ABC’s 20/20 Reports on Pop Culture Success of Reality TV Stars

The phenomenon of reality television… we are amazed by its allure and longevity. As viewers, we cringe with embarrassment as people stumble through their lives in public… but we don’t look away. Why do so many tune in? And why do some reality shows thrive on their stars’ sometimes toxic behavior? The report airs on “20/20,” Friday, March 11 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Reports include:

Famous for Being Famous: Richard Hatch, Kate Gosselin, the Kardashian sisters, all those real housewives… a litany of names famous for just about one reason only — reality TV, people famous for being famous. But viewers gobble it up. Why? John Berman set out to find out. Are we all just trying to find our “inner Snooki?” Berman speaks to Richard Hatch — arguably the king of reality TV characters, who imprinted himself on our consciousness more than 10 years ago as the first winner of “Survivor” – to find out.

Real Housewives: Deborah Roberts takes a look Bravo’s breakout hit “Real Housewives” and examines why things often turn so nasty on the show. “20/20″ talks to Kyle Richards of the Beverley Hills show about the ugly showdown with her sister, Kim, and to Michaele and Tareq Salahis (best known for gate crashing the White House), who talk about why they believe the other DC Housewives turned against them.

Cashing in: From Bethenny Frankel’s “Skinny Girl” margarita to Kim Kardashian’s perfume to Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino’s protein-infused vodka to Nicole “Snooki” Pollizzi’s novel, Chris Connelly reports on how some reality stars are using their 15-minutes or more in the spotlight to set up earning opportunities apart from their shows.

Winners: As Deborah Roberts reports, from runway divas to cake bosses, some reality shows do require talent to win, and then succeed.

Bret Michaels: How did a rock superstar from the ’80s become a reality TV superstar, capturing the country’s imagination and turning himself into a brand? Bret Michaels tells “20/20:” “Nothing has ever come easy. I’m a junkyard dog that has been kicked a bunch of times. And so it’s kept me with a bit of an edge. I’ve got this fire in my gut and this passion. And my whole life is about fighting to — to make that passion somehow — try to make it succeed.” Chris Connelly reports.

Charlie Sheen: Is the next big reality star Charlie Sheen? Chris Connelly reports.

“20/20″ is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and Chris Cuomo. David Sloan is executive producer.

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