In reality TV, the toughest competition takes place off-camera--even if you don't have to eat bugs. At the "Apprentice" audition, Sam Solovey greased a rival applicant $50 for his place in line, then used the story to wow casting agents. "It was the hunger in my eyes that mattered," says Solovey, who made the cut--only to get sacked in the third episode.
If you want your own shot at infamy, start by surfing network sites to see who's casting. "Extreme Makeover" is taking applications (see abc.com for details). "The Contender" (nbc.com) is looking for boxers to be mentored by Sylvester Stallone, and the producers of "America's Next Diva of Domesticity" (cbs.com) want someone with Martha's craftiness. Ready to apply? Skip the open calls and make an audition tape (check the application for specs). Casting agents look for strong personalities--and "sex, conflict and humor," says Lynne Spillman of "Survivor." Creativity counts. Think up clever songs and cameos. But keep your clothes on and don't be too emotional. Save the tears for Katie Couric.