Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been buffeted by one piece of bad news after another for the past several days. She has become a national joke for her past use of a racial epithet, lost her Food Network show in the controversy, and been abandoned by one business partner after another in the fallout. The debate over whether she deserved to lose so much for a transgression that is not that uncommon, especially for someone raised in Jim Crow-era Deep South, rages on.
But maybe Paula Deen will get some good news this week. VH1’s The Gossip Table is reporting that the ABC hit reality series Dancing With the Stars has approached Paula Deen about joining them for their upcoming 17th season.
Deen would not be the first person to go on Dancing With the Stars in an attempt to repair a bad or sagging public image. Bristol Palin joined DWTS in 2010 to prop up her image after falling into her popular mother’s controversial shadow, as well as enduring tabloid headlines about her romantic relationships. She ended up finishing third the whole season and went on to release a best-selling memoir.
Billionaire Mark Cuban, while quite successful money-wise, even as a philanthropist, was suffering from a lagging public image due to his temper. Cuban went on DWTS in 2007 and was well-received.
Texas politician, and former U.S. House of Representatives GOP Majority Leader, Tom DeLay had to resign his office in 2005 due to charges of money laundering in connection with a campaign finance investigation. While the case wound its way through the U.S. justice system, DeLay joined DWTS in 2009. He scored very low in all his appearances, and eventually dropped out of the competition entirely due to pre-stress fractures in his feet. DeLay was convicted of his charges in 2011 and sentenced to three years in prison. He is still free, ending appeals.
Kate Gosselin, already a reality TV star in her own right through her show Jon & Kate Plus 8 about her large family, joined the cast in 2010. After divorcing her husband Jon, her public image took a hit. She was the 4th person to be eliminated from the competition.
At one point, Kate Gosselin had considered launching a talk show with none other than … Paula Deen. Maybe those notions will be revisited if Paula does land DWTS and helps patch her image.