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Becoming TV stars has changed life for Mike Baird and Doug Clarke.

The Utahns at the center of the Spike cable network show "Flip Men" are still in the same business — they buy foreclosures and rehab them. But they're no longer doing it in relative anonymity.

Not only are they getting recognized by viewers on a regular basis, but the show has put a target on their backs when it comes to bidding on homes.

"People are looking at the property going, 'Hey, if Mike and Doug are bidding on it, we probably ought to be interested, too,' " Baird said. Which is why they send employees or friends to do their bidding for them.

After a successful first season, "Flip Men" is back on Spike. (New episodes air Sundays at 8 and 8:30 p.m., with repeats throughout the week.) "And Season 2 is just Season 1 on steroids," Clarke said.

Expect to see various rodents who have taken up residence in abandoned houses, as well as the human pests who steal wire right out of homes, causing thousands of dollars in damage. You'll also see cops, who are more of a presence in Season 2 after mostly declining to go on camera in Season 1. (They've come around after seeing the show.)

"The original pitch that Doug and I had was not an HGTV design show," Baird said. "It was more along the lines of 'Hoarders' meets 'Cops' meets 'Extreme Home Makeover,' because that is the reality of our business. In Season 2, we hit every single one of those elements."

It's not that weird, strange stuff didn't happen in Season 1 — it's not that the cops weren't called on a regular basis to deal with squatters and thieves — but there was some reluctance to show the entirety of Baird and Clarke's everyday experiences.

"I think Spike was very cautious in Season 1 about how much of this reality should we show America," Clarke said. "Are they ready for this kind of thing?"

Now the thinking is that viewers are ready.

"So they really have taken the gloves off," Clarke said, "and said, 'OK, there was no backlash. America enjoyed Season 1. Let's go ahead and show them some of the things that happened that we didn't really want to show for fear it was over the top.' "

Truth isn't only stranger than fiction, it's also less believable. But Baird and Clarke make it clear that nothing on "Flip Men" — no matter how unbelievable — is in any way staged.

And due to that, they're glad they signed on, aside from the complications to their business. "This is an opportunity that we couldn't pass up," Baird said.

Clarke added: "When you're stopped every single day and people tell you how they love the show and that they learned this or they're entertained by that — it makes it all worth it. We're having a blast."

Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce; read his blog at sltrib.com/blogs/tv.

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