Take Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She's the right-leaning, loud-mouthed co-host of "The View" now, but seven years ago, Hasselbeck was just another skinny, starved contestant on "Survivor: The Australian Outback."
You may not remember who won "American Idol" last season, but unless you were living under a box for most of 2007, you probably remember Sanjaya Malakar -- the chameleon-haired, high-pitched contestant known more for his antics than his voice.
Since getting kicked off the show, he's scored an invite to the White House Correspondents Dinner and a potential gig on the "Hannah Montana" show.
And the badder you can be, the more likely you are to have a reality TV legacy.
"We may have gotten to this whole reality craze without it, but 'The Real World' really spurred it on," said Nordyke. "On 'Survivor' you see people returning to compete again. Cast members start appearing on other reality shows, and end up dating and marrying each other. The smart people today realize that can get them more camera-time by being the villain."
Before Chris Crocker cried about Britney Spears and before Lonelygirl15 shared her teenage woes, "Real World"-ers were telling all in "confessionals" -- sitting in a room alone, looking into a camera and revealing how they really felt about their cast mates. Like a YouTube video diary before YouTube.
"We started doing confessionals in Season 2," Murray said. "Part of it was sort of practical -- we needed a way that if something happened in the house, the cast members could immediately register their feelings about it. We then found that some people preferred being alone in a room than being interviewed. Starting with Season 3, we asked people to send in a home video tape because those were confessional, too. Those felt very much like YouTube."
While many reality shows -- "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," "I Love New York" -- have tweaked Murray's format by removing cast members from the action of the show to do confessional-type videos, the "Real World" has stuck to the raw, immediate type of video diary that it debuted in 1993. Its legacy lives on all over the Internet.
Ever since the hot tub first appeared in Season 2, it has been a staple of "The Real World."
Under the hot tub's bubbly spell, housemates, who have appeared to forget that cameras were rolling, have given viewers some of the most pleasurable scenes in "Real World" history.
Who can forget the three-way make-out session between Brynn, Steven and Trishelle in "Season 12: Las Vegas"? Or when Brooke and Jenn shed their heterosexuality on their first night in Denver during a hot tub hook-up.
Now it's hard to imagine any other reality dating show such as "The Bachelor," without the hot tub.
"Throwing a hot tub in the mix always makes for good television," said Nordyke from "The Hollywood Reporter."
Apparently, it also has made for good business too. Details magazine reported that hot tub sales in the United States more than doubled each year from 1996 to 2006.
Scott Garner, who has owned Hot Springs Spa of Orange County for 26 years, says his sales have tripled most years in the last decade.
"I'm sure when people see them on TV, it helps," he said.