Which of these "celebrities" doesn't have a reality show in the works: Rod Blagojevich, Brooke Hogan, Khloe Kardashian, Mary Carey, Shayne Lamas?
That's a trick question, because it seems they all do.
Thanks to the popularity — and low cost — of unscripted so-called reality TV shows, cable channels and some networks have prepared a slew of new shows for the coming season, searching out marginally famous people with the most chaotic and dysfunctional lives possible.
And just when it seems that a judge might have stepped in and saved us from one celebrity debasement — as indicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was denied permission to participate in NBC's I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here — the ex-pol told the Today show Thursday morning that he was heading out to Los Angeles to film something for the show, anyway.
It seems quaint to recall a time when TV networks might think it was unseemly to invite an indicted politician to participate in one of their programs. But this is the brink such shows have brought us to — feeding viewers' taste for humiliation and conflict to the point that distinctions between accused criminals and impeached officials don't really matter much.
Here's a taste of the craziness coming:
The Lamas Family
Produced by Heidi Fleiss' cousin Mike, the guy who gave us The Bachelor and the 2003 remake of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we have a series centered on Bachelor alum Shayne Lamas, pictured here, and her siblings A.J. and Dakota — all children of former Falcon Crest actor, the four-times-married Lorenzo Lamas. On E! channel this fall.
Kourtney and Khloe in Miami
The sisters of Kim Kardashian — who herself leveraged being mostly known as a beautiful pal to Paris Hilton and starring in a sex tape into reality TV fame — now have their own series, documenting their attempt to move their fashion boutique to Miami. Of course, Ryan Seacrest is an executive producer for this E! show.
Brooke Knows Best
Brooke, above, the pop singer daughter of Hulk Hogan, brings another season of her reality show to VH1, documenting her life living solo in Miami. What are the odds her parents' contentious divorce won't be a story line?
Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew
Exploiting celebrities struggling with addiction hasn't been enough for former Loveline co-host Dr. Drew Pinsky. This fall, he'll bring a show to VH1 exploring treatments for sex addiction; watching how porn star Mary Carey behaved during her stint on Pinsky's Celebrity Rehab, I have a hunch who the first cast member is going to be.