The Surreal Life Secrets Revealed!
Friday, January 10, 2003 TV Guide Insider
Last night's debut of The Surreal Life left us feeling amused, a little dirty and very curious. Hey kids, isn't that what reality TV is for? To review, here's the sitch: Seven B-list celebs were moved into a mansion Real World style, courtesy of the WB. The almost famous flock — Gabrielle Carteris, Corey Feldman, MC Hammer, Emmanuel Lewis, Jerri Manthey, Vince Neil and Brande Roderick — were then forced to interact. Their bickering and badmouthing led to some fun revelations... and a few nagging questions, which sent TV Guide Online a-prowlin' for the scoop. In the van, Vince and Corey realized they'd both romanced Gabrielle's ex-90210 co-star "Vanessa." Corey called her his ex-wife and said, "She's not a nice person." Yikes! What's the story there?
They were dishing about Vanessa Marcil — who currently stars on General Hospital and is married to fellow 90210 grad Brian Austin Green. A rep for Marcil confirmed she was Mrs. Corey Feldman for a brief time, but declined to say more. Marcil's camp also had no comment about her dating Mötley Crüe dude Vince. (Yeah, if we were her, we'd gloss over that tidbit, too.) Brande whined that Survivor Jerri was her roomie instead of a "real star" like Robin Givens. Was Givens ever invited to do Surreal? By the way, who the hell is this Brande, anyway?
Brande has posed for Playboy — just like Jerri! — and did the final season of Baywatch: Hawaii. Big whoop. And as for Givens? "We might have made her an offer," says executive producer David Garfinkle. "I just don't remember that." Oh, really? "Robin was approached, but she never agreed to do it," confirms Givens's rep. "There was no discussion other than that she said, 'You know, that's just not for me.'" Smart girl. Speaking of Jerri, why did she show up so late on the first day?
"It was totally set up so I would show up late," Jerri laughs. "They originally told me I was supposed to be there at 8 am with everyone else. Then, they called me that morning and said, 'We're going to hold off and keep you out for awhile.' So I sat in a coffee shop for four hours, I went CD shopping and then they drove me around in a limo for two hours! I accused the producers of trying to create tension before I got in the house, and they're like, 'Oh no, we would never do that.' Yeah, you're talking to the reality pro here. I know what's going on!" You know these out-of-work celebs didn't shack up together just for fun. How much bling-bling were they paid?
"I don't think it's fair to tell what people made," Garfinkle says. "I don't feel comfortable with that. Everyone did well, and I hope it was worth their while." Jerri's also keeping mum. "I never discuss money," she says. "Nobody still knows how much I made for Playboy! Many people have guessed, but I've been secretive. [The Surreal cast] never discussed it. 'Cause if you made more than someone else, you don't want to p--- anybody off. Talk about tension!" So how much do we think the Surrealists earned?
"Okay, since these are not-so-new stars, they are most likely getting AFTRA scale — about $650 a day — plus 10 percent," says Carlo Capomazza, a Hollywood talent manager. "This is a job that a publicist most likely set up. Agents wouldn't find these gigs worth dealing with in most cases, and managers wouldn't really want their clients doing this reality stuff. I'm not sure why the girl who did 90210 is doing this, but she should call me!" — Daniel R. Coleridge