Cottle, Michelle, Newsweek
Byline: Michelle Cottle
Watch out, Ryan Seacrest. Reality TV's oddest new star.
Gen. Wesley Clark is on the phone from Bucharest, Romania. The retired four-star has just wrapped up a long day of media and meetings about his new appointment as honorary strategic adviser to the Romanian prime minister on matters of national security and the economy. Dashing off to dinner, Clark pauses to update Newsweek on his other new posting: reality-TV host.
"The show is designed to honor everyone who ever served in uniform and protected our country," Clark explains of NBC's new military-themed celebrity smackdown, Stars Earn Stripes, premiering Aug. 13.
Alongside co-host Samantha Harris (of Dancing With the Stars fame), the former NATO commander will keep watch over eight celebrity contestants as they train with on-air "operatives" (current and former members of the armed forces or law enforcement) to compete in military-style missions replete with helicopter drops, rappelling, and, of course, shooting stuff. The inaugural batch of combatants includes actor Dean Cain, Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street, and former first dude of Alaska Todd Palin.
Admittedly, the onetime presidential candidate is no stranger to the small screen. Back in his Pentagon days, Clark did his share of media briefings; post-service, he was a regular on the political chat circuit. That said, his is not your typical reality-show resume. It is safe to say that the general is the first such host to hold a Presidential Medal of Honor, six honorary knighthoods, and enough military awards to buckle the knees of Ryan Seacrest and Tom Bergeron combined. …