TV Article

Prize and Lows

Winning isn't everything on reality TV -- Here's a field guide to the best and worst parting gifts on a scale of one to four dollar signs

Life is full of choices if you're an aspiring reality-show contestant. But some clearly offer more bang for the buck when it comes to cash winnings. (Hell's Kitchen victor Michael Wray's prize of becoming fire-breathing chef Gordon Ramsay's protégé in London? Could use a bit more bang.) Here's a field guide to the best and worst parting gifts (on a scale of one to four dollar signs). Wannabe Jerry Hall boy toys need not apply.

1. SURVIVOR

True, you have to eat partially formed ducklings and endure the occasional tropical storm. But look at the big picture: You're basically hanging out on a beach. And when you're done hanging out on a beach, someone hands you a million bucks! Meaning you can outwit, outlast, and outspend anyone you damn please. $$$$

2. THE AMAZING RACE

The downside: You have to split the million-dollar prize with your partner. The upside: You're getting paid a cool half mil to travel around the world. Plus, you can rack up lots of free vacations by winning individual legs along the way. All things considered, pretty amazing. $$$

3. SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE

Don't get too used to that luxury high-rise New York City apartment — the show kicks you out after only a year. And the $100,000 cash prize won't even come close to buying you a studio apartment. . .in Jersey. So you think you can be homeless? $

4. THE APPRENTICE

Perhaps the worst of all reality prizes. Not only are the winnings small ($250,000) but you have to actually work for it. For an entire year! For Donald Trump! (cents)

Originally posted Aug 12, 2005 Published in issue #834-835 Aug 19, 2005 Order article reprints
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