Celebrities are people just like everybody else, which means that many of them choose to be parents. And just like everybody else, they sometimes want the chance to show their kids off to the world. Now some famous names are getting the opportunity to do just that with Big Star Little Star. The new USA Network game show — which, like so many other great shows, is based on an already existing British show — pairs celebrities and their kids up to compete against one another to see who knows one another best. Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can Dance is the host, and on the premiere season of Big Star Little Star, a handful of celebs and their adorable children are lining up to join her.
Of course, as amazing as it would be to see iconic celebrity kids like Blue Ivy Carter or North West on the series, their moms and dads aren't scheduled to appear. But that doesn't mean the contestants of Big Star Little Star aren't individuals you might recognize from the worlds of TV, movies, music and sports. And even if you don't recognize everyone, their kids will be there to totally steal the spotlight. Plus, all the prizes each family wins go to a charity of their choice.
Here's where you've maybe seen the first batch of contestants before:
Marissa Jaret Winokur & Zev
Back in 2003, Winokur originated the iconic role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway production of Hairspray, winning a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress In A Musical that year. Since then she's also appeared as a contestant on Dancing With The Stars, a host on The Talk and Dance Your Ass Off, a voice actor on American Dad, and on the final season of Girls. According to InStyle she married her husband Judah Miller in 2005, and Zev here made his debut in People Magazine a few years later in 2008.
Chad Johnson & Cha’iel
"Chad Johnson" may not be how you best know this contestant. But I bet "Ochocinco" rings a bell. That's what Johnson legally changed his name to from 2008 to 2012. The controversial football star (three guesses what his jersey number was) played for the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, before the team dismissed after a domestic violence arrest in 2012. (According to The Guardian, Johnson pleaded no contest to the charge and came to a deal with prosecutors to do community service and counseling in place of jail time, though a Florida judge sentenced him to serve 30 days for inappropriate courtroom behavior.)
Chai'el is one of Johnson's six children, and as BET reported a few years ago she once participated in the National Junior Olympics. Athletic prowess must run in the family.
Todd Chrisley & Grayson
Todd Chrisley is a Georgia real estate mogul whose family is the focus of Chrisley Knows Best, a sitcom-like reality series on the USA Network. The show is currently on its fifth season, and Grayson is the youngest of four children by about nine years.
Teri Polo & Bayley
Polo is best known for starring alongside Ben Stiller in the Meet The Parents trilogy — it's her character's parents they're meeting. She also played the wife of presidential candidate Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) in the later seasons of The West Wing, and has starred in a bunch of TV movies throughout her career. Bayley is her second child, but her first with ex-husband Jamie Wollam.
David Ross & Cole
Another former Dancing With The Stars contestant, David Ross is a baseball player who led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series victory in almost 100 years — according to The Hollywood Reporter, the story's already been optioned for a movie based on Cole's book, Teammate: My Journey In Baseball And A World Series For The Ages. Now that he's retired, he gets to spend a lot more time with his son, Cole.
Howie Dorough & James
Dorough is a member of the Backstreet Boys, who've recorded eight studio albums and have spent much of the past several months performing at their Las Vegas residency. James is one of two kids "Howie D" has with wife Leigh Boniello.
Nicole Sullivan & Beckett
Nicole Sullivan is a veteran of Fox's sketch comedy series Mad TV, and featured prominently in the sitcom King Of Queens. Also, she played the voice of the villainous Shego in the Disney TV Channel series Kim Possible.
Gilles Marini & Juliana
Marini has appeared on Brothers and Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money, Criminal Minds, Nip/Tuck, and lots of other TV shows in his career — but more importantly than all that, he was Dante in the Sex And The City movie, aka the sexy guy who lives in the beach house next to Samantha. Juliana is his second child with wife Carole.
Kenny Smith & Malloy
Nowadays Kenny is a studio analyst for TNT Sports, and has won several Emmys for his work on Inside The NBA. Before that, of course, he was a professional basketball player (who played on the same college team as Michael Jordan!) and played for 10 years on eight different teams. Malloy appeared with Kenny and the rest of their family on a short-lived reality series, Meet The Smiths.
Greg Jennings & Alea
For ten years Jennings played as a wide receiver in the NFL, and won Super Bowl XLV with the Green Bay Packers in 2011. Now he's an analyst for Fox Sports, and occasionally he likes to show up in bit roles on TV shows like Criminal Minds and in ads for Old Spice. In addition to Alea, Greg also has two other daughters and a son whose names all start with the letter "A." (The Little Mermaid vibes!)
Phaedra Parks & Ayden
Although she rose to fame The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, E! Online has reported that Parks will not be returning for next season of the Bravo reality series — probably due to what went down between her and Porsha Williams in the show's intense 9th season finale. Meanwhile, her son Ayden is still just as adorable as he was on RHOA.
Joey Fatone & Kloey
If you ask me Joey needs no introduction because he was a member of *NSYNC, but I have to remember that not everyone grew up in the '90s and didn't slavishly devote themselves to the same unofficial boy band biographies that I did. Anyway, he's also appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and on Dancing With The Stars. Khloey is Joey's second child with Kelly Baldwin, who People reports was his high school sweetheart. Also, Fatone really digs the Kentucky Derby for some reason.
Kerri Walsh-Jennings & Joey
Walsh-Jennings has won three gold medals and one bronze medal for her fierce skills as a volleyball player during the 2004, 2008 and 2012 summer Olympics. Joey is her oldest kid with husband Casey Jennings, who also has a career in professional beach volleyball.
Christina Milian & Violet
Christina Milian had a hit back in the day with her song "From AM To PM," which she released at the beginning of her singing career in 2001. Since then she's released two other albums and an EP, and starred in many TV shows and movies, including a reality series called Christina Milian Turned Up. Most recently she was featured as Magenta in Fox's live performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Violet is her and The-Dream's daughter from when they were briefly married in 2009-2010.
Mario Lopez & Gia
Mario Lopez is basically a household name, but just in case you're still lost, he rose to fame as Slater in Saved By The Bell and has since starred on and hosted all kinds of reality television shows, from Extra to The X-Factor to America's Next Best Dance Crew. Lopez's daughter Gia was born in late 2010, according to People, which makes her about six years old now.
Brooke Burke & Rain
Brooke Burke briefly co-hosted Dancing With The Stars alongside Tom Bergeron after having won the competition in Season 7. She's also been the host of the Miss America Pageant, E!'s Wild On! and Rock Star, a competitive reality series that chose new frontrunners for bands, and she appeared in Arnold Schwarzenegger's short-lived version of Celebrity Apprentice this year. Her daughter's full name is Heaven Rain, says The Daily Mail, and she's one of four kids.
Harold Perrineau & Wynter
Ten years ago, Harold Perrineau became famous for his role as the guy who yelling for Walter all the time on Lost (the character's name was Michael, by the way). Now he has a daughter named... Wynter. Do you think he was maybe inspired by his TV son's name? Perrineau also starred in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, the Matrix franchise, and Zero Dark Thirty, and also appeared on NBC's short-lived Constantine.
Penn Jillette & Zolten
Penn Jillette is famous for being the talking half of Penn & Teller, a duo of magicians who've performed together for decades and who starred in Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t. Jillette is a big proponent of skepticism, atheism, and has also appeared on Dancing With The Stars and Celebrity Apprentice. Zolten is one of two children, and as Jillette told USAToday, his unusual name is actually his mother's maiden name.
Honestly, a Newlywed-style game where parents and kids use their knowledge of their family to win prizes would be awesome even if it weren't full of recognizable people. So all the celebrities on Big Star Little Star are a nice bonus. Either way, it'll be fun to watch these pairs test their bonds from week to week!