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Khloe Kardashian and her family were among those who kept 2009 an interesting year for reality TV.
Chris Pizzello
Khloe Kardashian and her family were among those who kept 2009 an interesting year for reality TV.

Reality TV was anything but boring in 2009.

The TV genre even built up its own celebrity lineage. Who knew that Balloon Boy, Octomom, and Snooki from “Jersey Shore” would become household names?

Here’s a flashback of 2009’s wilder reality moments:

Everybody wants to be a star

In 2009, everybody wanted to be a reality star.

For starters, Octomom Natalie Suleman decided to hunt up a reality show and exploit her ever-growing family.

Then, the Heene family dreamed up the famed “Balloon Boy” hoax to score a reality show. The Fort Collins clan even came up with a really bad theme song.

It doesn’t pay to pull an expensive reality stunt at the government’s expense, so now the Heene parents will be serving some jail time.

Yeah, they got their 15 minutes of fame.

Celebrity meltdowns

2009 marked one of the biggest years for celeb meltdowns on reality TV.

The award for best catfight goes to comedian Joan Rivers and poker champ Annie Duke’s scream fest on “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Heidi and Spencer Pratt offered the craziest celeb meltdown of the year on “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.” The Pratts claimed they were being held against their wishes and “tortured” on the reality show.

On what universe? The stunt did earn the couple lots of face-time on TV.

Wacked-out families

In 2009, reality TV highlighted some very unusual families. Now they’re all celebs.

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” offered viewers a glimpse into one of the most fun and dysfunctional families in America. The clan keeps topping itself with wilder family scenarios and viewers are begging for more.

“Jon & Kate Plus Eight” went from a mild-mannered family show to divorce story of the year. The media spotlight resulted in Jon and Kate Gosselin’s divorce, but it did make the couple instant celebs.

Talent shows

Reality talent winners had instant success in 2009.

Susan Boyle was a dowdy homebody until she won “Britain’s Got Talent.” She now has the No. 1 CD in America.

Adam Lambert was runner-up on “American Idol” 2009. However, a racy performance on the American Music Awards made him an instant star.


The survival of the fittest ruled reality TV in 2009.

“Survivor” was going down the tubes — until the 2009 editions brought out the best villains in the program’s history. Coach (Benjamin Wade) and Russell Hantz were pure evil, and they gave new life to the dying show.

The 2009 cast of “Jersey Shore” featured some really tough cookies. How else could the show’s Snooki Polizzi survive a punch in the face, plus a ton of make-up and hairspray?

Colorado connection

Colorado was all over reality TV in 2009, such as the aforementioned “Balloon Boy” family of Fort Collins.

But there were brighter notes too. The “Top Chef: New York” winner was Boulder’s own Hosea Rosenberg, and “America’s Next Top Model” winner Nicole Fox hailed from Louisville.