Does it pay to be the reality TV villain?|
August 4, 5:16 PM
Some dramas are only as good as their best baddie.
In the case of reality TV, playing that villain can pay off. Take Richard Hatch, for example. As the first Survivor winner, he took home $1 million for what amounted to annoying his team members and being honest enough to admit it (and whether the nudity helped or not, he was also the first to do that purposefully on a mainstream reality show, too).
Jury members on reality TV are historically more apt to vote for the person they think played the most intelligently or the most honestly. Sometimes villains embody both of these qualities. Dr. Will Kirby, winner of Big Brother 2, came into the house acknowledging his game was evil and he intended to play it that way. He followed through. Runner-up Nicole Nilson Schaffrich kept him around because she thought she could beat him. She thought wrong and Will was handed the $500,000 prize.
Bad-guy strategies tend to work better on shows that are based on playing the game, rather than displaying talent. For instance, fans loved to hate Top Chef’s Marcel Vigneron from season 2 and Stefan Richter from season 5 for their cocky attitudes. Both came in just short of victory in their respective seasons; each placed second.
A reality show’s villain also classically doesn’t find love on dating-style programs. VH1’s Tiffany Pollard, who appeared in two seasons of Flavor of Love under the nickname New York, was rejected by Flavor Flav twice in the final round after fighting with and dogging her fellow castmates, and making it clear to Flav that she was only there for him.
But a lot depends on how you rebound. Pollard has been invited back for several seasons of her own dating show and New York Goes to Work, a series chronicling her attempt to become an actress in Hollywood.
The bottom line: win or lose, honesty, not necessarily integrity, triumphs on reality television.
Author: Heidi Lowry