Mike Mizanin is the busiest man in reality television.
Mizanin has 11 reality shows to his credit. He started on "The Real World: New York" in 2001. Now he's a star on "Extreme Championship Wrestling" (10 p.m. Tuesdays, Sci-Fi Channel).
There he's known, simply, as "The Miz."
For the sake of reality TV, he's navigated tricky obstacle courses, played peacemaker with roommates and landed on his head in front of an arena full of fans. He says his appeal as a reality-TV star comes down to personality.
He knows when conflict is about to erupt, and he's always on the scene to aggravate it.
"I'm a guy who likes drama," the 26-year-old says. ". . . I am always made out to be the nice guy, but I will pick at someone with a smile. Then the fight will happen, and I will think, 'Oh, this is awesome.'
"If there is a fight about to start, I'm not the one starting it, but I am the one in the background watching the whole thing and (promoting) it. That's me."
After winning over audiences on "The Real World," he was asked back to MTV to do "Real World" specials and spin-offs, such as "The Real World/ Road Rules Challenge." It pits cast members from "Real World" and "Road Rules" in physical contests.
Then branded as a reality-show star, he was asked to do such programs as "Fear Factor" and "Battle of the Network Reality TV Stars."
Just when it seemed as if every second of his 15 minutes of fame were used, Mizanin landed a spot on "Tough Enough," a reality competition series for WWE. Participants competed for a contract with the wrestling company.
Mizanin came in second, but that still didn't stop him. His personality proved mightier than his punches.
"They liked my personality so much on it that I got a contract with WWE," he says. "They thought I could do well in this (pro wrestling) business."
This native of the Columbus, Ohio, area dreamed of being a professional wrestler since he was a kid. He went to business school in Miami, though, thinking that being a wrestler was an impossible dream.
"Then I got on 'The Real World,' and it took off from there," he says.
Mizanin was perfect reality-show material, especially for the MTV crowd that discovered him first. He was a muscular, Mohawk-wearing college kid with a big smile and a friendly demeanor.
His stint on "Real World/ Road Rules Challenge" helped show off his physicality. "I love to compete, and I got to do that," he says.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound athlete says he never dreamed he'd be big enough to be a professional wrestler. "When I was a kid, I had wrestling action figures and dreamed of it," he says. "But I got bigger and bigger and bigger.
"I'm a big guy in the real world. In wrestling, compared to the other guys, I'm small.."
But his current gig in professional wrestling has met his expectations, he says. "It's everything I thought it would be and more. It's hard on the body, and it's hard mentally."