Reality television is an unstoppable monster. In an era of increased diversity in entertainment options, most television companies have trouble competing with the multitude of free offerings available. Because of a decrease in audience size, most cable channels are looking for relatively inexpensive programming options. Rather than pay a staff of writers, actors, and behind the scenes crew, channels can capture and dramatize real-life events.
Many reality series like Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Big Brother, have been on the air for decades and have generated millions of dollars in revenue for their prospective networks. Survivor alone has been on the air since 2000 and has amassed 532 episodes over 36 seasons, but sadly, not every show is a massive success.
Most reality shows are canceled after just a few short seasons and are rarely discussed again. Unlike some canceled-too-soon cult-classic scripted shows like Firefly, Arrested Development, and Freaks and Geeks, most reality shows fade into obscurity.
While most of them are unlike to make a comeback, TLC produced a number of memorable reality shows in the '00s. These low-budget series have a nostalgic touch to them that is unmistakable. The classic TLC branding, standard definition picture, and cheesy graphics bring back a different time of television. While many of the shows have been forgotten by the general public, the former stars remain.
This begs the question: Where Are They Now? '00s TLC Reality Stars.
20 Kat Von D - L.A. Ink
L.A. Ink only ran for four seasons from 2008-2011. It racked up 84 episodes during that time, but fell short of marks set by its predecessors. The show’s star, Katherine von Drachenberg, however, has continued to grow her popularity.
Since the show ended in 2011, Kat Von D has experimented with a career in music. She provided vocals to the Finnish band The 69 Eyes and the electronic duo Prayers. She also recorded a handful of tracks with Dave Grohl.
Von D has had a line of make-up sold in Sephora stores since 2008.
In February of 2018, she married musician Leafar Seyer of Prayers, a band she had previously worked with. “Today, I married my soul’s mate, my mind’s twin, my best friend: @prayers ?Juntos en vida y en muerte,” Von D wrote on Instagram.
19 Evan Farmer - While You Were Out
While You Were Out was never as popular or widely acclaimed as similar shows like Trading Spaces or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
One of the show’s hosts was actor Evan Farmer. Prior to the show, Farmer was best known for his performance in 2gether, a made-for-TV movie that aired on MTV. The mockumentary about a fictional boy band was such as success, that it was spun off into a TV series and the fake band released back to back gold albums.
After hosting While You Were Out, Farmer took over as the host of the CMT show Top 20 Countdown.
Three years later, that show was canceled as well. Farmer pitched and hosted several pilot episodes of shows for A&E, CMT, and United Airlines, but none were picked up. He released a book in 2012 called Breaking In: The Formula for Success in Entertainment.
18 Stacy London - What Not To Wear
Clinton Kelly’s cohort and co-host for 9 years on What Not To Wear was stylist and fashion consultant Stacy London. Unlike Kelly, London was in every season of the show and appeared in over 300 episodes.
After the show, it was announced that London would return to TLC to host Love, Lust or Run which ran for 3 seasons. Around the time that Love, Lust or Run ended, London underwent a spinal surgery to fix a chronic back problem. The surgery required an extended recovery period that almost left London broke and broken.
“The truth is, I didn’t understand the extent to which back surgery would cripple me — emotionally and physically,” London wrote for Refinery29 in February. “The time in the hospital alone included some of the most agonizing moments I’ve ever had.”
17 Jeannie Mai - 10 Years Younger
Jeannie Mai first became well known because of her role as the celebrity makeup artist for 10 Years Younger. Prior to that, she had worked as a makeup artist and celebrity trainer. She worked with celebrities like Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alicia Keys, and Rosario Dawson before hosting a show called Character Fantasy for the USA Network. She co-hosted the short-lived show Stir before appearing in 175 episodes of 10 Years Younger.
After the show ended, Jeannie went on to host the show How Do I Look? for the Style Network and began hosting the Miss Universe pageant. She appeared on episodes of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, but it wasn’t until 2013 that she found a long-term gig.
She is currently one of the hosts for Fox’s daytime talk show, The Real. Since joining the show in 2013, she has appeared in over 650 episodes.
16 Hannah Aitchison - L.A. Ink
Unlike Kat Von D, fellow L.A. Ink co-star Hannah Aitchison didn’t see a growth in celebrity after the show was canceled. She was a judge for season 3 of Best Ink on the Oxygen network, but hasn’t appeared on television since.
Rather than go further down the rabbit hole into show business, Hannah decided to create a business of her own.
She moved to Pittsburgh and founded Curiosity Shop, a tattoo parlor/vintage store that sells a wide variety of products. In addition to custom tattoos, patrons can choose from an eclectic collection of clothing, art, books, and other oddities. The shop employs two other tattoo artists.
In addition to owning and operating Curiosity Shop, Hannah enjoys traveling the world while working at tattoo conventions and artist collectives.
15 Boyd Coddington - American Hot Rod
American Hot Rod aired on both TLC and Discovery Channel during its 5 seasons. The show was incredibly popular on both networks and received a lot of attention for its frequent workplace and staffing drama.
The show ended in 2008 after its star, Boyd Coddinton, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 63.
Coddington, who was revered in the custom car world, was a long-time diabetic and succumbed to complications after an elective surgery.
"It is a major loss for the automotive enthusiasts and hot rod aficionados around the world. Boyd Coddington did so much more than create automotive trends, he also built the finest hot rods. He was entertaining on his TV Show (TLC's - American Hot Rod) and an ambassador who educated." said Harry Hibler, former publisher of Hot Rod Magazine after Coddington’s passing away.
14 Clinton Kelly - What Not to Wear
What Not To Wear was one of TLC’s most successful shows. It ran for 10 seasons and had a total of 345 episodes before ending its run in 2013. One of the show’s most familiar faces (although he didn’t join until season 2) was Clinton Kelly.
A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Kelly was already a successful writer and editor before the show. He worked with popular magazines such as Marie Claire, Mademoiselle, and Daily News Record.
Since 2011, he has been one of the hosts of ABC’s The Chew.
He has appeared in over 1,000 episodes of the show, which is now in its 7th season. Kelly published several books while working on What Not to Wear, but in 2017 he published his first since the show ended. I Hate Everyone, Except You is a memoir about Kelly’s life and career.
13 Paul Teutul Sr. - American Chopper
American Chopper originally aired on the Discovery channel from 2003-2007, but was moved to TLC from 2008-2010. The show’s star, Paul Teutul Sr., appeared in over 50 episodes of the show and has been a television presence since it began.
After the cancellation of American Chopper in 2010, Senior and his crew started a new show on CMT called Orange County Choppers. He returned to Discovery for American Chopper: Shaq Bike and has now appeared on a new season of American Chopper that began in March.
Senior has also found himself in some controversy lately. In February, he received a notice that his $1.5 million home was being foreclosed on. In order to fix his finances, Senior tried to launch a new season on Discovery, but in the process, angered his former business partner and investor, who is now suing him for fraud.
12 Jon Gosselin - Jon & Kate Plus 8
Kate Plus 8 (formerly Jon & Kate Plus 8) is technically still on the air, but the show’s former star, Jon Gosselin, hasn’t been on the show since 2009. After his very public divorce from his wife Kate, Jon moved to New York and his heated relationship with his now ex-wife continued to make headlines.
Despite being estranged from several of his kids, Jon continues to fight a legal battle over custody of his children.
This legal battle has racked up immense legal fees. In 2016, Jon was working at TGI Friday's but said he donated his weekly paycheck to charity. He's also worked as a DJ at restaurants and clubs, and appeared on the VH1 reality show Couples Therapy.
11 Ahmet Zappa - Robotica
Ahmet Zappa was the host of Robotica, but he’s probably better known for his name. He is the third child of legendary musician Frank Zappa.
All of Frank Zappa’s children went into show business, but none have had as varied a career as Ahmet.
After Robotica was canceled in 2002, Ahmet appeared in over 20 episodes of Star Search as a judge. He also hosted the first and only season of the VH1 reality show But Can They Sing? He was also hired to write the script for a proposed Fraggle Rock movie that has languished in development since 2005. He also wrote and produced The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
In 2006, he sparked controversy when, as executor of his father’s family trust, he tried to prevent his older brother Dweezil from using the name “Zappa” to promote his musical tour.
10 Petra Němcová - A Model Life
A Model Life did not last very long on TLC. The show about six young models who move to New York and compete for a contract with NEXT Modeling only lasted one season.
The show’s host, Petra Němcová, has been busy since A Model Life was canceled.
In 2007, Petra was a presenter for Live Earth, an environmental event created by Al Gore and Kevin Wall. Later in 2008, she appeared in Sport’s Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition as the canvas for body painting by Joanne Gair. This wasn’t the first time that Petra appeared in the publication. She was featured in the swimsuit edition from 2002-2006.
In 2007, Petra became a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. She managed to last four weeks on the show before being eliminated.
9 Tanya Memme - Robotica
The only other person to appear on all three seasons of Robotica was Tanya Memme. She hosted the show alongside Ahmet Zappa.
After the show was canceled in 2002, she made a handful of guest appearances in successful shows such as Jag, CSI: Miami, and The Practice. Soon after, she became the host of the A&E reality show Sell This House. In the show, her and designer Roger Hazard would help people sell houses that had been on the market for a while. The show ran for 9 seasons before transitioning to an hour-long format and being rebranded as Sell This House: Extreme.
Sell This House: Extreme ended in 2013, but it was a lucrative series for Tanya who also served as a consulting producer for multiple seasons.
She also hosted the Hallmark Channel show Home & Family for 4 years.
8 Gocha Chertkoev - Ballroom Bootcamp
Ballroom Bootcamp is one of the lesser known shows that was created by TLC in the '00s. The series followed the journeys of multiple people who all wanted to improve their dancing abilities. The host of the short-lived series, Gocha Chertkoev, has an extensive body of work to go along with his television appearances.
Prior to his appearance on Ballroom Bootcamp, Gocha and his partner Shorena Gachechiladze received numerous awards and won several major competitions as a competitive dance duo.
After retiring, Gocha tried to break into television in the United States, but was unable to find lasting success.
Gocha found a great deal of success in his birth country of Georgia, however, where he has been the head judge for the country’s version of Dancing with the Stars for over 5 years. The show has attracted a massive following and has become the highest rated show in Georgia.
7 The Arndt Family - Kids by the Dozen
Jon & Kate Plus 8 was only one of several shows about large families that were airing on cable channels in the early '00s. Kids by the Dozen highlighted a new family every week that each had ten or more children. Over the course of the series of 9 episodes, a total of 119 children were featured.
The first family, the Arndt family, were lead by Rick and Cathy who had 14 children: 13 boys and 1 girl.
The family from St. Louis has created somewhat of a small media empire since they first appeared on television.
In addition to their family-run court reporting business, the group is also the subject of the blog/web/tv series Fam Team. Broadcast nationally via the NRB Network and The Family Channel, the show displays their lives and their perspectives.
6 Myron Mixon - BBQ Pitmasters
BBQ Pitmasters started on TLC in 2009 before switching to the Destination America channel. The show originally started as a reality show that followed several different barbecue cooks as they traveled across the country to various barbecue competitions. One of the show’s standout stars was cook Myron Mixon, who owns Jack’s Old South barbecue near Atlanta, Georgia.
After the first season of the show, BBQ Pitmasters transitioned to a new format. Rather than follow around established cooks as they compete in prominent competitions, the show transitioned to a competition in which four teams of cooks would battle it out every week for a panel of judges.
During season 1, Myron Mixon became a judge for this new format, continuing to do so when the show transitioned to the much less prominent Destination America channel. Since then, Myron has appeared as a guest on several talk shows and written three cookbooks.
5 Mike Curtis - American Hot Rod
Mike Curtis was a lanky former machine shop supervisor on American Hot Rod. He was regarded as a good employee by Boyd and became a fan favorite after discussing a horrific accident he had gone through when he was younger where he was thrown from a car as it flipped over.
He was fired by Boyd Coddington after it was discovered that he was working with his competitor, Chip Foose. After leaving American Hot Rods, Mike appeared on Chip’s TLC show Overhaulin’ with fellow American Hot Rod alum Charley Hutton.
Today, Mike owns his own company in Orange, California, called Mike Curtis Design, where he makes rims for in custom cars.
The company has a very popular Instagram page where they post pictures of many of their designs.
4 Carmindy Bowyer - What Not To Wear
Carmindy Bowyer, better known as simply Carmindy, gave makeup advice to scores of people on What Not To Wear over the course of the show’s 12 seasons. Since the cancellation of the show, Carmindy has continued to work in beauty and fashion and has become an advocate for positive body images.
She was a regular guest star on Good Morning America from 2014 to 2015, where she gave makeup and beauty tips. She also made a few guest appearances on the Fox News show A Healthy You & Carol Alt but, otherwise, hasn’t worked much in television.
Instead, she has worked for multiple beauty studios, and has established a sizable online presence. Her work has been featured in magazines such as Bazaar, Elle, In Style, and Women’s Health. She has also written four books.
3 Andrew Dan-Jumbo - While You Were Out
The third prominent member of While You Were Out was carpenter Andrew Dan-Jumbo. The Nigerian-born personality was a fan favorite on the show and was one of People Magazine’s “100 Most Beautiful People” before it was canceled in 2006. He was also featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Dan-Jumbo made a guest appearance on Trading Spaces in 2007 after While You Were Out was canceled.
In 2007 Andrew Dan-Jumbo got the chance to host his own reality series on TLC titled Take Home Handyman, where he showed ordinary homeowners how to easily make home repairs. The show lasted for two seasons before being canceled in 2008.
He then moved to the History Channel where he hosted the series Operation Build for 2 years. After this project was canceled as well, he relocated to Buffalo, New York where now lives.
2 Paul Teutul Jr. - American Chopper
Like his father, Paul Teutul Jr. appeared in over 50 episodes of American Chopper. Shortly before the show was canceled, Junior was fired from Orange County Choppers by his dad. They attempted to reconcile and have Junior return to work, but they were ultimately unable to do so and Junior left the company permanently.
After leaving the company, Junior founded his own business Paul Jr. Design, and started to directly compete with his father.
This competition was capitalized on by TLC who created the short-lived series, American Chopper: Senior Vs Junior.
In 2015, Junior and his wife had a son named Hudson. Despite terminating their professional relationship, Paul Jr. and Paul Sr. managed to maintain a personal one. Photos of Paul Sr. holding his grandson were posted online shortly after the child’s birth.
1 Nadia Geller - While You Were Out
Nadia Geller, the interior designer for While You Were Out, has maintained a television presence since the show was canceled in 2006. After making brief guest appearances on fellow TLC shows Trading Spaces and What Not To Wear, Nadia became a regular figure on the new TLC show Home Made Simple which was based on a prominent home design website of the same name.
From 2006 to 2007, Nadia made regular appearances as one of the show’s decor mavens. In 2008, Nadia got the chance to host her own show: Date My House. The show debuted on TLC, but only ran for one season before it was canceled.
Today, Nadia owns and operates Nadia Geller Designs in Burbank, California. The award-winning firm specializes in commercial property and has worked with prominent brands such as Coldwell Banker and Polaris.
What was your favorite TLC show from the era? Let us know in the comments!