February 15, 2006 01:12 AM by Joe Blackmon
A little over three and a half years ago, Brian Dunkleman was the co-host of what is now the most popular show on television. Dunkleman walked away from American Idol to pursue a career in acting. After Dunkleman left, Ryan Seacrest became the sole host of the show. Even though American Idol was successful in even its first season, not many could have predicted just how successful it would continue to be in subsequent seasons. The show has brought untold riches to everyone still associated with it and has led to thousands of other job offers for host Ryan Seacrest (all of which he appears to have accepted). Reality TV Magazine recently caught up with Brian Dunkleman, who is now hosting for an online game called Idol Go Home, and quizzed him on the show he left behind.
Reality TV Magazine: So did you leave American Idol on your own or were you asked to leave by producers?
Brian Dunkleman: I left to pursue an acting career, regardless of what you may have read or heard.
Reality TV Magazine: Do you regret that you’re no longer a co-host of American Idol?
Brian Dunkleman: Sometimes…absolutely. Given the incredible success of the show I’d be insane if I said no. I look at it like this: I dropped out of college after 3 years as a finance major because I thought if I didn’t give this business a shot, I’d never be able to live with myself. My dream has always been to be a successful actor, and whether or not that happens, at least I’ll know I tried.
Reality TV Magazine: Did you have any idea that American Idol would become as big as it has?
Brian Dunkleman: No. I figured it would run 2 or 3 seasons. Oops.
Reality TV Magazine: How did you get along with Ryan Seacrest? Do you still keep in touch with Seacrest?
Brian Dunkleman: I don’t have many positive things to say about my experience working with Mr. Seacrest, so I won’t say anything. He’s a very ambitious young man, let’s leave it at that. I haven’t talked to him since the last show we did.
Reality TV Magazine: How did you get along with the judges? Do you still keep in touch with any of the judges?
Brian Dunkleman: I liked all 3 judges a lot, but haven’t kept in touch with them.
Reality TV Magazine: What have you been doing since American Idol?
Brian Dunkleman: I joined an acting studio in L.A. and studied for about a year and a half. Since then, I guest starred on NYPD BLUE, and did an independent film called COMEDY HELL. I also hosted a pilot for FOX called YOU’RE ON TV and one for VH1 called GAYDAR. I just finished acting in my 4th sitcom pilot, and did stand up on a new comedy show for TBS called VERY FUNNY AT THE LAUGH FACTORY which will be airing sometime later this month.
Reality TV Magazine: What do you think of some of the cruel comments that Simon Cowell makes to contestants?
Brian Dunkleman: I personally had a tough time with how cruel he was to the kids that first season, and it’s a big reason why I no longer wanted to be involved. But, it’s why people watch the show, so who am I to judge?
Reality TV Magazine: Do you personally call in and vote on American Idol?
Brian Dunkleman: No.
Reality TV Magazine: Who was your favorite contestant on American Idol 4?
Brian Dunkleman: I didn’t watch season 3 or 4.
Reality TV Magazine: Who is your early favorite on American Idol 5?
Brian Dunkleman: I really like Paris Bennett.
Reality TV Magazine: If the producers of American Idol called you up tomorrow and told you that Seacrest was out and they asked you if you wanted to come back and host the show, then would you take the job?
Brian Dunkleman: Honestly, at this point if anyone called and offered me a job I’d probably take it. So I guess your answer is yes. However, I prefer to live in the real world.
Reality TV Magazine: So you’re now involved in an online game called Idol Go Home, can you tell us about Idol Go Home?
Brian Dunkleman: IDOL GO HOME is a new interactive online fantasy game. You register for free at idolgohome.com, and then try to pick who will be voted off the show every week. The more you’re correct, the more points you accumulate. It officially starts on Feb. 15th, but even if you start playing later in the season you can still win because each week the point values increase. The winners will receive cool prizes like a trip for 2 to Hollywood for finale week, a Dell laptop computer, Xbox 360, Apple video Ipod, along with other really sweet random give aways like a Dave Navarro autographed guitar and tickets to see the Rolling Stones. I’ll also be writing 3 blogs a week, giving my unique insiders view of the show. Anyone can start their own blog and share their thoughts with people all over the country. We already have over 100 bloggers. And it’s free. Idolgohome.com. Did I mention it’s free?