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A Look Back: The 2008 Reality TV Year In Review


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 12/31/2008 

With 2008 drawing to a close, it's time to take a look back at the year that was.  The following is Reality TV World's 2008 Reality TV Year In Review, a month-by-month review of some of the past year's reality TV headlines, highlights, lowlights, and milestones.

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January

- MTV renews its A Shot at Love serialized reality dating series a day after Tila Tequila and first-season winner Bobby Banhart go public with the end of their relationship.  Tequila and Banhart remained at odds over which one of them was responsible for the split.

- CBS reveals the identities of Survivor: Micronesia's cast, which includes 10 former castaways considered to be "Favorites" pitted against 10 new castaways who consider themselves "Fans."   CBS also orders two more editions of Survivor and signs long-time host Jeff Probst to a new agreement that will see him continue to helm the series.

- Former America's Next Top Model first-season contestant Elyse Sewell has a physical altercation with her boyfriend -- Shins rocker Martin Crandall -- which lands both of them behind bars on domestic-violence charges.  The charges against both were subsequently dropped.

- J Records drops American Idol fifth-season winner Taylor Hicks from its roster two weeks after the label had dropped second-season champ Ruben Studdard.  Hicks subsequently describes the split as a mutual decision between himself and the Sony BMG label.

- Former American Idol fourth-season finalist Jessica Sierra is sent to a yearlong stint at an in-house drug treatment facility after her December arrest on charges of disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest without violence and probation violation.  She subsequently receives a 45-day travel permit so she can immediately begin receiving treatment at California's Pasadena Recovery Center.

- MyNetworkTV and Fox Reality Channel release a statement confirming the October death of Nathan Thomas Clutter, one of 11 singles in the networks' upcoming Paradise Hotel revival.  While the networks claimed Clutter was killed in an unspecified climbing accident that occurred several weeks after the show's production ended, a police report obtained by Reality TV World had concluded his death was an apparent suicide

- ABC orders a new non-celebrity The Mole edition four years after the show's most recent installment-- Celebrity Mole Hawaii -- aired in early 2004.

- RCA Records parts ways with American Idol fifth-season runner-up Katharine McPhee.

- Little People, Big World patriarch Matt Roloff is found not guilty of drunken driving stemming from his arrest last June.

- ABC confirms it has ordered a new The Bachelorette edition -- the first since the show's third season aired nearly three years ago -- for broadcast in the summer.  Twice-rejected eleventh-season The Bachelor bachelorette DeAnna Pappas is subsequently tapped to star in The Bachelorette's return.

- Former The Simple Life starlet Nicole Richie and her boyfriend Joel Madden welcome their first child.

- The Directors Guild of America reaches a contract deal with major film and TV studios, leading the Writers Guild of America and top Hollywood studios to resume negotiations toward ending the writers strike that had been ongoing since early November.

- NBC plucks Nashville Star from its USA sister network, which had aired the first five seasons of the reality competition series.

- Survivor villain Jon "Jonny Fairplay" Dalton and former America's Next Top Model fourth-season finalist Michelle Deighton welcome their first child three weeks after he proposed marriage and she accepted.

- "Newly Dating Couple" Rachel Rosales and TK Erwin win The Amazing Race's twelfth season, claiming the show's $1 million grand prize.

- Dancing with the Stars professional Louis van Amstel claims American Idol judge Paula Abdul told him she wants to compete on the ABC reality ballroom dancing competition.

Premieres: The Biggest Loser, Season 5 (1/1); Wife Swap, Season 4 (1/2); Supernanny, Season 4 (1/2); Make Me a Supermodel (1/2); The Celebrity Apprentice (1/3); How To Look Good Naked (1/4); American Gladiators (1/6); Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann (1/7); Jon & Kate Plus 8, Season 3 (1/7); Dirty Jobs, Season 4 (1/8); LA Ink, Season 2 (1/8); Ghost Hunters International (1/9); Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew (1/10); Scott Baio is 46... and Pregnant (1/13); Rock of Love with Bret Michaels, Season 2 (1/13); American Idol, Season 7 (1/15); Mythbusters, Season 6 (1/16); My Fair Brady... Maybe Baby? (1/20); The Millionaire Matchmaker (1/22); The Moment of Truth (1/23); Gone Country (1/25); Trading Spaces, Season 8 (1/26). 


February

- Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore resigns as a The Celebrity Apprentice candidate less than a year after he quit as a Dancing with the Stars fourth-season celebrity participant.

- The Writers Guild of America and the Hollywood studios reach a tentative deal -- which is subsequently approved by members of the writers' union, ending the three-month strike.

- Original Survivor winner Richard Hatch loses an appeal of his January 2006 tax evasion conviction and is required to serve the remainder of his 51-month sentence.

- American Idol fifth-season runner-up Katharine McPhee weds boyfriend Nick Cokas. Fellow former Idol 5 finalists Kellie Pickler and Mandisa Hundley are in attendance to watch the 23-year-old McPhee marry the 42-year-old Cokas.

- ABC taps Matt Grant to be The Bachelor's twelfth-season star, making him the first international star in the reality dating series' history.

- Dancing with the Stars professional Cheryl Burke and her boyfriend Matthew Lawrence end their romantic relationship after more than a year of dating.

- Former Meet the Barkers co-stars Shanna Moakler and Travis Barker finally have their August 2006 divorce filing finalized.

- American Idol fourth-season champ Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" wins two Grammy awards, while former Idol fifth-season finalist Chris Daughtry sees his band Daughtry come up empty after receiving four nominations.

- American Idol ends its seventh-season audition process and reveals its Top 24 semifinalists.  Judge Simon Cowell declines to predict a seventh-season champ.

- Dancing with the Stars professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy confirms he will not participate in the show's upcoming sixth season.   Chmerkovskiy subsequently vows that he will be back for the show's seventh installment.

- Autism United demands an apology from CBS after the network shows Big Brother: 'Til Death Do You Part houseguest Adam Jasinski refer to people with autism as "retards" during a show broadcast.  United Autism Foundation founder Olaf Hampel subsequently apologized and stated he employed Jasinski for three months prior to his Big Brother participation but had since let him go.

- Dinner: Impossible star Robert Irvine is accused of lying about numerous aspects of his life -- from his culinary education and experience to the identities of some of his more famous clientele.

- A&E restarts production on new Dog the Bounty Hunter fifth-season episodes after it was suspended in November following a taped phone conversation in which Duane "Dog" Chapman could be heard repeatedly using the N-word.

- Big Brother: 'Til Death Do You Part houseguest Neil Garcia unexpectedly leaves the Big Brother house and the reason behind his exit is not revealed.

- The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences tentatively agrees to add a new category recognizing reality television hosts.

- Boyd Coddington, a car-customizing legend and star of TLC's American Hot Rod reality series, dies at the age of 63.

Premieres:  Paradise Hotel 2 (2/4); Survivor: Micronesia (2/7); Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew (2/7); Big Brother: 'Til Death Do You Part (2/12); The Baby Borrowers (2/18); Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (2/18); America's Next Top Model, Season 10 (2/20).


March

- Eric O'Hara, the 24-year-old stepbrother of The Hills co-star Heidi Montag, dies after he falls from a Colorado hotel's icy roof while helping to remove snow.

- Food Network decides against renewing the contract of Robert Irvine after an investigation found the Dinner: Impossible star cooked-up several lies about his culinary experience. 

- Former Jackass and Dr. Steve-O star Steven "Steve-O" Glover is placed under citizen's arrest at his Hollywood apartment complex on suspicion of vandalism and drug possession after he was filmed putting holes in the wall of a neighbor's apartment.  Steve-O is subsequently charged with felony possession of cocaine and admitted to the self-described "looney bin" at Thalians Mental Health Center following an alleged suicide attempt.

- American Idol seventh-season semifinalist David Hernandez is revealed to have previously worked as a male stripped at Dick's Cabaret in Phoenix, AZ, but producers allow him to remain in the competition.  While Hernandez claims he is "not really concerned" about his stripper past, he subsequently becomes the first finalist cut from Idol's seventh season.

- Christian Siriano wins Project Runway's fourth-season.

- Survivor host Jeff Probst reveals he and former Survivor: Vanuatu castaway Julie Berry have ended their romantic relationship after more than three years of dating.

- Photos of The Hills star Audrina Patridge posing nude when she was 19-years-old in an attempt to appear in Playboy surface online.  Patridge subsequently claims the pictures were intended to be "artistic," not "provocative."

- Dancing with the Stars second-season champs Cheryl Burke and Drew Lachey deny a tabloid report that they had an affair during the show's recently concluded North American tour.

- Former Dancing with the Stars third-season celebrity participant Sara Evans gets engaged to former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker.

- The family of John Graziano files a lawsuit against Hulk, Linda and Nick Hogan for an August 2007 crash in which Nick was driving his father's 1998 Toyota Supra when he lost control and hit a raised median, spinning the vehicle and causing its rear end to strike a palm tree. Graziano is expected to need lifelong care.

- American Idol fourth-season champ Carrie Underwood and Gossip Girls actor Chace Crawford call it quits on their romantic relationship after several months of dating.

- Tyra Banks denies a report that she plans to leave as America Next Top Model's lead judge for the show's thirteenth season.

- Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron becomes the second person affiliated with the show to claim that American Idol judge Paula Abdul has expressed interest in competing on the ABC reality series.

- America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan defeats country star Trace Adkins to claim The Celebrity Apprentice title.

- Former third-season The Biggest Loser contestants Marty Wolff and Amy Hildreth get married in Charleston, SC.

Premieres:  Oprah's Big Give (3/2); Here Come the Newlyweds (3/2); Little People, Big World, Season 3 (3/3); The Real Housewives of New York City (3/4); High School Reunion, Season 4 (3/5); Ax Men (3/9); Beauty and the Geek, Season 5 (3/11); Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Season 3 (3/11); Top Chef: Chicago (3/12); Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp (3/13); Flip This House, Season 4 (3/15); Dancing with the Stars, Season 6 (3/17); The Bachelor: London Calling (3/17); The Hills, Season 3 (3/24).


April

- American Idol seventh-season finalist David Cook is hospitalized after he experiences heart palpitations following a live performance episode.  He is subsequently treated for high blood pressure and released.

- NBC announces that home viewers will have the opportunity to determine one of The Biggest Loser: Couples' three finalists immediately following the reality weight-loss series' penultimate fifth-season broadcast.  Trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels subsequently criticize the twist.

- Lifetime Networks and The Weinstein Company announce an unexpected five-year deal that will bring Project Runway from Bravo to Lifetime beginning with the reality series' sixth season. Bravo's NBC Universal parent company files a lawsuit against The Weinstein Company in response to the deal.  Bravo also schedules Project Runway's fifth season -- and final Bravo edition -- to debut in July.

- With eight finalists remaining, American Idol judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson predict a David Cook versus David Archuleta finale.

- CBS cancels Secret Talents from the Stars, bringing the America's Got Talent-esque reality competition series for celebrities to an end after only one poorly-rated broadcast. 

- ESPN cancels The Contender after airing its second and third seasons, however the show's producers anounce they are trying to cut a deal for it to continue on another network.

- CBS and Sony announce Survivor's Fall 2008 seventeenth season will be the first to film in widescreen high-definition format. 

- Alison Vincent wins The Biggest Loser: Couples and becomes the reality weight-loss series' first ever female champ in five seasons.

- After being ousted as an American Idol seventh-season finalist, Kristy Lee Cook reveals she and boyfriend Andy Dobner have been engaged since March.

- Former Star Search judge Naomi Judd calls Jeff Archuleta -- the father of American Idol seventh-season finalist David Archuleta -- the "worst stage dad."  Jeff refutes the claim and instead described himself as a "musical consultant," not a "stage parent."

- American Idol sixth-season champ Jordin Sparks cancels three weekend performances after experiencing vocal problems described as an "acute vocal chord hemorrhage" that could be career-threatening.  Sparks subsequently confirms she did have a hemorrhage, but denies it was ever as serious as initially reported.

- Food Network taps The Next Iron Chef winner Michael Symon to host Dinner: Impossible after the network decided against renewing the contract of lying former host Robert Irvine.

- American Idol judge Paula Abdul confirms recent reports that she's interested in competing on Dancing with the Stars.

- The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences approves a new Emmy Award category for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program and announces the category's first award will be presented at the 60th annual Primetime Emmy Awards in September.

- Former Jackass and Dr. Steve-O star Steven "Steve-O" Glover pleads not guilty to a felony cocaine possession charge stemming from a March arrest.

- Adam Jasinski defeats Ryan Quicksall to win Big Brother's ninth season.  Jasinski subsequently states he regrets saying that children with autism are "retarded."

- Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List star Kathy Griffin reveals she and billionaire Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are no longer dating.

- Dancing with the Stars sixth-season celebrity participant Cristian de la Fuente injures his arm during a live samba routine with Cheryl Burke.  De La Fuente subsequently sees a specialist to assess the arm injury and continues in the competition.

- The CW executives decide to place Beauty and the Geek on hiatus following the show's fifth-season finale.

- A report that Dancing with the Stars third-season partners Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff have ended their romantic relationship surfaces, however the couple subsequently denies there is any truth to it.

- Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt insist a sex tape featuring The Hills Lauren Conrad and her ex-beau Jason Wahler did in fact exist at one point despite having never seen it.  Wahler subsequently denies the tape's existence.

Premieres:  Hell's Kitchen, Season 4 (4/1); Step It Up & Dance (4/3); Can You Duet (4/14); Deadliest Catch, Season 4 (4/15); Work Out, Season 3 (4/15); Farmer Wants a Wife (4/30).


May

- Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz and their Magical Elves production company confirm they will not follow Project Runway to Lifetime after Bravo airs its fifth and final season of the the reality series.

- Dancing with the Stars fifth-season partners Sabrina Bryan and Mark Ballas end their romantic relationship but remain friends.

- The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman star Andy Baldwin and Donald Trump's ex-wife Marla Maples break-up after dating for a few months.

- Former Hogan Knows Best co-star Nick Hogan is sentenced to eight months in jail after he pleaded no contest to causing a crash that seriously injured his friend John Graziano.  Nick and his dad Hulk are subsequently recorded having a phone conversation in which both verbally bash Graziano.

- American Idol producers disallow David Archuleta's father Jeff from helping his 17-year-old son prepare for the show backstage after he reportedly meddles with the lyrics prior to one of David's live performances.

- Parvati Shallow wins Survivor: Micronesia Fans vs. Favorites.

- The Bachelor: London Calling star Matt Grant presents his final rose and a marriage proposal to Shayne Lamas -- and she accepts both -- during the reality dating series' twelfth season finale.  Lamas and Grant subsequently state they plan on getting married despite the show's horrendous track record.

- ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson claims that while the network was interested in renewing Oprah's Big Give for a second season, Oprah Winfrey decided she wasn't interested in continuing the show.

- Whitney Thompson wins America's Next Top Model's tenth season and becomes the first full-figured model to win The CW reality series.

- Former American Idol seventh-season semifinalist Luke Menard is diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.

- Olympic gold medalist figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and her professional partner Mark Ballas win Dancing with the Stars' sixth-season title.

- David Cook beats David Archuleta to win American Idol's seventh-season crown.  Cook subsequently signs a recording contract with 19 Recordings/RCA Records and his first single -- "The Time of My Life" -- debuts at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 single sales chart.

- American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe states he is against judge Paula Abdul competing as a Dancing with the Stars celebrity participant.

- Two-time Dancing with the Stars professional champ Julianne Hough sees her self-titled debut album drop at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on the Top Country album sales charts.

- Word that American Idol second-season runner-up Clay Aiken has impregnated record producer and friend Jaymes Foster via artificial insemination emerges.

Premieres:  American Gladiators, Season 2 (5/12); The Bachelorette, Season 4 (5/19); So You Think You Can Dance, Season 4 (5/22); Last Comic Standing, Season 6 (5/22).


June

- Lawyers for the Hogan family file a civil lawsuit ask a judge to rule that recorded telephone conversations of inmates are not public records after several salacious phone conversations between imprisoned Nick Hogan and his family were obtained by the media last month via Florida's public records law. Hulk subsequently claims the nasty comments heard on the recordings were said to lift Nick's spirits.

- Original Survivor winner Richard Hatch appeals his January 2006 tax evasion conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

- Former Jackass and Dr. Steve-O star Steven "Steve-O" Glover pleads guilty to a felony cocaine possession charge stemming from a March arrest.

- Josh Waring, the 19-year-old son of The Real Housewives of Orange County star Lauri Waring, is arrested and charged with possession of heroin and ecstasy with intent to sell.

- The Bachelorette lovebirds Trista and Ryan Sutter deny rumors that they plan on divorcing.

- American Idol seventh-season runner-up David Archuleta inks a recording contract with 19 Recordings/Jive Records.

- Dancing with the Stars third-season lovebirds Mario Lopez and Karina Smirnoff finally confirm their romantic relationship is over.  I Survived a Japanese Game Show contestant Megan Cooper subsequently claims she and Lopez were secretly dating while he was still with Smirnoff.

- Survivor host Jeff Probst claims that pre-production for Survivor: Gabon -- Earth's Last Eden has already encountered its fair share of problems, including delayed shipping and run-ins with dangerous wildlife.

- Tori & Dean: Inn Love co-stars Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott welcome their second child and mourn the death of Mimi LaRue, Spelling's famous dog.

- Stephanie Izzard wins Top Chef: Chicago and becomes the culinary competition series' first-ever female champ.

- The Bachelor: London Calling star Matt Grant moves out of Shayne Lamas' condo but says it was just so the two could have some space and insists they are still dating.

- American Idol judge Paula Abdul and restaurateur J.T. Torregiani call it quits on their romantic relationship.

- Former Dancing with the Stars third-season celebrity participant Sara Evans ties the knot with former University of Alabama quarterback Jay Barker.

- American Idol fifth-season champ Taylor Hicks signs a distribution agreement with Vanguard Records for his next album, which will be released on Hicks' own record label: Modern Whomp Records.

- American Idol sixth-season runner-up Blake Lewis is dropped by Arista Records but characterizes the label's decision as a "good thing."

- American Idol second-season champ Ruben Studdard and Surata Zuri McCants wed in a suburb of Birmingham, AL.

- Former American Idol fifth-season finalist Paris Bennett -- who will turn 20 in August -- reveals she is expecting the birth of her first child.  The baby's father is not identified.

- Former American Idol seventh-season finalist Kristy Lee Cook signs a recording contract with 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville.

Premieres: Bridezillas, Season 5 (6/1); The Next Food Network Star, Season 4 (6/1); The Mole, Season 5 (6/2); Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods (6/2); 30 Days, Season 3 (6/3); She's Got the Look (6/4); Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation (6/6); HGTV Design Star, Season 3 (6/8); Ice Road Truckers, Season 2 (6/8); Master of Dance (6/9); Nashville Star, Season 6 (6/9); Celebrity Circus (6/11); Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, Season 4 (6/12); Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Season 4 (6/15); Intervention, Season 5 (6/16); Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, Season 3 (6/17);
Flipping Out, Season 2 (6/17); Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew, Season 2 (6/19); Wipeout (6/24); I Survived a Japanese Game Show (6/24); America's Got Talent, Season 3 (6/24); The Baby Borrowers (6/25); Shear Genius, Season 2 (6/25).


July

- A Shot at Love's second season ends with Tila Tequila selecting Kristy Morgan -- only to have Morgan reject her.  Tequila subsequently posts a profanity-laced tirade on her blog and announces she will not star in a third edition of A Shot at Love.

- Paula Abdul's ex-boyfriend -- restaurateur J.T. Torregiani -- is reportedly in talks to star in The Bachelor's thirteenth installment.

- The Bachelor third-season star Andrew Firestone and actress/model Ivana Bozilovic wed in the Valley Episcopal Church in Los Olivos, CA.

- Former Jackass and Dr. Steve-O star Steven "Steve-O" Glover is re-admitted into a mental institution after completing more than 100 days of sobriety.

- DeAnna Pappas accepts a marriage proposal from Jesse Csincsak at the conclusion of The Bachelorette's fourth-season finale and the couple reveals they plan to wed on May 9, 2009 in the Bahamas.

- Ousted The Bachelorette suitor Jason Mesnick tells Reality TV World that he'd consider starring in The Bachelor's thirteenth installment if approached by ABC.  ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson subsequently states the network is still searching for the show's next star, and The Bachelor host Chris Harrison admits Mesnick in on ABC's "short list."

- Shayne Lamas calls rumors that she split from The Bachelor: London Calling star Matt Grant "completely not true,"  however a report subsequently surfaces that Lamas broke-up with Grant after she cheated on him with Las Vegas media mogul Justin Wenerger.  While Grant and Lamas eventually confirm the split, she denies having cheated on him and says the engagement ended because he couldn't handle her Hollywood lifestyle.

- Christina Machamer defeats Louis Petrozza to win Hell's Kitchen's fourth-season title.

- VH1 confirms that Tiffany "New York" Pollard and I Love New York second-season winner George "Tailor Made" Weisgerber ended their engagement during the filming of New York Goes Hollywood.

- The Amazing Race twelfth-season contestants Pat Hendrickson and Kate Lewis wed after the California Supreme Court ends the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

- Versus orders The Contender's fourth season three months after ESPN canceled the boxing-themed reality competition series.

- Former Melrose Place and General Hospital actor Antonio Sabato Jr. wins NBC's Celebrity Circus reality competition series.

- For the second consecutive year, Dancing with the Stars leads the 2007-2008 reality TV Emmy Awards nomination field with a total of eight nods.  The Amazing Race is also once again nominated in the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program category, which it has won every year since the Academy first created the Emmy Awards category five years ago.

- Bret Michaels and Rock of Love second-season winner Ambre Lake decide to split due conflicting personal schedules and MTV renews the series for a third season.

- American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Survivor host Jeff Probst, Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron, Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel and Project Runway host Heidi Klum receive nods in the new reality TV host category and are all subsequently tapped to host the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony.

- Aaron McCargo Jr. wins The Next Food Network Star's fourth season and receives the grand prize of his own Food Network show, titled Big Daddy's House.

- All of the teenage couples who participated in The Baby Borrowers reveal they have decided against having children anytime soon have broken up since the NBC reality series was filmed the previous summer.

Premieres:  Greatest American Dog (7/10); Big Brother 10 (7/13);  I Love Money (7/13); Say Yes to the Dress, Season 2 (7/15); Project Runway, Season 5 (7/16); Run's House, Season 5 (7/16); Family Foreman (7/16); High School Musical: Summer Session (7/20); Date My Ex: Jo & Slade (7/21); Criss Angel Mindfreak, Season 4 (7/23); Food Detectives (7/29).


August

- Restaurateur J.T. Torregiani apparently wants to get back with ex-girlfriend Paula Abdul instead of starring in The Bachelor.

- Nigel Lythgoe decides to step down from his role as American Idol's executive producer after working in that capacity for the show's first seven seasons.  Lythgoe claims that instead of Idol, he'll focus on So You Think You Can Dance and "a new venture" with Idol creator Simon Fuller.  While Lythgoe expresses sadness, he adds it is also time for him to move on.

- Jennifer Bertrand wins HGTV Design Star's third season title.

- Melissa Lawson defeats Gabe Garcia to win Nashville Star's sixth season crown.

- Despite losing The Next Food Network Star fourth-season title, Food Network still decides to give Adam Gertler his own series, titled Will Work for Food.

- American Idol fourth-season runner-up Bo Bice and his wife Caroline Fisher welcome their second child.

- Justin Wood wins ABC's I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

- Iliza Shlesinger wins Last Comic Standing's sixth-season title and becomes the show's first-ever female champion.

- Joshua Allen wins So You Think You Can Dance's fourth-season crown.

- Nashville Star judge Jewel Kilcher and Ty Murray's Celebrity Bull Riding host Ty Murray elope to the Bahamas and wed in a private ceremony at The Cove Atlantis.

- American Idol second-season runner-up Clay Aiken becomes a dad when Jaymes Foster -- the close friend he impregnated via artificial insemination -- gives birth to a baby boy.

- Mark Lambrecht wins The Mole's fifth season and Craig Slike is unmasked as its saboteur.

- America's Next Top Model's eleventh-season cast is revealed -- and it includes transgendered contestant Isis King, who was born Darrell Walls.  Former Top Model judge Janice Dickinson subsequently calls the casting a "wonderful" decision and producer Ken Mok says he hopes King will help "redefine" beauty.

- Spencer Pratt says he wants to marry The Hills starlet Heidi Montag on live television, claiming the event would be "bigger than American Idol."

- Two-time Dancing with the Stars professional champ Julianne Hough reveals she is dating country crooner Chuck Wicks after the two met while touring.

- ABC announces fourth-season The Bachelorette suitor Jason Mesnick will star in The Bachelor's thirteenth season.

- Fox announces Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi will serve as American Idol's new fourth judge and join Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson as a regular member of the show's eighth-season panel.

- The Bachelorette fourth-season lovebirds DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak tap The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman star Andy Baldwin to officiate their May 2009 wedding.

Premieres:  Sunset Tan, Season 2 (8/3); I Want to Work for Diddy (8/4); New York Goes to Hollywood (8/4); Man vs. Wild, Season 3 (8/6); Outsider's Inn (8/15); Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein (8/18); The Principal's Office (8/21); Tabatha's Salon Takeover (8/21); Making It Home: Greensburg (8/23); The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, Season 4 (8/26).


September

- Jessica Robinson becomes Deal or No Deal's first $1 million winner.

- Lifetime confirms that Project Runway's sixth season -- and the first edition to air on the network -- will now premiere in January instead of November, as the network had originally announced.

- American Idol sixth-season champ Jordin Sparks publicly defends purity rings at the MTV Video Music Awards.  Afterwards, she expresses no regret for voicing her opinion but wishes she would have worded it differently.

- Dancing with the Stars professional Tony Dovolani and his wife Lina welcome twins.

- Former Dancing with the Stars celebrity participant Laila Ali and her husband Curtis Conway welcome their first child together.

- Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List wins its second consecutive Outstanding Reality Program Emmy at the 2008 Creative Arts Emmy Award ceremony. The Amazing Race also captures its sixth straight Outstanding Reality-competition Program Emmy and Survivor host Jeff Probst claims the first ever Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program award at the 60th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

- The Biggest Loser second-season lovebirds Matt and Suzy Hoover welcome their second son.

- Dan Gheesling defeats Robert "Memphis" Garrett and wins Big Brother's tenth season title.

- Former Meet the Barkers star Travis Barker is critically injured in a fiery jet crash that kills four people in South Carolina.  Barker is subsequently released from the hospital and returns home -- via ground transportation -- to recover.

- The Bachelorette fourth-season couple DeAnna Pappas and Jesse Csincsak admit they've begun to rethink holding their wedding ceremony in the Bahamas.

- American Idol second-season runner-up Clay Aiken finally comes out of the closet and confirms he is gay.  Idol judge Simon Cowell subsequently calls the announcement a "shock."

- Former The Bachelor suitor and The Bachelorette star Jen Schefft gets engaged to Joe Waterman, a 35-year-old Chicago trader.

- New York Supreme Court Justice Richard B. Lowe orders a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by NBC Universal against Project Runway producers The Weinstein Co. -- barring Weinstein from taking Project Runway or any spinoff to Lifetime.

Premieres:  America's Next Top Model, Season 11 (9/3); Top Design, Season 2 (9/3); The Rachel Zoe Project (9/8); Hole in the Wall (9/11); Kitchen Nightmares, Season 2 (9/11); The Biggest Loser: Families (9/16); The Real Housewives of Atlanta (9/16); Survivor: Gabon (9/18); Dancing with the Stars, Season 7 (9/22); The Amazing Race 13 (9/28); Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Season 6 (9/28); Will Work for Food (9/30); Paris Hilton's My New BFF (9/30).


October

- Neal E. Boyd, an insurance-salesman-turned-opera-singer from Sikeston, MO, wins America's Got Talent's third season.

- Dancing with the Stars fifth-season champ Helio Castroneves is indicted on tax evasion and tax fraud charges.  He subsequently pleads innocent to the charges.

- Olympic gold medalist beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor ruptures her Achilles tendon while rehearsing a jive with Dancing with the Stars seventh-season partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy. May-Treanor subsequently announces her departure from the show and undergoes successful surgery. 

- Former American Idol sixth-season finalist Lakisha Jones weds wed financial adviser Larry Davis.

- Former American Idol fifth-season finalist Paris Bennett gives birth to her first child.

- Reports begin to surface that Project Runway's Lifetime debut may not air until Summer 2009 due to last month's court decision to issue a preliminary injunction that prevents the show's The Weinstein Co. production company from proceeding with its plans to move the show to Lifetime.

- Former American Idol finalists Kellie Pickler and Jennifer Hudson both have albums debut in the same week, with Pickler's self-titled sophomore album dropping at No. 9 on The Billboard 200 after selling 43,000 units and Hudson's long-awaited debut dropping at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling 217,000 units.

- Hugh Hefner confirms he is no longer dating The Girls Next Door co-star Holly Madison.

- The Bachelorette couple Trista and Ryan Sutter announce they are expecting their second child.

- The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear original Survivor winner Richard Hatch's appeal of his January 2006 tax evasion conviction.

- Leanne Marshall wins Project Runway's fifth season.

- Former Hogan Knows Best star Nick Hogan is released from Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, FL after serving 166 days of the eight-month sentence he received after pleading no contest to a reckless driving charge in May.

- Dancing with the Stars professional Julianne Hough is hospitalized after experiencing severe stomach pains during a live results show.  While she subsequently states she is "fine," reports that Hough is suffering from an ovarian cyst and needs to have it removed emerge.  However Hough later confirms the pain was due to endometriosis and she needs to have her appendix removed. The minor surgery is a success and Hough returns to Dancing with the Stars after a three-week absence.

-The mother and brother of former third-season American Idol finalist Jennifer Hudson are found shot dead at a South Side home, and police continue to look for Hudson's missing nephew.  A young boy's body is subsequently found in an SUV and police confirm it is that of Hudson's nephew.  A medical examiner also rules the nephew's death a homicide, and police subsequently suspect William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister, is responsible for the triple homicide.

American Idol fourth-season champ Carrie Underwood is spotted "canoodling all over town" with former The Bachelor: Paris star Travis Stork.

Premieres:  17 Kids and Counting (10/1); Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, Season 2 (10/2) Wife Swap, Season 5 (10/3); Supernanny, Season 5 (10/3); My Big Redneck Wedding, Season 2 (10/4); Dirty Jobs, Season 4 (10/4); Gimme My Reality Show! (10/11); Scream Queens (10/12); Rock of Love: Charm School with Sharon Osbourne (10/12); Little People, Big World, Season 4 (10/13); Toughest Race on Earth: Iditarod (10/14); Stylista (10/22).


November

- The Amazing Race first-season contestant Margaretta Groark dies following a three-year battle with cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.

- The Bachelorette fourth-season star DeAnna Pappas announces she has broken up with Jesse Csincsak.  Csincsak states he is surprised by Pappas' announcement and claims the two had planned to reveal the split in a joint announcement.  He also accuses Pappas of being unwilling to try anymore, while The Bachelorette host Chris Harrison blames the relationship's demise on Pappas' Hollywood dreams.

- American Idol judge Simon Cowell and his girlfriend Terri Seymour end their romantic relationship. While reports claim Cowell gave Seymour a $9 million parting gift, he denies it.

- Former Breaking Bonaduce stars Danny and Gretchen Bonaduce finalize their divorce after 18 years of marriage.

- The Girls Next Door co-star Kendra Wilkinson gets engaged to NFL receiver Hank Baskett.

- FX Network cancels Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days after airing three seasons of the reality series.

- A private funeral is held for the slain family members of former American Idol third-season finalist Jennifer Hudson.  The Illinois Prisoner Review Board also rules that William Balfour -- a person of interest in the triple homicide -- must stay behind bars.

- Dancing with the Stars fifth-season celebrity champ Helio Castroneves learns he will appear in federal court on March 2 to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States of income taxes and six counts of income tax evasion.  A judge later denies Castroneves' request to delay the start of the trial.

- A relative of The Bachelor: Paris star Travis Stork confirms Stork is dating American Idol fourth-season champ Carrie Underwood.

- Paula Goodspeed, a 30-year-old former American Idol auditioneer and Paula Abdul fan, is found dead in her car nearby the American Idol judge's house due to an apparent suicide caused by a drug overdose.  Police claim Goodspeed had been to Abdul's home "on multiple occasions over the last several years," however they add a restraining order was never filed by Abdul.

- The Bachelor seventh-season lovebirds Charlie O'Connell and Sarah Brice reveal they have rekindled their romantic relationship after splitting in September 2007.

- America's Next Top Model creator and lead judge Tyra Banks surprises transgendered eleventh-season contestant Isis King with an announcement that she's arranged for her to get free sex reassignment surgery.

- American Idol seventh-season finalists David Cook and David Archuleta each debut their self-titled albums in separate weeks.  Cook's album drops at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling 280,000 copies during its initial week of release; while Archuleta's drops at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling 183,000 copies during its initial week of release.

- Food Network rehires former Dinner: Impossible star Robert Irvine after declining to renew his contract in March when an investigation found he lied about several aspects of his culinary experience.

- Brittany "McKey" Sullivan wins America's Next Top Model's eleventh-season title.

- Two-time Dancing with the Stars professional champ Julianne Hough reveals that she won't be competing in next spring's eighth edition and isn't sure if she'll return for next fall's ninth edition so she can be taken seriously as a singer.

- The Hills stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt secretly elope and wed while on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  No family members or friends were present for the nuptials.  While the marriage is yet to be legal, MTV announces footage from the Mexican ceremony will air in an upcoming The Hills episode.

- Former Rock Star host Brooke Burke and her professional partner Derek Hough win Dancing with the Stars seventh-season title.

Premieres:  50 Cent: The Money and the Power (11/6); Survivorman, Season 3 (11/7); Ruby (11/9); Blush: The Search for the Next Great Make-Up Artist (11/11); Estate of Panic (11/12).


December

- Simon Cowell states he is "100%" certain a guy will win American Idol's eighth season.

- William Balfour -- Jennifer Hudson's estranged brother-in-law -- is arrested in the shooting deaths of the former American Idol finalist's mother, brother and young nephew.  He is subsequently charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony home invasion.

- Heidi Montag's mother Darlene Egelhoff gives her daughter's marriage to Spencer Pratt six months and calls it the "biggest mistake" of Montag's life.  Pratt responds by stating he is excited to prove Egelhoff wrong, while Montag says she is simply disappointed in her mom's comments.

- Former American Idol finalists Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks all receive Grammy nominations.

- American Idol judge Paula Abdul decides to sell her home nearly one month after the apparent suicide of obsessed fan Paula Goodspeed outside the Sherman Oaks, CA house.  Abdul also confirms Goodspeed's alleged suicide wasn't the first time that the obsessed fan had attempted to kill herself near her home and lashes out at Idol's producers, alleging they allowed Goodspeed to audition on the show's fifth season despite warnings that she was a stalker.

- Kandice Hutchison, a contestant on MTV's upcoming A Double Shot at Love reality dating series, is revealed to have been killed in an October car accident that occurred after she finished her involvement in the show's production. Police subsequently allege Hutchinson was drunk and street racing at the time of the crash.

- Man vs. Wild star Bear Grylls seriously injures his shoulder during a fall while on an independent expedition in Antarctica.

- Hollywood Records announces it has signed Dancing with the Stars professionals Mark Ballas and Derek Hough to a recording contract and will release the group's debut album in early 2009.

- The "Brother and Sister" team of Nick and Starr Spangler win The Amazing Race's thirteenth season.

- American Idol sixth-season champ Jordin Sparks announces she's parted ways with 19 Management.

- Upcoming The Bachelor star Jason Mesnick gushes that he's engaged and in love as filming finishes for the reality dating series' thirteenth installment.

- Former American Idol seventh-season finalist Kristy Lee Cook parts ways with Arista Records only three months after the label released her "Why Wait" debut album in September.

- Robert "Bob" Crowley is crowned the winner of Survivor: Gabon -- Earth's Last Eden.

- CBS confirms that Survivor's upcoming eighteenth season will film in Brazil and be called Survivor: Tocantins.

- Former Top Chef second-season finalist Sam Talbot reveals he wed fiance Paola Guerro in a "secret" wedding ceremony at New York City Hall in November.

- Todd Homme, a finalist on Lifetime's Blush: The Search for the Next Great Makeup Artist reality series, is found dead at his home at the age of 23. The cause of death is unknown.

- Michelle Aguilar wins The Biggest Loser: Families.

Premieres:  Secret Millionaire (12/3); A Double Shot at Love (12/9); Manhunters (12/9); Party Monsters: Cabo (12/12); Intervention, Season 6 (12/15); Momma's Boys (12/16).

(Photo credit )


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