He burst forth from the pack on a novel new MTV reality show, instantly becoming its breakout star. His personality was king, and he got into verbal dustups with his roommates. Known for his body, his abs got almost as much airtime as the rest of him.

And then the reality show ended, and he began to think bigger, think badder, think bolder.

The world was his. He knew it. And he wasn't going to let it go.

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Think I'm talkin' 'bout The Situation? Nope. Does the name Eric Nies ring any bells?

Nies, for those in the unknown, was one of those "seven strangers picked to live in a loft" for "The Real World's" debut season back in 1992. I got to thinking about him last week after I read on EW.com that "Bones" was trying to hire Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino to play a corpse on the Fox hit.

Never mind that EW's Michael Ausiello reported the deal fell through; it illustrated how Situation is positioning himself for a post-"Jersey Shore" career. He'll have a book coming out later this year, and he's already looking at branching out beyond. When EW featured the "Shore" mates in the July 30 issue, he hinted that he might not stick around beyond the third season. Of course, the same paragraph found Snooki wondering about bailing after the Miami season, and she's been a high-profile part of season three filming back in Seaside Heights.

Can The Situation, or any of them, really, transcend their "Jersey Shore" selves? It'll be a tough mountain to climb, but not insurmountable. Omorosa keeps popping up years after her first gig on "The Apprentice." It's easy to forget, but once upon a time "The View's" Elisabeth Hasselbeck was nothing more than a "Survivor" hopeful.

So, it can be done. Whether audiences will have any hunger for a Situation away from "Jersey Shore" is impossible to predict. But he's smart to be striking now. It's hard to believe his star's ever going to be hotter, something every regular Joe smitten with reality fame can relate to.

As for Nies, he kept busy for years after "The Real World," mostly in "Real World" reunion seasons and hosting MTV's "The Grind." The former model also branched out into the fitness world.

One other thing about Nies: Thanks to his IMDB.com profile, we know he'll turn 40 next year, and we've heard barely a peep from him in quite some time (although there was that stint on VH1's "Confessions of a Teen Idol"). The Situation ought to be aware of Nies' situation as he positions himself for a post-"Jersey Shore" run at stardom. The thing to keep in mind? It's good to be the king. Just remember every king is eventually replaced.

Does Situation have the stuff to transcend his "Jersey Shore" roots? Let me know what you think in the comments.


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