All-Star specials. Eventually, Vigneron nabbed his own show on the Syfy network with “Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen,” which preemed in March 2011, where he teaches would-be foodies the joys of beer spheres and edible diamond rings.

Road to the Emmys 2012: Reality Competition
Sugar spices skeins | Runners-up run up to series stardom | Music not the food of Emmy love | Race to mimic success of ‘Amazing’ never ends | A contending blend | Why we watch

More TV

  • Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime

    'Delhi Crime’ Wins big at Asian Academy Creative Awards

    Richie Mehta’s harrowing Netflix series “Delhi Crime” was the big winner at the 2nd annual Asian Academy Creative Awards in Singapore on Friday. Representing the show, lead actress Shefali Shah was rushed off her feet as she repeatedly had to return to the stage. “Delhi Crime” earned her best actress in a leading role, best [...]


    ‘Karnawal,’ ‘Restless,’ ‘Summer White,’ ‘Firsts’ Win Big at Ventana Sur

    BUENOS AIRES  — With Ventana Sur now firing on multiple cylinders, featuring pix-in post or project competitions for not only art films but also genre pics and animation – two sectors embraced by young creators in Latin America – “Karnawal,” “Restless,” “Summer White” and  “Firsts” proved big winners among Ventana Sur’s arthouse and animation competitions, [...]

  • Robert Walker Jr.

    'Star Trek' Actor Robert Walker Jr. Dies at 79

    Robert Walker Jr., son of actors Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, died Thursday, his family confirmed to the official website for the television show “Star Trek.” He was 79. Walker Jr. is best remembered for playing the titular Charlie Evans in the “Star Trek” episode “Charlie X” from the show’s first season in 1966. His [...]

  • Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, right,

    TV Ratings: Why Is the NBA Shooting Air Balls?

    The NBA’s TV ratings so far this season have been far from all-star level. Viewership across ESPN, TNT and NBA TV is down 15% year-to-year overall, according to Nielsen figures. TNT’s coverage is averaging 1.3 million viewers through 14 telecasts, down 21% versus last year’s comparable coverage, while on ESPN the picture isn’t much prettier. The [...]

  • Claire Danes, Homeland

    TV News Roundup: Showtime Releases 'Homeland' Final Season Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, Showtime drops the trailer for the final season of “Homeland,” and National Geographic reveals the first look at Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in “Genius: Aretha.” FIRST LOOKS Showtime released the trailer for the final season of “Homeland,“ premiering Feb. 9. The eighth and final season, starring Claire Danes and [...]

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content