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Kim's "Dash" of Reality On TV

By Melissa Castellanos

What is it about reality TV that reels us in? Is it an escape from our own troubles or a taking of comfort in knowing that other people are crazier than we are?

Whatever it may be, there is no disputing that reality TV has become a money-maker. It has launched many new careers while boosting others in desperate need of resuscitation.

But with divorce, broken friendships, and betrayals, is being a reality TV star really worth it?

Kim Kardashian of Kardashian, now among a slew of reality TV stars, realizes that's the price you pay for fame.

"You know what? I just kind of take it as it comes," she said. "When things happen, when there's unflattering photos that are seen of me, you just have to just kind of laugh with it."

A fan of "Jon & Kate Plus 8" before there were rumors of infidelity and the news of divorce, Kardashian admitted that the recent buzz surrounding the show has sparked her interest even more.

"I watched it last season, and I have been so busy that I haven't gotten a chance to really watch TV lately," she said. "It has great ratings, people love reality TV shows and I have got to tune into to it because I have heard so much about it!"

Like the Gosselins, "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"'s Danielle Staub did not fare well with reality TV fame either.

Her criminal past was revealed on the show after her friends discovered an out-of-print book called "A Cop Without A Badge," which allegedly depicted her as a drug-using call girl, a charge which she denied to People magazine. She did however admit to being arrested and charged in June of 1986 as an accessory to a kidnap and ransom plot, allegedly spearheaded by her drug-dealing boyfriend.

According to TheSmokingGun.com, who obtained the court papers, Staub, whose name was Beverly Ann Merrill at the time, pleaded guilty to a single extortion charge and was sentenced to five years probation and drug treatment.

"Britain's Got Talent" finalist and ugly duckling Susan Boyle stole the hearts of millions around the world when she shocked the judges with her singing voice. But scrutinized for her looks by the tabloids, she cracked under pressure and was hospitalized.

For some reality TV stars however, drama doesn't always end in turmoil. Instead, their careers are boosted or their once-tarnished images are burnished.

Former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich, who took the place of her husband, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in the NBC's reality show "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" said she had an epiphany in the Costa Rican jungle.

Blagojevich, who called her experience "life-altering," was embraced by her cast mates and viewers - a long way from profanity-filled rants that were caught on federal wiretaps prosecutors had made of her husband. (Rod Blagojevich faces federal corruption charges for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.)

Kardashian's step-dad, Jenner, didn't find his experience as "life-altering" as Blagoevich, but he learned that life in the Australian jungle (in the original show in 2003) wasn't always easy.

"He (Jenner) said that it rained for about two or three weeks straight non-stop and they had to sleep outside with just a tarp over them," Kardashian explained. "So he said that it was really tough to deal with the conditions... He said it was hard, but he is your typical guy's guy that can take care of anything..."

(Jenner's fellow cast mates were John Lehr, Cris Judd, Melissa Rivers, "Downtown Julie Brown," Tyson Beckford, Nikki Schieler Ziering, Maria Conchita Alonso, Alana Stewart and Robin Leach.)

And then there is "The Bachelor" reject, Melissa Rycroft, who went from being humiliated and dumped by bachelor Jason Mesnick on live television to placing third on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" to landing a summer gig on "Good Morning America." She even got engaged to her long-time boyfriend.

Like Rycroft, Kardashian did her own stint on "Dancing with the Stars." She also starred in "Disaster Movie" and often hosts for "E! Entertainment Tonight," "The Insider" and "Extra." She has made appearances on "The Simple Life," "How I Met Your Mother" and is currently producing her first show called "Crisis Control."

Kardashian's sisters, Kourtney and Khloe, also have a spin-off of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians," called "Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami."

"Keeping Up With The Kardashians" has been nominated for Choice Reality Show and Kim Karsdashian has been nominated for Choice Reality TV star for the Teen Choice Awards, on Monday, Aug. 10 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

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