He’s not the only one. While DWTS has helped launch a few fledgling careers (see: Julianne Hough), it’s perhaps best known for the roster of troubled celebs who’ve tried to use the show as a springboard back into viewers’ good graces. It hasn’t always worked. If the previous contestants on this list are any indication, Lochte, who stands in ninth place after the season 23 opener, has a long slog ahead of him.
As Americans, we cannot get enough of reality television. Putting the disgraced Olympian on Dancing with the Stars was probably the best thing Lochte's PR people can do to repair his damaged reputation. VH1 really cashed in on this with their "Celebrity Rehab" show. It allows viewers to see these celebrities as humans.
Reality TV is not always real in that it is still edited for TV. Using reality TV to repair a celebrity's reputation could backfire and cause the celebrity to be further ridiculed. Although shows such as Dancing with the Stars allow contestants to tell their side of the story to win the audience over (hopefully), I think reality shows should focus on the talent being showcased.
Using reality TV is one way to repair a celebrity's reputation, but there are other much better ways. The problem with reality TV is it can swing both ways and sometimes end up causing more harm than good, leading to a further damaged reputation. A better way to go about it is by actually doing good things. Having said that it may be slightly more difficult for a swimmer compared to an actor or a singer to do that. But still, you stand a better chance of repairing your reputation for the long-term if celebrities avoid the shallow world of reality TV.