Every couple of years, Brian Dunkleman, Ryan Seacrest's co-host on "Idol's" first season, resurfaces. Currently appearing on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club 6," Dunkleman, who says he quit "Idol" before its producers had made a decision on renewing his contract, was candid about the program - and why he chose to leave it - during a recent appearance on Adam Carolla's radio show.
Speaking of Seacrest, Dunkleman said, "He didn't like me, I didn't like him. We didn't get along." He also portrayed the show as staged and its producers as mean-spirited.
On the first studio show, Dunkleman said, "I heard them talking about 'We're going to get (contestant) Jim (Verraros), we're going to nail him,' before the show. He's the sweetest kid you'll ever meet. He sings. He sings really well. Simon (Cowell) shreds him, just kills him, and the kid's wellin' up, he's got tears in his eyes. He comes back to the couch, and I say to him, 'Well, hey, Paula Abdul said she liked you, what else matters?' Cut. The executive producer ripped me offstage, behind stage got in my face, started screaming at me. 'What the (expletive) are you doing? You never once mentioned what Simon said to him that entire time?' Chewed me out. Finally, I just stopped and said, 'Wait a minute. Let me just get this clear. These kids come back to this couch feeling like crap. I'm supposed to make sure they continue to feel like crap?'
"He stuck his finger in my chest and said, 'You're (expletive) right.' And that was day one. And I was, like, 'What did I get myself into?"'
The following week, Dunkleman said, Randy Jackson and Cowell almost came to blows over a comment Cowell made about some of the contestants. Taping was halted and later the producers restaged the blowup between the two in an empty studio with different language.
Dunkleman said, "I developed such self-hatred for being a part of it, that I checked out. I checked out. I didn't believe in what I was doing."