The Celebreality Interview – Danny Bonaduce, Dasher of Dreams



“Sometimes it’s a public service to put an end to someone’s dreams,” says Danny Bonaduce, giving us a thumbnail sketch of his philosophy for judging I Know My Kid’s a Star, which premieres tonight at 10/9c on VH1. Talking about the show, Danny proves to be unapologetic as ever as he talks about heading the reality competition of stage moms and the kids who are sentenced to them. Below, Danny talks about his own tumultuous experiences with child stardom, the trainwreck culture of Britney and Lindsay and why he doesn’t think getting involved in showbiz is necessarily damaging to young people.

You hold yourself and your tumultuous past up as an example as a cautionary tale from the start of this show.

Everybody, the production crew and everything, was trying to be polite, but basically the game was this: don’t let your kid grow up to be Danny Bonaduce.

Do you think you wouldn’t have had the difficulties you have if you had a more stable home as a child star?

That’s two different questions. I think I would have had less tumult in my life if I hadn’t grown up in my particular house. Taking drugs and going to jails and getting into fights has nothing to do with being on television. I think it has to do with the way you’re raised, and I was raised by wolves.

You make reference to Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan stealing your trainwreck act…

…I call them the four horsewomen of the apocalypse.

So, you think that fame has nothing to do with people’s downward trajectories?

It’s funny, because I’m a man of strong opinions and when I make one, I stand by it even if it starts to appear incorrect to me after a while. I would say that my particular issues had nothing to do with the kind of fame that I had. Even though The Partridge Family was, at one point, as big as Britney Spears, bigger than Lindsay Lohan, by far bigger than Paris Hilton, the paparazzi weren’t everywhere. All your secrets weren’t exposed. People wanted to protect you more than injure you. Now it seems like people want to do damage to young celebrities. They want to find them doing bad things. They encourage them. How many times am I going to watch a paparazzo purposely put his foot under Britney’s car tire and say he was run over by a crazed woman?

Maybe it’s dangerous for kids to be stars.

I certainly think it’s less dangerous for a kid to be famous than to go to school in Compton. Although Compton’s pretty nice now. I think you’ve got less of a chance of having a truly damaged child because he was in show business than because he went to school in Littleton, Colorado. It’s a dangerous time to be a child.

Have you heard any criticism of the very premise of the show? Stage parents tend to get blood boiling.

I’ve done a lot of press and everyone has reacted in such a palpable way. It’s not necessarily good or bad, but it’s also not very positive. I think we’re pretty fair with the clips we show. There are a couple of clips where the parents are not doing anything but helping their kid, and you can see that some of these reporters are out to hate that parent. That parent put their kid in show business and they’re out to get them. In a way, I kind of understand that. But people wanted to not like these parents right off the bat, and a few of them are quite likable. A couple of them are most certainly not.

Are you saying that stage parents get a bum rap in general?

Yes. I believe they get a bum rap, but only because when a stage parent goes bad, it’s so damaging to the child. It’s damaging to the project they’re working on. It’s embarrassing. It’s such a big deal to have a bad stage parent. It scars. But is a mother ever aware that her baby is ugly? Does any mom ever look down and go, “Boy! Did I have an ugly one!”? The answer is no: everybody thinks their baby is cute. Well, all these parents think their kids are incredibly talented. Some of them are not, but either way, the parents gaze upon their child as if they are a prodigy.

All of that said, how was it to corral these people, just based on your personal annoyance?

Everyone in the beginning had such a sense of superiority that they were the clear winner. The fireworks started after the first few eliminations after kids whose parents thought they were so amazing started to get eliminated. The parents start to realize, at least in my estimation, “Hey, am I wrong?” Or, “Does it matter if I’m right or wrong?” Or, “Little Johnny might be a genius, but Danny’s not seeing it. I’m screwed.” And I wasn’t always pleasant about sending kids home.

So, is dashing people’s dreams your public service?

Yes! I know that sounds like an oxymoron. If you’ve got a guy with one leg, he can still run a marathon and be a hero, but he’s never gonna be the fastest man alive. If that’s his ambition, it’s a public service to that man, his family and his friends to let him know that he’s never going to be the fastest man alive. He may be the fastest one-legged man alive. If you have an impossible dream, a dream that cannot be fulfilled, the friendly thing for me to do is to put a stop to you wasting your life at it. I have this overwhelming desire to play for the NBA, but I’ve got three things against me: I’m middle aged, I’m white and I’m 5’6″. If I spend my day sweating my guts out in front of a hoop outside and my girlfriend doesn’t come up to me and say, “Dan, I love you but you’re never gonna play for the NBA,” she’s just gonna let me waste my life in the driveway. Sometimes it’s a public service to put an end to someone’s dreams.

That said, there seems to be a good cop/bad cop dynamic between you and your fellow advisor on the show, Markie Costello. You’re nurturing and she’s blunt.

“Blunt” is a kind word. There’s dashing someone’s dreams by telling the truth, and then there’s bashing someone’s dreams by hitting them with the bat. I chose dashing, she chose bashing.

Do you disagree with her philosophy?

I think she’s excellent television, but I don’t think she had to be quite as hostile was she was sometimes. Markie knows her business backwards and forwards and once an amateur who knows nothing disagrees with her, she lets that be known. But the show would not be the show without Markie.

Was the show fun for you?

It was a very good time for me. I was kept away from a lot of the personal drama and by the time I sent someone home at the end, which you would think would be sad and horrifying and maudlin, I always knew I was doing the right thing. Somebody’s gotta lose, this thing has rules to it, and this kid’s gotta go. I didn’t sit up at night going, “What am I doing to this kid?” I was just doing my job.

So you’d do this again?

Oh, absolutely. I expect to. I am rooting for Season 2 of I Know My Kid’s a Star like you wouldn’t believe!

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  1. Patty says:

    Great show, even tho I’m 60 and have personal reasons to watch the show, i.e., I want my granddaughter or grandson to be a star, I JUST LOVE THE SHOW!!!!

  2. Cori Thomas says:

    how do you get on this show any ways?I would love to even be on the show to get a chance of being the next child star .

  3. nicole says:

    how do i fill out an application for the next season to be on the show? because i love this show and my mother and i know that we definitely have what it takes to become america’s next child star. i love to sing and act and all the other theater arts so it would be an honor to be on this show.

  4. LaDeana says:

    How can we get an application for next season? My daughter is very talented. And I think we would be great on the show. She loves to sing dance and act.

  5. Cheryl Forbes-Latham says:

    I would love to get my son on next season. He would do great!! I looked for an application and did not see one is there an address or number to do this? please advise

  6. Leslie S says:

    My daughter and I watch the show and love it. Cheyenne is our favorite. I love the honest feed back, my daughter really learned a lot from the show. The parents are something else, i wonder how do you pick them.


  7. Tameana Evans says:

    I have a 6yr old daughter and she is smart with talented, I would like her to be on your show.

  8. Lisa Monaco says:

    Like the others ,my daughter and I would love to be on the show. We watch it with a passion every week. She loves to sing and act and is looking for her big break. How do we get on the show , if there is a second season?

  9. §?Drake?§ says:

    O ya this show is AWSOME!!!!! Mary Jo is the best all the way dont listen to anyone else. And on the plus side she’s not half bad looking. [at least now anyways]

  10. alibaby1 says:

    Hi sorry, I’m really just trying to find out if there will be a I know my kids a star part 2 and if there is anyway I could get my daughter on some kind of list or call someone or anything?I’m sorry, my daughter is a doll and she loves to sing and dance and as most kids wants to be an actress.So even though its me that watches this show not her I really wanted to see if I could somehow get her to a casting call if they have one for a possible Part 2.Thank you very much

  11. Sarah says:

    Go Mary keep up the great work!!!! You are amazing girlie and dont listen to anyone on the show. we will see what they say when you kick their butt.

  12. Melanie says:

    I would really like to know if and when they would be doing season 2 of this cause I would like to get my daughter into if u can please let me know.

  13. Jamd says:

    YES!!!!! GO MECKENZIE! she’s so cute and…damn, i forgot her name…OH YEAH! Cheyenne is nothing. Cheyenne over does everything and she just comes off as annoying where Meckenzie is a good actress, she’s cute, polite, and a FABULOUS singer. congratulations meckenzie, hopefully i’ll see you in a movie or show or something soon. maybe you’ll be with Ashely Tisdale or Hannah Montana. (even tho i hate hannah montana)

  14. amber says:

    i am a star, i sing and dance and love to act is there anyway i can sign up for i know my kids a star 2?

  15. Yasmin JOHNSON says:


    I LOVE your show(I KNOW MY kids a star).I realy wanna be on season 2.
    IF there is a season 2 email me and i will bring you a video and tell me how to get there.


  16. liz says:

    how do you audition for i know my kids a star? and what is the age limit?Because i would like to auddition.

  17. erika says:

    i’m also rooting for season2 i wantn so badly to get in it. anyone who has casting calls plz advise me

  18. Erika says:

    i would love to get the casting call to season 2 og “I know my kids a star” so if there’s any casting call please any one notify me . I love to sing dance and act. Please thanks you very much

  19. gudelia says:

    How do you audition for i no my kids a star because my daughter wants to go on that show for the second season.Well e-mail me to tell me how.

  20. Chanel says:

    Hey i really want to be on this show and i wanted to know when is the casting call

  21. Janice says:

    I am very much interested in my daugther casting for this show. Please contact with information.

    Thank you!!

  22. shalane says:

    I would love to know when season 2 is doing casting calls because
    my daughter is made for this show she is a kid star waiting to be discover
    so please contact my email address on any info on the casting calls for season 2 such as the date in time. thank you !

  23. daishy dupri joseph says:

    i agree you show do a season 2 of “i know my kid’s a star” and if you do contact me i would love to audition

  24. alma says:

    yes it would be awsome to have a season 2 if so please send me audition info or casting call info my kid is def. the star

  25. Scott Cosby says:

    Hi my name is scott and im 17 years old male from Northern Ireland and ive been watching the reality T.V shows you make for a while now and i would love to be part of the whole experience, ive not been sure what i wanted to do in my life for a long time but now i know i want to be a kick *#+*$&@!+#%@#^+ reality star that will blow your mind away!please give me an email and i can show you what i look like and stuff much love peace.

  26. sabriyah says:

    to send a letter or petition to vh1 their address is 1515 broadway
    new york,N.Y. 10036

    And danny bonaduce’s e-mail is
    and he also has a myspace so does the cast of the show.