Challenge debuts tonight; past RW and RR cast members can make $90K a year.

Challenge debuts tonight; past RW and RR cast members can make $90K a year.
Just when you wonder where your favorite has-been MTV reality stars are, they show up again to occupy Monday nights with another cast member battle. Thirty-six faces from the past will compete for three $60,000 prizes. Because they’re completely out of ideas over at Bunim-Murray, this will be known as The Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes 2. Wondering why these kids, many of whom are now pushing 40, keep showing up for these degrading displays of third-grade pettiness? Because they make a crapload of cash from being famous. In its profile of past reality TV stars, The New York Times reports that ex-The Real World and Road Rules cast members and other “reality stars can make $80,000 to $90,000 in campus talks alone.” They often pull in $1,500 to $2,000 for each appearance. While that’s nothing compared to the $15,000 Survivor‘s Richard Hatch makes per appearance, it is a lot more than they’d be making at the Taco Bell, assuming their limited skills could even get them employment there. Coral Smith, whose participation in this latest series marks her fifth MTV reality show, says, “Fun job, fun job. People are lining up outside–it’s harder to get on ‘The Real World’ than it is to get into Harvard. Who am I to say no?”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.