Rise to stardom. Fall from fame. (Attempt to) revive career with questionable TV project.
For so many stars of the 1980s and early '90s, it's just the way the cookie crumbles. Earlier this summer, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany threw away their '80s pop star rivalry (and possibly their common sense) to film the Syfy movie "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid," which features them brawling on top of dinner tables and in a swamp, and Gibson uttering the utterly appropriate post-fight line, "I think we're alone now."
The latest throwback to turn to TV for a tune up: Vanilla Ice. He couldn't hack it in rap, but apparently, home renovation is his new thing.
"The Vanilla Ice Project" will focus on Robert Matthew Van Winkle's (yep, that's his real name) "passion for home renovation." It will document the room-by-room overhaul of his 7,000-square-foot mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a statement from the DIY network, which plans to premiere the series in October.
Will the "Ice Ice Baby" singer's latest endeavor crown him the king of cool again or make him melt into the morass of '80s/'90s trash? Looking at how five stars of Ice's ilk fared by attempting similar career reboots offers some clues:
Like Ice, Flav hailed from rap roots before he jumped into reality TV. Unlike Ice, he actually had credibility in the rap community. He also had a knack for winning fans, thanks to his frequent exclamations of "Yeah, boy!" and his neckwear of choice, clocks big enough to hang above a mantel. So people knew what they were in for when they turned on "Flavor of Love," Flav's three-season-long romantic quest on VH1: a little bit of mumbling, a lot of incomprehensible accessories and a motherloade of in-fighting between the women who wanted to be his wife.
Flav bounded back into the public consciousness thanks to his reality series. In 2006, the "Flavor of Love 2" finale scored the second highest ratings of a non-sports basic cable show. But can Vanilla Ice's Bob Vila act generate anywhere near as much must-see drama as a show that boasted contestants with such nicknames as Luscious D and Hotlanta? Doubtful.
There was a time when it seemed Bret Michaels' hair would last longer than his stardom. Then came "Rock of Love With Bret Michaels," which gave the Poison frontman a prime position in pop culture and a tour bus full of groupies. Three seasons on VH1 pumped some much-needed juice into Michaels' career and scored him a spot on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice 3."
But if it hadn't been for the subarachnoid hemorrhage that hit Michaels in April, he might just have gone down in the annals of reality TV history as another '80s vestige who looked for love and maybe a little instant gratification.
Thanks to his brush with death, he scored a satellite interview on "Oprah" and the cover of People magazine. His new reality series, "Bret Michaels: Life As I Know It," chronicles his road to recovery. Now, no one's advocating that Vanilla Ice get hit by a two-by-four during his home renovation saga, but if that were to happen, maybe he could monetize the resulting bump.