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Brian Dunkleman


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Dunkleman Questions Leaving 'Idol' Gig

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Brian Dunkleman

Brian Dunkleman admits it. He can't help but wonder if he might have been a mega-star on the rise, just like Ryan Seacrest, if he hadn't quit as co-host of "American Idol" after the hit reality show's first season.

"I wanted to be a performer, not someone who introduced other performers," Dunkleman told "Inside Edition" in an interview to be aired Wednesday, February 22. So he walked away from the hit reality show after its debut season in 2002.

Since then Seacrest has become practically a ubiquitous hosting presence, including sharing top billing with New Year's icon Dick Clark on this year's "New Year's Rockin' Eve" show.

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Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman

Dunkleman has gone on to appear in a handful of TV shows like "NYPD Blue" and "Miss Match" and to appear regularly at Los Angeles comedy clubs. "I do standup every week in LA at the Laugh Factory and the Improv," he said. He also wonders about what might have been.

"It was my decision," he said. "I'm not saying it was a good decision because, obviously, with the success of the show, it's a difficult decision to think back on and think I did the right thing. I agonized over it, really but I quite honestly had a very difficult time with how cruel the show was. It really affected me."

With the show in its fifth season, Dunkleman is coming home in a way. He is hosting a new Internet fantasy game on the Web site: IdolGoHome.

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I almost lost it when I read this little article! It's taken him THIS long to realize he made a HUGE mistake? Does anyone else think starting an "American Idol" Internet Fantasy Game is a just a tad bit of a sign of desperation on his part? Poor Dunkleman . . . we hardly knew ye. (Can you say poor career choice?)

I was actually a little sad when he first left the show but I think the hosting improved dramatically when the format went to one host. I think it really opened up the banter between Ryan and Simon.

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