Earlier this month, Paramount+ announced The Family Stallone, a reality show following Sylvester Stallone, his wife Jennifer Flavin Stallone, and their three daughters (Sophia, Sistine, and Scarlet) as they live their “real” lives. It’s the latest in a long line of reality shows about celebrity families, all following in the groundbreaking wake of what The Osbournes did 20 years ago, but people are more savvy to what reality TV is than they were two decades ago, and we can all see what shows like that are actually about: promoting that celebrity and their family so that a famous person’s children can become famous in their own right—or at least somewhat in their own right. Kelly Osbourne built a career separate from anything her father did, but we all still know she’s Ozzy’s daughter.
The fun thing about The Family Stallone is that you don’t even need to dig too deep into the family’s history to know that this is exactly why they’re making that show. The Stallone daughters have been trying to break into the Hollywood mainstream as a unit for years, going back to 2017 when the trio was collectively named Miss Golden Globes (and this was pre-HFPA reckoning Golden Globes, so you just know that the decision to do that was on the up-and-up), and while we certainly don’t trade in gossip here, Stallone and his wife filed for divorce last summer before reconciling two weeks later, and now six months later Stallone is starring in a reality show that partially hangs on jokes about him not wanting to star in a reality show. It gives off the impression that he’s doing this just for his family, presumably because they want to promote the Stallone brand beyond only his career.
But how successful has that plan ever really been? Every member of every celebrity family thinks they’re special, so they all think they’ll be the next Kelly Osbourne or Brooke Hogan, but what does it say about this concept if we can’t really name a third example? To explore this mystery, let’s take a look at some other famous family reality shows and see if anyone other than the main famous person got anything out of it. (Note: The Kardashians in their various TV forms don’t count, because they’re technically famous because of reality TV, not because Robert Kardashian cashed in on his O.J. Simpson buzz and put the family in a show.)
Hogan Knows Best, 2005
Launching just a few years after The Osbournes, Hogan Knows Best is one of the premiere examples of this cheap, desperate genre. It is also one of the few shows like this that came in with an explicit TV premise: Hulk Hogan doesn’t like that his daughter is old enough to date! That effectively made Brooke the second lead of the show and forced the whole show into the same kind of faux-sitcom playfulness that The Osbournes had done so well. But, since the Hogans are the Hogans (and that’s all we’ll say about that), both Hulk and now-ex-wife Linda eventually left the show and Brooke got her own spin-off without either of them involved—the dream of a celebrity kid on one of these reality shows. Though never an A-list star, she had a good run as an actor and a singer for a few years.
Run’s House, 2005
The advantage that the family of Run-DMC founding member Joseph Simmons—a.k.a. DJ Run, a.k.a. Rev Run—has is that there are a lot of them. Not only that, but the show ran on MTV for six seasons and Simmons has continued to put his family in other shows since then. That’s plenty of opportunities for one of his kids to make an impression. Of those kids, daughter Vanessa Simmons broke out for a bit: Along with sister Angela Simmons, she’s a designer for show brand Pastry, and in addition to a handful of acting roles, she hosted the one-season Project Runway spin-off Threads about teen fashion designers.
Gene Simmons Family Jewels, 2006
Somehow one of the biggest shows in the history of this genre, Family Jewels aired for 160 episodes on A&E and was basically just The Osbournes with a different family. That makes it nothing but pure promotion for the Simmons family brand, and it seems to have worked out well for a while: Both children of the KISS frontman and wife Shannon Tweed have their own Wikipedia pages! Son Nick Simmons does some writing and voice acting, and he also created a comic book that … got canned because of plagiarism accusations. Daughter Sophie Simmons followed in both of her parents’ footsteps by trying her hand at modeling and singing. The system works!
Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood, 2007
A forgettable entry, despite airing for two seasons on E!, the show didn’t seem to do much of anything for the extended Dogg family. It probably doesn’t help that “Dogg” isn’t his real last name … You see “Hogan” on a résumé and you say “damn, I am absolutely not going to say anything about this person’s father,” but you see “Broadus” and you might not even clock it. That’s a good thing for his family, because it gives them better odds to be normal people, but the fact that Snoop Dogg is way more famous than anyone else in his family makes his show a failure—at least for the purposes of this exercise.
Living Lohan, 2008
All of the other shows on this list are about the famous person cashing in on their fame to promote their family, but Living Lohan notably does not feature Lindsay Lohan at all. It’s actually about her mother, Dina Lohan, trying to turn her sister, Ali Lohan, into a Lindsay Lohan-level celebrity. So this one is literally about trying to cash in on a famous person’s fame and trying to apply it to someone else in their family, which Gillian Flynn (yes, that Gillian Flynn) noted at the time was pretty goddamn gross. Ali Lohan has popped up here and there as a model, singer, and actor, but… blegh.
Mrs. Eastwood & Company, 2012
Totally normal, nothing to see here: Clint Eastwood’s now-ex-wife Dina lives her life along with their daughters, Francesca and Morgan, and Clint himself appears on occasion. Oh, also, they all live with a South African a cappella band called Overtone that Dina brought to America in order to help them hit it big. There were seven people in Overtone, and they all lived at the Eastwood’s mansion while filming the show! That means Mrs. Eastwood & Company was even less about promoting the Eastwood family brand and more about promoting these random singers, and also they’re no longer a group so it didn’t even work out.
And here come the Stallones, thinking people are going to care about their family without even bringing in a foreign a cappella group to live with them! These daughters have to be twice as interesting as the average celebrity child if they want to live up to the Eastwoods, and that’s already twice as interesting as the average normal child. We’ll have to wait for the show to premiere in May to see if they’re up to the challenge.