From ‘Survivor’ to ‘Naked and Afraid’ and Beyond: Stars and Athletes Who Hop From Reality Shows

Many reality TV viewers have marveled at Michael Jefferson having endured the trials and tribulations of both Survivor and Naked and Afraid. As impressive as his feats might be, however, they’re not entirely unique. 

Just as people like Ken Jennings can and have appeared on more than one game show, people like Jefferson have appeared on multiple reality shows – sometimes as many as a half-dozen programs. Not all of them are physical workouts like Naked and Afraid and Survivor however. 

Michael Jefferson and Colton Cumbie standing on a beach on 'Survivor'
Michael Jefferson and Colton Cumbie | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

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Who has appeared on both Survivor and Naked and Afraid?

Survivor is often thought of as the granddaddy of physical challenge reality TV shows and has run for an incredible 40 seasons and counting over the past 20 years, with millions of people still clamoring every week to see who gets “voted off the island.” Naked and Afraid takes the concept of Survivor and ups the physical ante. Each episode features one man and one woman who meet for the first time and must survive a stay in the wilderness 21 days – the catch being they have to do it naked.

Michael Jefferson is one of the only people to have participated in both reality shows. According to EW, Jefferson was the eighth person eliminated on Survivor: One World, the 24th season of the show, which aired in 2012. That season had two tribes living on the same beach but competing against each other. Although Jefferson placed only in about the middle of the pack that season, something about it appealed to him enough that he decided to take on Naked and Afraid. 

Off the Court and Onto Multiple Reality Shows

Dennis Rodman has entertained on and off the basketball court, having occupied plenty of screen time after leaving the NBA. In the late ’90s, Rodman had his own reality show The Rodman World Tour, and from there went onto ABC’s Celebrity Mole, and twice on Celebrity Apprentice. He also appeared on the UK version of Celebrity Big Brother and on Love Island, according to ScreenRant.

Rodman isn’t the only former athlete to delve into reality TV, with former NFL player Chad Johnson, also known as Chad Ochocinco, appearing in a number of reality shows. Johnson also had his own reality show with VH1: Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch, where Johnson had to select a partner out of 85 women. Johnson also appeared on Dancing with the Stars and Marriage Bootcamp Reality Stars: Family Edition.

Who else has appeared on multiple reality shows?

As hardy a soul as Jefferson seemed to be, he didn’t even make the top 10 people who have been on multiple reality shows. Most of the people who have been on multiple shows typically don’t have to worry about being naked and afraid on the shows. Once some people get that first 15 minutes of fame, they tend to want at least an hour. 

One of the most well-traveled contestants was Adrianne Curry, who became known for America’s Next Top Model, only to go on VH1’s Celebrity Paranormal Project in 2006, the same channel’s The Surreal Life, and My Fair Brady. Sometimes people are famous even before going on reality TV, like former Cincinnati Bengal Chad Johnson, who appeared on Dancing with the Stars, Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch and Marriage Bootcamp Reality Stars: Family Edition.

Brigitte Nielsen had once been known for being Sylvester Stallone’s opposite number, having appeared in Rocky IV and Cobra. Now she has a new career of sorts as a reality TV regular, having appeared on The Surreal Life, Celebrity Big Brother, Celebrity Rehab, and the aptly named I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.