April 24, 2008 -- Americans love reality TV shows, and, even more, the villainous characters who inject the humor, drama and controversy that make reality television worth watching.
Some of the most memorable moments in reality television have been created by the likes of Omarosa, Puck and Simon. They curse, scream, scheme and bring a new level of competition to the reality show. Like them or hate them, they have sent ratings through the roof and made headlines.
Puck, the original villain, grasped back in 1994 that he could get more camera time by playing the bad boy. Since then, he has inspired a host of others, whose antics push the envelope of outrageousness. Today, it's hard to imagine a reality show without one of those characters we love to hate. Here, 15 of the most unforgettable evil reality stars.
Simon Cowell from "American Idol"
FOX's hit reality TV series "American Idol" has been making dreams come true and breeding stars for radio and TV fame. But first they must pass through the insult machine known as Simon Cowell. Cowell never holds back his tongue, not even from his co-judges. Once, he asked a contestant if she had a singing teacher. She replied yes, and he asked her if she had a lawyer. When she said no, he advised her to get one and sue her singing teacher. Another time, after his co-judges told a contestant that she wasn't ready yet, Simon amended that by saying, "Unfortunately, you'll never be ready. Perhaps the only thing more humiliating than Cowell's comments is the fact that, for many, they are spot-on.
Omarosa from "The Apprentice"
One of the original Queens of Controversy, Omarosa Manigault Stallworth or simply Omarosa, as she was known, helped turn Donald Trump's NBC reality TV series "The Apprentice" into a major hit in it's first season. Omarosa seemed to be carrying a mountain on her shoulder. As one co-star said: "It's either her way or it's no way." Things got really personal when Omarosa accused one of her fellow competitors of being racist. One competitor, told Omarosa that being a b--, is a problem that she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. Probably one of the best-known villains of reality television, Omarosa went on to other reality shows, where she no doubt created more enemies.
Puck from "The Real World: San Francisco"
"The Real World" has had numerous attention-grabbers who felt the need to make their mark in the show's history books, but Puck is probably the most famous among them. His poor hygiene raised eyebrows in the house, especially when he picked is nose and then dipped the same finger into the peanut butter jar. When his housemates felt they had enough, they evicted Puck from the house, but he continued to harass them with prank phone calls, many with anti-gay insults directed towards Pedro, his least favorite person in the house. When he later appeared on MTV's "Real World/ Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Sexes," he spit in the face of housemate David Edwards and tensions ran so high that producer Jonathan Murray was brought in to rectify the situation.
Vikki Lizzi from "Celebrity Rehab"
Reality TV gets a fresh coat of drama when it focuses on celebrities, especially celebrities at their worst. Such was the case when actor Jeff Conaway, who stared opposite John Travolta in "Grease," appeared on VH-1's "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" as a patient. But it was his real-life girlfriend Lizzi who shocked many with her crazy behavior. Not only did she fail to see why it wasn't a good idea to keep her PMS-alleviating prescription pills in the house until Dr. Drew gave her a stern talking-to, but she tried to sneak booze into the center in a soft-drink bottle. Not surprisingly, Conway left rehab and the show unwilling to give up the prescription drugs he took for his back problems.
Gordon Ramsey from "Hell's Kitchen"
If famous British chef Gordon Ramsey is known for one thing besides his food, it's probably his dirty mouth. What goes on in "Hell's Kitchen" is something you're more likely to find in the wrestling ring than the kitchen. Like a drill sergeant, Ramsey whip his chefs into shape with insults and curses. If the food is unsatisfactory, Ramsey has been known to throw it in the garbage or on the floor, slide it across the counter until it breaks into a million pieces or, worse, dump it on the cook. He has called his chefs every name in the book, including, "dumb blonde" and "f-ing donkey." He got one contestant so angry that she reached to slap him, but he held her hand back. Ramsey has certainly kept the steam in the kitchen and even set it on fire with his temper tantrums.
New York from "Flavor of Love" (Seasons 1 and 2) and "I Love New York" (Seasons 1 and 2)
America couldn't get enough of New York -- not the city, but Tiffany Pollard, the standout villain from "Flavor of Love" and the star of her own reality show, "I Love New York." Pollard was always willing to go to blows with her co-stars vying for love from famous rap musician Flava Flav. There were plenty of near fist fights with her rival Pumpkin, and whenever Pollard didn't like something, her signature butt mooning. In her own series, she butted heads with her equally outrageous mother Sister Patterson and suffered public rejection when her fiancee Tango broke off their engagement during the reunion show. She let audiences know she was fine with the breakup though, since, she claimed, Tango had a small penis.
Brad Womack from "The Bachelor"
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes you can. Such is the case with Brad Womack, the most recent bachelor from the ABC reality TV series "The Bachelor." Womack was portrayed as the guy missing a sensitivity chip in his brain. After most seasons, the show at least ended with couples being formed. Some dated and even a few got engaged and married. Womack shook things up and made "Bachelor" history. He decided that his final rose would go to neither of the two ladies who made it to the end, leaving not only his two finalists, DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft, shocked, but the TV audience as well.
Jade Cole from "America's Next Top Model"
Tyra Banks may have felt that she discovered an overconfident amateur model in Jade Cole, but this villainous diva told Banks endless times that she was in fact "The undiscovered supermodel." From the very beginning, Jade stirred up conflict, preying on girls she found to be weak, such as fellow contestant Gina Choe, and annoying her housemates by saying things such as, "Just watch out for Jade, because I'm gonna bring the fire baby." While Jade felt that she was perfect enough to be America's next top model, the one thing she lacked, humility, led to her ultimate undoing. Still, her overconfident attitude made her right about one thing she said after being eliminated from the show: "Jade will be hard to forget."
Richard Hatch from "Survivor"
The first winner of the CBS reality TV series "Survivor" also became the show's first villain. Richard Hatch's vicious acts of manipulation and treachery went way beyond making others feel uncomfortable with his nudity on the island. His most memorable rival, Susan Hawk, described Hatch as "the snake who knowingly went after prey." Perhaps, but the snake could not escape the IRS, which sentenced Hatch to 51 months in prison for tax evasion after he failed to report his $1 million dollars in prize money and other earnings from his Survivor win.
Stephen Asprinio from "Top Chef"
Stephen Asprinio may not have been the winner of the first season of Bravo's "Top Chef" in San Francisco, but he most certainly gained the title of "Top Villain." His talent and natural way with food were obvious to everyone around him and he was a first-class sommelier, which set him apart from his other competition right from the start. What made him the villain? He lacked modesty and looked for people he could ridicule, once referring to one of his competitor's dishes as reminiscent of "cooking school 101." He annoyed the others around him because of his amazing abilities, but more so because he was a poor winner -- classic villain behavior.
Amber and Rob Mariano from "Survivor All Stars" and "The Amazing Race"
They were the ultimate reality TV villain couple. Before Amber claimed the $1 million dollar prize on "Survivor All Stars," Rob proposed to her, which had viewers crying foul that the couple had plotted their coalition in order to take out everyone else and split the earnings. When this power couple decided to take the reality TV experience together again, this time on CBS's "The Amazing Race," their previous fame helped them get through certain obstacles on the show, and once again made some in the viewing public feel that the pair was using an unfair advantage to steal another million from more deserving people. Fellow contestant Lynn said about the controversial duo: "They're kind of like an STD. You've got to protect yourself from them." Though they had to settle for second place, the fact that CBS paid for their wedding left many feeling that this power twosome has milked their reality TV experience to the extreme.
Jo O'Meara, Jade Goody and Danielle Lloyd from "Big Brother"
"Big Brother" has seen some pretty crazy characters, but the wildest of them may have been on the original version of the show that aired in Britian, featuring celebrities from all over the world, including Bollywood Indian actress Shilpa Shetty. Singer Jo O'Meara, reality TV Star Jade Goody and model Danielle Lloyd were accused of being racist bullies when they ganged up on Shetty, calling her princess and mocking her accent. Goody had some of the most outrageous outbursts, accusing Shetty of being a "f--ing liar"when the pair bickered over wasted food. The Bollywood bombshell certainly paved the way for a few of "Big Brother's" most devilish villains.
Andre Birleanu from "America's Most Smartest Model"
When Andre Birleanu graced our television sets on "America's Most Smartest Model," he brought sexy back with a villainous twist. After all, it was comedic entertainment combined with eight-pack abs, a double feature that was hard to ignore. His villainous charges? Besides going on Anti-American rants that offended nearly everyone in the house, the Russian import annoyed the judges and always looked for ways he could gain personally. Away from the show, Birleanu is still getting into trouble, this time for sexual misconduct. The most recent case last October resulted in his arrest for groping a teenage girl.
Jeffrey Sebelia from "Project Runway"
Jeffrey Sebelia was known as the "bad boy" of Bravo's runaway hit "Project Runway." He incited others to panic while he basked in the glory. Later, he revealed that his villainous behavior was really a calculated move: "It was sort of a good strategic ploy because everyone got pissed off and unnerved and hated me when I walked into the room." Sebelia's cocky and combative nature led to many reality TV worthy arguments with the other fashion designers, including one legendary quarrel with fellow competitor Laura, who accused him of outsourcing his clothing line for the finale. Laura's accusation was found to be untrue and Sebelia went on to win "Project Runway," which goes to show that sometimes villains finish first.
Lacey Conner from "Rock of Love"