Today marks the 10th anniversary of a little show called American Idol—originally a mid-summer replacement that went on to be a juggernaut of reality contests, spawning many, many more copycats in its wake. However, despite the has-beens and no-names that American Idol turned into undeserving superstars (Hello, Simon, Paula, Randy, and Ryan), there was one cast member who was left far behind after season one: Co-host Brian Dunkleman.
During the first season, comedian Dunkleman was paired with practically unknown kid's gameshow host Ryan Seacrest—but while Ryan was his usual chipper self even then, Dunkleman seemed annoyed and disinterested with his job... and so he quit. Some say he left before he could be fired. Time marched on, Ryan Seacrest went on to be a multi-kajillionaire and American Idol went from shitty little summer show to the inescapable monstrosity it is today—but without Dunkleman. How come? From his Wikipedia page:
He stated his departure was due to the terrible way they treated the young contestants on the show, staging the fights between the judges and reshooting contestants with producer-provided glycerin tears in their eyes. He went on to say that leaving the show was a mistake.
... Dunkleman conceded that he experienced several months of depression, and also still harbored resentment against current show host Ryan Seacrest, but has come to terms with his situation.
Today Dunkleman is a touring comedian, but a few years ago he tried to launch a Curb Your Ethusiasm-styled sitcom called American Dunkleman, which documented his life after quitting Idol. It didn't go anywhere. Here's the trailer, though, and I kinda wish it had gone somewhere—because it's not half-bad. Hat tips to you, Dunkleman! While not dead, you sir, are remembered.