Jennifer Graziano Says ‘The Real Housewives’ Inspired Mob Wives; Has Dreams Of Creating An Empire; Plans To Expand Franchise!
The creator and producer of the show has always dreamed of owning her own television empire (watch out Kris Jenner!) – a veritable mafia of her own, if you will – and has big plans to not only expand the reality show franchise, but venture into scripted TV, food and wine, and even movies!
Jennifer says she always knew she wouldn't be a mob wife herself, but growing up in the lifestyle and around those women she was fascinated. And circumstances sort of decided for her since she was "book smart as well as street smart".
"I knew from a young girl that I did not want to marry a man and stay at home and take care of the family," Jennifer shared with The Examiner. "Starting from kindergarten I was up (and ready to go to school) before my mother and my sister (Renee)," she recalls.
Translation: Jennifer inherited her father's head for business but was too smart to end up in the mob herself!
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Jennifer stared her multifaceted career in the A+R Department at Sony Music and moved onto scripted TV, but her traverese into reality television started with Karen Gravano…. and some inspiration in the form of the Real Housewives franchise!
"I was working on a scripted show about my life growing up with Karen early on," Jennifer explains. "As I noticed the success of the housewives franchise and the explosion of reality TV I realized I could do the same. And I had the entire cast right under my nose my entire life. I met with TWC after creating a sizzle reel."
Of course television execs immediately jumped on the opportunity. "They were in love with the 'Mob Wives' project," Jennifer says and the show was born. In addition to managing a TV show which made the ladies famous she also handles their endorsement deals plus licensing and booking for the cast members she manages.
Jennifer also branched out into the spinoff arena with Big Ang. She has both a namesake show and one about expanding the Drunken Monkey to Miami in Miami Monkey. Jennifer is close to Big Ang and describes producing her shows as "amazing." Ang always had plans to expand her business and reality TV gave her the perfect platform to do so. Another bonus is that Ang's daughter Raquel appears on the show. "We always wanted her daughter (Raquel) to be on television but she was never sold on the 'Mob Wives' concept," Jennifer shares.
As for Mob Wives, the show is still her baby despite Jennifer saying she plans to move into more scripted television. And Mob Wives aims to follow Big Ang and expand!
"We're thinking Philadelphia, Miami, Vegas" for new "Mob Wives" spinoffs," Jennifer gushed. "But my bigger goal now is to concentrate on the Mother Ship (the original)." The show will experience a "juggling of the cast" after Ramona Rizzo, Karen, and Carla Facciolo's departure, but won't reveal any other upcoming storylines.
The canceling of Mob Wives Chicago after its freshman season taught Jennifer a good lesson though.
"I think the Chicago women had a high bar to meet and I think they came out of the gate trying to prove themselves against the New York women," Jennifer says of what went wrong. "It may have been too early to expand the franchise." She also cites viewers had already "built their loyalty to New York" and weren't ready for the "slower lifestyle" of the Chicago girls.
Other than television, Jennifer plans to expand the Graziano family brand in other ways with a Graziano family cookbook coming out soon. How To Use A Meat Cleaver will be a "a very tongue-in-cheek look into the Graziano kitchen." It will also feature Renee and Jennifer's other sister Laura, who is a chef.
A Graziano food line and wine company is also in the works. "Restaurants are in our family for years so you can kind of say that's our legacy and we're expanding upon that," Jennifer explains.
Jennifer admits she's focusing on so many projects in preparation for the future and says that when the time comes to back away from reality TV and Mob Wives, she'll be ready. "Nothing lasts forever – not even 'The Sopranos,'" she acknowledges. "I would like to go out in the same way – on top. I don't want to overplay the stories and go too far."
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
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