People who have lived and spent time in Utah County have appeared on national television for a variety of reasons, from dating shows to dancing and singing competitions and cooking contests. Utah County has really worked to own these niche entertainment areas, and it's pretty evident by the sheer number of residents gaining national attention for them. Check out some of the biggest reality TV stars that have Utah County ties here, and let us know if we've missed anyone!
Matt Alexander and Mike Kannely
Have you ever had to venture to the restroom in the middle of the night, only to be assaulted by the bright lights and loud noises that ensue when you flip the switch to illuminate your porcelain throne?
Matt Alexander and his brother-in-law Mike Kannely of Provo feel for you. That's why they created Illumibowl, a company that sells a motion-activated toilet night light that retails for $19.99.
The Illumibowl easily attaches to the side of any toilet bowl and automatically turns itself on when you enter the bathroom.
The duo took their business in front of the business tycoons (sharks) of ABC's Shark Tank in March, and were able to flush away with a $100,000 buy-in for 25 percent of the business from educational software executive Kevin O'Leary.
The product is now pretty widely available if you're looking to brighten up your bathroom.
Charity Anderson and Andres Penate
Junior contemporary duo Charity Anderson of Springville and Andres Penate of Vineyard competed on Season 2 of NBC’s “World of Dance.”
The pair were ballroom partners from ages 8-12 and won the title of National Preteen Champions before recently reuniting to compete and perform.
The Gardner family
Ashley and Tyson Gardner have quite the story, and four baby girls to go with it. After years of battling with infertility, the pair found out they were expecting not just one but four baby girls, two sets of identical twins.
Their surprising announcement caught national attention, and with the birth of their bundles of joy, they gained many avid followers on social media through their blog, Facebook and YouTube channel. TLC also took notice, featuring the family in their new series, “Rattled.” The show follows the journey of four couples across the country as they experience the ups, downs, challenges and surprises that come with parenthood.
“Rattled” debuted on TLC Feb. 2, 2016, and shared the Gardners’ story through pregnancy, birth and the wild ride of parenting quads.
For more Daily Herald coverage of the Gardner family, check out heraldextra.com/quads.
Todd Herzog, of Pleasant Grove, was the winner of reality TV show "Survivor: China" in 2007 that came with a $1 million dollar reward. According to CBS, at the time of the show's airing, Herzog was an openly gay member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who came out shortly after high school and won the hearts of everyone at his school.
He attended Pleasant Grove High School in Utah and then spent two years of college at Utah Valley State College.
Chelsea Hightower is known for her work as a professional dancer on "Dancing with the Stars" for seven seasons. Her dance partners include rodeo cowboy Ty Murray, "Bachelor" star Jake Pavelka, Michael Bolton, snowboarder Louie Vito, rapper Romeo Miller, Disney star Roshon Fegan and former "Dancing with the Stars" winner Helio Castroneves. Before her time on the show, she was also on one season of "So You Think You Can Dance?"
Hightower received an Emmy nomination for choreography.
She was raised in Orem and graduated from Timpanogos High School and Utah Valley University. In her website bio, she writes "When I was 9, my family moved to a new neighborhood in Utah, which also meant I had to attend a new school. Coincidentally, this school offered the only elementary after-school ballroom program in America. That is how I was first introduced to ballroom dancing."
“American Idol” isn’t the only way locals are making a mark on reality television this year. Utah County’s Sunny Hintze stole the stage on season two of Food Network’s “Cake Wars” alongside her cousin, Melissa Zunich of Colorado.
Both self-taught bakers with their own cake businesses (Sunny Days Cakes for Hintze and Sweet Cheeks Cakery for Zunich), the pair walked home with $10,000 after their fantastic cake creations scored them a victory on the show.
Known for her work on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” Allison Holker was a contestant in Season 2 of the show and an all-star in Seasons 7-11. She also appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” but before all that, she was raised in Orem and graduated from Timpanogos High School.
"Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" TV fans are familiar with one-f Jef. Holm was the winner of season 8 on the "Bachelorette" with Emily Maynard.
Holm is from Pleasant Grove, attended Utah Valley University and co-founded the company People Water that is based in Pleasant Grove.
Julianne and Derek Hough
Born in Orem, Julianne Hough got her television start on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and has since appeared in movies and starred as Sandy in the live television rendition of “Grease.”
Her brother Derek served as a judge on “World of Dance,” and has worked extensively with “Dancing with the Stars” and performed in “Hairspray Live!”
Local musician Ryan Innes was featured on the fourth season of "The Voice" in 2013. He was on Team Usher and was eliminated in the knockout rounds. Since then, he's performed at many venues across Utah, including Velour Live Music Gallery and the Covey Center for the Arts.
Innes attended BYU and has worked and lived around Utah County since.
Timpview High School grad Jenna Johnson was named the winner of “Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” Season 26 with her partner, Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon.
“Completely and utterly speechless,” Johnson said on Twitter following the announcement. “We did it!”
The Provo native previously competed on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10 and is a five-time U.S. National Latin Champion.
Scott Mitchell, a Springville native and former NFL quarterback, was a featured contestant on the NBC weight loss program “The Biggest Loser: Glory Days" in 2014.
Weighing 366 pounds at the start of the show, the 46-year-old Mapleton resident had gained 130 pounds since his 11-year pro football career, when he played for the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. He was eliminated in Week 16 and finished the show at 240 pounds.
Kelsey Nixon's career as a Food Network star began in Utah County. She starred in the fourth season of "Food Network Star" as she was wrapping up her undergraduate degree at BYU, and even hosted a college cooking show called "Kelsey's Kitchen."
Despite not winning, due to Nixon's popularity on "Food Network Star" she went on to have a show -- "Kelsey's Essentials" -- on the Cooking Channel, with Bobby Flay as the executive producer.
Nixon is currently the host of "Dinner Takes All" on BYUtv.
Donny & Marie
What Utahn doesn't know Donny and Marie? Osmond Studios was built in Orem in the 1970s and was the set where many episodes of "Donny & Marie" variety series took place.
Donny also appeared on the first season of "The Masked Singer," coming in second.
Donny still owns a home in Provo.
Orem junior ballroom team The Pulse were eliminated during The Cuts round of this season of “World of Dance.” Regardless, judge Ne-Yo said after their last performance, “We watched you guys get better with every single performance, and this one was your best one yet.”
If you've ever wanted to be covered from head to toe in really realistic looking pizza patterns or sport a sweater with a magical, rainbow spewing unicorn, you probably want to get in touch with Beloved Shirts, an impressively diverse business venture by self-proclaimed introvert Jeremiah Robinson, of Orem.
According to Robinson, his goal with Beloved Shirts is to combat blah-looking clothes with vibrant fashions full of unusual flair.
Beloved shirts customizes different items of clothing including t-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings and something called belovesies: full-body onesies the even zip over your head.
Though Robinson had done a pretty decent job of building up his business on his own, he ventured onto ABC's "Shark Tank" in hopes of getting some additional funding.
Seeking $175,000 for a 5 percent buy-in, most of the business moguls were quick to thumb down his deal, with only fashion rockstar Daymond John countering at $175,000 for 25 percent of the business. Robinson's 17 percent follow-up was countered again by a 22.5 percent buy-in offer that Robinson politely declined.
Ray Stewart and JJ Peterson
An Orem Public Safety Dispatcher by profession, Ray Stewart and his wife desperately wanted to become parents. After struggling with years of infertility and costly treatments, they decided it might be time to take a different route: adoption. At 389 pounds, though, Stewart was confident he wouldn’t be taken seriously in online profiles, and that to become a father, something had to change. That’s where the new A&E show, “Fit to Fat to Fit” comes in.
Based on the book and experiences of professional trainer Drew Manning, the premise of the show is that personal trainers gain weight over the course of a medically-observed, four-month period only to lose the weight as they work with their clients. Stewart, along with his trainer, fellow Utahn JJ Peterson, was featured in the first episode of the new series, which aired Jan. 19, 2016. After four months of training together, Peterson was back to his original body type, while Stewart was down 101 pounds, a total of 147 pounds with the weight he lost on his own.
Though most widely known as the “hip-hop violinist,” Lindsey Stirling, a graduate of Brigham Young University, also recently took second place on Season 25 of “Dancing with the Stars” last fall, as a celebrity dancer with partner Mark Ballas. She runs her own successful YouTube channel, and even appeared on “America’s Got Talent” before her career took off.
Pete Tidwell a.k.a. The Mighty Baker
Pete Tidwell competed on the Food Network's cake baking and decorating show "Cake Wars" -- twice. In his first appearance, he won with a Halo-themed cake and walked away with $10,000. His second appearance ended up being in a Champs vs. Champs episode, when he walked away victorious again, this time with a Dark Chocolate Cake with Coconut-Peanut Butter Italian Buttercream.
Tidwell owned a shop The Mighty Baker in Provo.
American Fork teen Jaxon Willard made his mark on national television with an appearance on Season 2 of "World of Dance."
“You come out small and timid, and then you start dancing and you’re 20 feet tall,” Ne-Yo said to Willard during the show.
Willard was eliminated in the Divisional Final, while contemporary duo Charity Anderson, of Springville, and Andres Penate, of Vineyard, continued on.
Other people who've appeared on TV
David Archuleta — "American Idol"
Maquel Cooper — "The Bachelor"
Ashly DelGrosso — "Dancing with the Stars"
The Duttons — "America's Got Talent"
House of Lewis — "America's Got Talent"
Tanner James — "The Voice"
Thayne Jasperson — "So You Think You Can Dance"
Belle Jewel — "The Voice"
Madilyn Paige — "The Voice"
Aaliyah Rose — "The Voice"
Jaymz Tuaileva — "So You Think You Can Dance"
Waffle Love — "The Great Food Truck Race"
Hruska's Kolaches — "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"