Welcome to lifestyles of the absurd and wannabe famous. We take you on a tour of the houses throughout L.A. where models, bachelorettes, and nerds have all vied to make their champagne wishes and reality-star dreams come true.
1. THE BIGGEST LOSER, NBC (SEASON 4)
The makeshift weight-loss facility, now part of California State University, was a mental institution in the ’70s. ”They still had the area set up where they would do lobotomies,” explains Loser co-creator J.D. Roth.
2. A SHOT AT LOVE WITH TILA TEQUILA, MTV (SEASON 1) The men and women vying for the former Playboy model’s affections had plenty to amuse themselves with at this Hollywood Hills compound: two pools — one at scuba-diving depth — and a rotating bar in the living room.
3. ROCK OF LOVE, VH1
The first season’s Bel Air locale was a little too ”Brady Bunch-y” for Poison frontman Bret Michaels’ taste, so the dating show moved to a Mediterranean in Encino, where art from Michaels’ real house was displayed.
4. THE BACHELOR, ABC (SEASONS 11 & 12)
Other than on season 6 (lucky Byron), the Bachelor isn’t usually housed on grounds with his bachelorettes. The ladies have it pretty luxe: They go through at least 500 candles a season, and, as exec producer David Bohnert laughs, ”If you know our show, there’s always a pool and a Jacuzzi.”
5. THE SURREAL LIFE, VH1
Long before Dave Coulier, Brigitte Nielsen, and Flavor Flav quibbled and hot-tubbed in this 12,000-square-foot mansion, it belonged to Glen ”Rhinestone Cowboy” Campbell. Producers recycled the house for I Love New York 2 and attempted to disguise it with red curtains.
6. THE HILLS, MTV
The apartment complex used in establishing shots isn’t actually where Lauren Conrad and friend Audrina Partridge reside. Due to crazy fan-demonium — like drunk strangers knocking on their door — Conrad says, ”We switched apartments but continued filming in front of the other one so people wouldn’t know where we lived.”
7. THE REAL WORLD, MTV
For its 20th season (premiering in April), the seminal series went Hollywood — literally — with the seven strangers living on the soundstage where I Love Lucy once filmed.
8. AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, THE CW (CYCLE 6)
Rumor has it that the Sowden House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright Jr. in 1926, was the site of the infamous Black Dahlia murder.
9. BEAUTY AND THE GEEK, THE CW
Used for all five seasons of the show (the new one premieres March 11), this 1911 estate has also been the setting for many films, including Running With Scissors and Ali.