Leach Defends 'Celebrity' Reality Show
Thu Jan 16, 5:31 PM ET
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's easy to take potshots at the idea of another reality show that pits celebrities against one another, but Robin Leach says the time is right for escapism like "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"
"Every show that I've ever been involved in in television, from the very beginning they laughed and they said, 'That will never work,'" the former "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" TV host told AP Radio. "We may be competing with, heaven forbid it doesn't happen, a war in Iraq. This is the right time for a show like this to be put on television. This is pure escapism."
Leach's co-stars on the ABC series that requires celebrities to rough it in the wild and compete with each other include E! TV personality Melissa Rivers and Alana Stewart, the actress known for her marriage to rocker Rod Stewart and her 1990s TV talk show with her other ex-husband, George Hamilton.
The show begins Feb. 19 and will run live for 15 straight nights on ABC.
"We're playing for charity," Rivers said of the $500,000 payday for the winner. "To put yourself out for 15 days, to be able to win the kind of money that has been allotted for this for charity I think is a really good thing. We all have such blessed lives. To rough it for 15 days for a good cause, no one's heart's going to be breaking for us."
Texas-born Stewart said her upbringing will give her an edge.
"I didn't grow up in a Beverly Hills setting. I grew up in a little house out in the country at the end of a dirt road with an outdoor toilet. So I can tell you I've got a leg up on everybody because I'm the only one in this group that grew up going to an outdoor toilet," she said.