Hi RT readers! Introducing our newest writer Maria Diaz to you all today! Some of you might be familiar with Maria as she has been blogging about Bravo shows for a while now. You will be able to read more about Maria tomorrow when we publish her bio! Please give her a great RT welcome! Thanks – RT
Our long national nightmare may be coming to an end; Us Weekly reports this weekend that Bethenny Ever After, former housewife and current Skinnygirl mogul Bethenny Frankel‘s hit reality show, will be coming to an end after its third season premieres on February 20.
Before you put your monogrammed tinfoil hats on and blame this on Jill Zarin, do not fear: the source tells Us Weekly that this was a decision Bethenny came to on her own, wanting to end the show on a “high note” and instead she “is going to concentrate on her many business ventures.”
“The door is open for other projects with Bravo,” the source adds. “But as far as Bethenny Ever After goes, she feels that ending the show on a high note and ending it after this season would be best for her family. She doesn’t want her [20-month-old] daughter [Bryn] to grow up on TV.”
This was a year of almost endless bad press for Bethenny, who for a while seemed virtually untouchable, as viewers watched her go from the sad singleton begging her detached boyfriend to move in with her on Real Housewives of New York City’sfirst season, to happily married, with a baby and a fat bank account after she successfully sold her line of Skinnygirl cocktails to Jim Beam for a highly disputed amount of money. However, then came some lawsuits, an accusation that she faked being lost at sea for her reality show and lastly her talk show got dropped.
In any case, if there’s one thing Bethenny is good at it’s spinning just about anything in her favor (it’s why they pay her the big bucks!) and she did just that at this weekend’s Television Critics Association press junket (this is when the networks roll out previews of all the new shows, along with forcing the actors and other stars to talk to an army of members of the media).
She says all the stories are just making her stronger and it’s a testament to just how popular she is, telling E! Online: “I’m also a little bit flattered because it means I must’ve really made something out of myself, because there are that many that that want to tear me down. A lot of people want to tear me down, and if I were them, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.”
Bethenny also spoke out about her former BFF Jill Zarin. When asked if she had any advice for the now fired Jill, she stated, “Jill Zarin is definitely a survivor. She is definitely well-to-do and I don’t think she’s worried about finding a job.”
Bethenny doesn’t end there going on to give Jill a not so subtle diss. “She was on the show for years, and in many of the cities people are only on for one or two seasons,” Bethenny explains. “It just happens that they make it a little fresher. I’m sure she’ll find exactly what she’s looking for. It probably just stings a little bit. It’s a little bit difficult. She has her own way of dealing with it. I’m sure it’s difficult for her a little bit to watch what’s going on with me. Maybe if I were in her position, that’d be difficult for me, too. She handles it the way she knows how.”
As for what we can expect on the third and reportedly final season of her reality show, Bethenny states we will get to see some marital issues between her and hubby Jason Hoppy. Though she says her marriage has “amazing ups,” it also has struggles: “I just turned 41, and I unintentionally crammed everything in,” said Bethenny. “I got pregnant, I got married, I sold part of my business, and now we’re settling into what married life really is.”
Bethenny notes that she’s still “in therapy,” and despite problems between Jason and herself, she did not request that the cameras be turned off. “We’re going there,” she added.
Regarding her future on Bravo, they are naturally tight-lipped about whether or not the third season of BEA will be her last (I’d like to suggest a follow-up entitled Everybody Hates Bethenny, where she will just deal with all her haters) and the network tells Us Weekly that: “They haven’t even finished shooting this season so no decision has been made about another one yet.”
Whatever the decision is, love her or hate her, no doubt folks will be watching Bethenny, whether to laugh, cry or just speculate on how much plastic surgery she’s truly had done.
[Photo Credit: WENN]
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON BETHENNY CHOOSING TO END HER SHOW? SMART? ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT SEASON 3? THOUGHTS ON HER COMMENTS ABOUT JILL & HER MARRIAGE?
I think it’s fair to say that the Real Housewives franchise has changed television. The intensely popular shows that prove to us that anyone can be a trashy trainwreck — regardless of marriage partner, pedigree or income bracket — have become one of the most discussed and hotly debated things on television. Indeed, the shows have become a must watch for millions of people worldwide captivating real housewives and celebrities alike. Even Oprah admits to watching!
The real question is — Why? Why are we so drawn to the dysfunction, the orchestrated drama and the opportunity to observe women embarrass themselves and ruin their lives on national television? The even bigger question is: How much of this is reality at all?
The Hollywood Reporter set out to answer just those questions in an in-depth investigation into “the guiltiest pleasure on television” which is worth an estimated half-billion dollars to the NBC-Universal network. Putting together a group of ladies they refer to as the Housewives All-Stars (their version – not mine), the legendary entertainment magazine interviewed producers, insiders, Andy Cohen and the ladies themselves to figure out just why we watch and why the women participate.
“People want to watch rich girls behaving badly,” explains Linda Ong, president of brand strategy adviser Truth Consulting. “The franchise started as a real-life Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous but became this cultural analysis after the economic breakdown. Every town became a sociological experiment, a very real-time reflection of what was happening to the 1 percent.”
“We wanted something very authentic and they started to film something Curb Your Enthusiasm-esque,” Frances Berwick, president of Bravo and Style Media, explains of how Real Housewives of Orange Countywas developed. “It required a whole revision, so we came to a point where we had to decide whether to sink more money into it or just pull the plug.” Obviously money was sunk.
Housewives was originally supposed to be a film — a real documentary — of the gated community where RHOC is filmed. Entrepreneur Scott Dunlap set out to capture the lives of rich women in the affluent suburb of LA after observing his friends while attending a dinner party in the exclusive Coto community. “Everyone was sitting around the table, the ladies blinged-out, talking about family vacations to Tuscany and all bloviating the same thing: ‘Our life is perfect,’ ” he remembers.
The film never got made, but a decade later Scott eventually turned the idea into a reality show and it became a surprise hit in its very first season. Berwick, who had just green lit the surprisingly successful Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, was in good graces with the network and they decided to take a gamble on the Housewives show with her encouragement.
After reshooting the first few episodes and an “incredibly, incredibly long edit,” the show finally went on the air. “It was an experiment,” a network insider concedes. “They weren’t envisioning this huge franchise; the network was just trying to depict a lifestyle. They didn’t put a lot of advertising or money into it at first.” Shockingly, the show took off with the difficult to reach 30-something viewers the network coveted. Viewers who were still young, hip, and influential, but who had money, education, and technical know-how.
The network immediately signed on for a second season, but decided to hire drama based veteran reality producer Doug Ross who has helmed shows such as Fear Factor and Big Brother.“Scott did a great job at identifying killer cast members,” Ross explains “but the network thought with the help of some ‘grown-ups’ this thing could really blossom.”
Bravo had been working on a show called Manhattan Moms, which was the inception for Real Housewives of New York. The series was originally supposed to be about wealthy NYC moms trying to get their children into ultra elite private schools. With RHOC bringing in ratings Manhattan Moms quickly transformed into RHONY. It was at that point that Zalanick decided to turn Housewives into a franchise. Since most of the season had already been filmed the network and it’s production company, Shed Media, decided to simply go with the footage they had.
The network didn’t even tell the cast members (then Jill Zarin, LuAnn de Lesseps, Alex McCord, and Ramona Singer) about concept change. “We went to check out the artwork on the computer and it said Real Housewives of New York City,” Jill describes. “At first we were a little disappointed, to be honest.” How Bethenny Frankel was added I don’t know, but it was her vision to use the show to promote her business that changed the format completely. Thanks B — because of you we have the Bravo Home Shopping Network!
After the first season success of RHONY, Real Housewives of Atlanta and Real Housewives of New Jersey cropped up shortly thereafter. “Bravo unwittingly had stumbled upon television’s next guilty pleasure: a vehicle that showcased the lives of a handful of spoiled, consistently imperfect women whose only real distinction was the city in which they reside — and their unerring ability to behave badly.” With the premiere of RHONJ (now arguably the most hotly contested of the franchise) Bravo was able to capture more than just the 30-something audience and gained fans across all age ranges — including men and older viewers.
And casting is at the nexus of the franchise’s success. Bravo has shown a ruthless ability to let go of stars that no longer agree with their vision — hence the firing of four members of RHONY including original cast members Jill and Alex. They also seem to have an innate ability to locate women whose propensity for drama will result in big ratings. Teresa Giudice, anyone? And to keep the perspectives fresh, Bravo regularly adds new Housewives into the mix.
The real shocker (or perhaps not so real shocker to regular viewers) is the requirement for the women to craft their own storylines. “We started meeting with producers to discuss storylines,” former Housewife Peggy Tanous reveals. “I started getting anxiety thinking about all the forced drama that does happen on occasion.”
Peggy starred in one season of RHOC which featured a season finale argument with her former close friend (and the woman who got her scouted for the show) Alexis Bellino. Peggy has cited the end of this friendship and the contrived storylines as her reason for deciding not to sign on for a season two. While that may be the case, shortly after Peggy resigned (or was let go), news surfaced of her family’s financial distress.
Doug Ross contends that the producers in no way stage scenes or fabricate drama, “The audience could sniff that a mile away, so why even bother?” Although he does admit that the women are expected to plan events expressly for filming purposes.
Shed Media’s Maureen O’Connell agrees, “Honestly, sometimes I wish they would do what I tell them. I wish I had that kind of puppeteering power. But it’s the women who ultimately drive the train.” The responsibility of keeping the drama alive is an important one because drama = popularity with fans (sometimes) = ratings = maintaining their position in the cast roster and well, their paycheck.
But are they taking it too far? Since the franchise’s inception it’s bared witness to countless financial crisis (foreclosures, bankruptcy, tax evasion, etc), the destruction of friendships, arrest, divorce, murder (Kandi Burruss‘ fiance was in a fight, resulting in his death, outside an Atlanta strip club in 2009), alcoholism, family strife and now domestic abuse and suicide. Yet — the women and the viewers keep coming back.
On the converse, the cameras have also captured the good: friendships, marriage, love, pregnancy, incredible financial gains and business opportunity. Andy thinks the network is more than conscientious of the colorful cast of characters that pay his bills and garnered him his own TV fame in the form of Watch What Happens Live. “I have a deep responsibility to the women,” Andy insists. “And I take that very seriously.”
Some disagree. It was the suicide of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast mate Taylor Armstrong‘s estranged husband Russell Armstrong this past summer that caused fans, viewers and the media to question just what the reality of filming the show entailed. Particularly after reports surfaced that Bravo and NBC may have encouraged Taylor to file for divorce from Russell to remain on the show.
Bravo and Andy had questioned whether or not to air the footage from this past season featuring Russell and there was news of re-editing to present a softer storyline. Obviously that did not happen. “We talked endlessly,” Andy acknowledges. “In the end, we decided to capture what happened as sensitively as we could.” It seems that ultimately the network has decided not to feature Russell’s death in the storyline. The season ends Jan 23rd and no mention of it has been made.
Defending his position — and the network’s — Andy reminds viewers that the women agree to participate and the producers are not responsible for the issues that arise during filming. “Look, this franchise is a documentation of a period in these people’s lives. All of these women have stories to tell and some are dealing with some really serious issues.”
Despite the bad taste such episodes have left in viewers mouths the ratings continue to grow (the season premiere episode of RHOBH was up 42% from the series first season premiere) and show no signs of slowing down. It is Bravo’s ability to bring the constant and unexpected drama — a White House crashing, a huge family blow out at a Christening — that keeps viewers unable to look away, not knowing what there is to expect next.
Additionally, it is the women themselves that keep the drama happening and their decisions to return season after season, year after year. The reason is likely money. Jill even recently admitted that she was sad to be off the show because of the paycheck it generated.
And just how much money do the women make to expose their lives to the non-stop drama? A Lot. A lot, a lot. Particularly given the opportunity to develop their own brands — which is encouraged — and have the ability and support to promote these brands on the show which reaches huge audiences. All earnings from which the network takes a percentage of.
“Combined, the Housewives have published more than a dozen books; received product deals from makeup and jewelry to sex toys and alcohol; average well over 100,000 Twitter followers (Atlanta‘s Leakes has nearly 600,000); and receive an approximate six-figure salary each season (the New York cast is drawing a $250,000 payday for season five) — not movie-star money, but steady income for people arguably of limited talent.”
The desire for that success and the monetary wealth that comes with it is sometimes all-consuming. At this particular behind the scenes shoot, Housewives All Star Pinot Singer spent the whole afternoon hawking her pinot grigio line, advertising it to anyone who would listen and scaring off her fellow Housewives. I think it’s fair to say Ramona has a one-track mind.
Ramona was brought to the attention of producers by her then friend Jill, but she wasn’t interested. “By age 39, I already had $1 million cash in the bank,” Ramona dishes, grabbing a bottle of what else? – Pinot! “I said, ‘I’m sorry, but no thank you. I don’t have time. I don’t need to be famous.’ ” She gave it a second thought after the producers convinced her it would be a good platform for her business, True Faith Jewelry. And after five years on the successful series and the development of her own Pinot, Ramona is hoping to follow in Bethenny’s footsteps and nab her own spin off. Seriously? No.
“I’m already thinking ahead,” Ramona reveals. “Initially I thought I wanted to do something like [advertising executive and TV host] Donnie Deutsch and actually visit companies looking for help. I can’t just sit on a couch.” I’m guessing that means she wants to try a Tabatha Coffeyapproach…
Not all the drama is caught on camera – backstage at THR’s exclusive photoshoot with the RHOBH’s Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards were overheard talking. “One of the girls asked me what I think of Brandi [Glanville],” Lisa whispers loudly to Kyle, while Brandi sits alone pretending to ignore them. “And I said, ‘Who?’ ” Then the two friends burst into laughter. Yeah, Brandi doesn’t fit in – that’s obvious, but why so mean ladies? I expect more from Lisa.
Andy insists the show has no malicious intent, and after all the characters drive the storyline. And the viewers are obviously liking what they see since they return season after season. “It’s good, clean fun,” he asserts. “Its like eating a bowl of no-cal popcorn; guilt-free gossip. You can watch it, you can talk about it with your friends and, at the end of the day, you can feel better about yourself and your life.” Right… I’m not sure I agree.
Oh dear or should a say, Oh mon dieu! It appears that the Real Housewives franchise will soon be on French soil.
E! News is officially reporting that Bravo and NBC-Universal are in the process of casting a French version of the drama filled reality show.
Housewives has been popular with overseas audiences for a while, so I suppose wanting to strike while the iron is hot Bravo decided to take the franchise abroad to terrorize another country with bickering be-plastic surgeried perpetually adolescent middled-aged women. Oh lucky you France – first McDonald’s now Housewives!
Apparently, France is just the beginning of Andy Cohen‘s world domination as the network is hoping to invade several countries across the globe, bringing us Housewives of Australia, the U.K., Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. And for those confused about how it’s all going to work Real Housewives of Athens has been on the air for a season already and is currently filming for it’s second season! How have we not heard about this? Photos of the first ladies of Greece are below!
Even more surprising Real Housewives of Israel and Real Housewives of Vancouver are currently in production with the Vancouver installment premiering later this year!
So, I guess it’s safe to assume that women all over the world are willing to act a little cray-cray for some C-List celeb and a few bucks. I wonder if the international versions will be as vitriolic as their American counterparts? I also wonder if WWHLis planning to go global as well; or if these ladies are producing singles, cocktails and products left and right? So many questions…
I also wonder if US viewers will be able to experience subtitled versions of the shows on domestic soil? I mean, just in case you haven’t gotten your fill with the six franchises already running all year round!
[Photo Credit: Adriana M. Barraza / WENN.com]
ARE YOU SURPRISED TO LEARN REAL HOUSEWIVES HAS GONE GLOBAL? WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN WATCHING INTERNATIONAL VERSIONS OF THE SHOW?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE PHOTOS OF THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATHENS!
Following last week’s dramatic premiere, the latest episode of Basketball Wiveswas more on the mellow end, or more accurately the calm before the storm. This week, we discover Suzie has no back bone, Meeka is might be two-faced, Tami is NOT a fan of the hand or Meeka, Jennifer wants to get her groove back, Evelyn’s solution to every problem is to get laid (preferably to a younger bloke), and also Shaunie has no storyline this season!
The episode begins with Jennifer and Tami catching up at Jen’s place, as Jennifer takes a break from being Evelyn’s shadow. Though I’m a tad surprised to see her breaking bread with Evelyn’s enemy. Tami brings up the t-shirt and lawsuit drama, while Jen tries to stay neutral on the issue.
Circle outcasts Royce and Suzie meet up to gossip grab a bite. The topic of convo is Jen’s ex Eric and Royce reveals she still keeps in touch with him via the twitter and it shouldn’t be a problem for Jen. The topic then turns to Evelyn and Royce wastes no time in trashing her. “I can change my hair. I can change my clothes. But she can’t change the fact that she’s a ho.” Ouch! When it comes to Jennifer, Royce and Suzie agree that she is “cool” when she’s not stuck up Evelyn’s butt. Err the jury is still out on that one.
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO READ THE REST!
It’s a confrontations galore as the housewives hash things out with one another. At one point, Tamra Barney walks off the stage after getting into it with Slade Smileywho accuses her of being er let’s say ‘loose.’ “You are the lowest form of sh*t in the world,” says Tamra before storming off. Yes Slade was present at the reunion as he was the only guy invited to join the ladies on stage.
Vicki Gunvalson’s estranged husbandDonn Gunvalson also appears on the reunion via a taped clip. In the video, Donn is none too happy with Vicki. “I don’t think the way this went down was treated with class or dignity,” says Donn.
The biggest showdown seems to be between Tamra and Gretchen Rossi. Tamra slams Gretchen, accusing her once again of cheating on her dying fiance Jeff Beitzel. “You were sleeping with another guy while your fiancé was dying,” she says to Gretchen.
Gretchen retorts, “No I wasn’t Tamra. Stop talking out your *ss about everybody’s lives.”
Also, Alexis and Peggy get into it over Jim (Peggy used to date Jim), Vicki gets into it with Alexis, while Jeana Keough makes an appearance.
The reunion will air in two parts with part 1 airing on June 12. The preview clip is below
Reality Tea can now report that sisters Caroline Manzo and Dina Manzo don’t appear to be on good terms. Whispers of a drift first began to arise as the two sisters have yet to be photographed together in months. In fact, the last picture we could find of them together dates back to last September.
The whispers grew louder as Caroline and the NJ Housewives hosted a premiere party at the Brownstone weeks ago, with Teresa hosting a separate party for herself. Dina chose to attend Teresa’s party. Dina also hosted an event for her Lady Bug charity on May 23 at The Brownstone (Dina’s husband Tommy Manzo is a co-owner with Caroline’s husband Albert Manzo), and while Teresa attended Dina’s event and was photographed with her, Caroline who was at the event with daughter Lauren, did not appear in any press photos (wireimages/gettyimages) with Dina.
And in Teresa’s Bravo blog this week, she alludes to Caroline having a feud with a sibling though she doesn’t mention Dina by name. Excerpts below -
“There are many parts of our lives that you don’t see. This episode you didn’t see my girls at all! You don’t see a lot of other people that are in all of our lives. You dont see Caroline’s other brothers and sisters and their family dynamic, for better or worse… Everyone keeps asking about my friendship with Caroline and Jacqueline. There is no feud. We all love each other. But as Caroline pointed out this week, we aren’t each other’s only friends. Jacqueline and I are very close, Dina and I are too. Caroline, while I’ve known her for years, is their big sister. I love her and I respect her, but she was never part of our group outside of family functions… I’m not the type of person to tell you how to live your life, because who am I to judge? I’m not perfect, and if I gave you advice on how to fix your problem when I have the same problem I can’t fix, it just doesn’t seem right.“
We did a little more digging and came across a recent post by the Reality Crack House blog this week in which a NJ Housewives insider reveals that the two sisters are indeed no longer on good terms. “They don’t speak, they haven’t for a while,” said the insider.
The final nail in the coffin? As of our last check yesterday (Wednesday) night, the two sisters are no longer following each other on twitter. Dina no longer follows Caroline, and a look at Caroline’s list of the 241 people she follows does not include her baby sister Dina. The two were in fact following each other at one point.
Teresa does seem to make a valid point (no hell has yet to freeze over) as it does appear a bit hypocritical for Caroline to be overly assertive in advising Teresa on her family feud with brother Joe Gorga, when she seems to have the same exact issue with her own younger sister. No word yet on what caused the rift between the two sisters.
Photo credit – WENN.
TELL US – ARE YOU SURPRISED CAROLINE & DINA ARE NOT TALKING? DO YOU THINK CAROLINE IS HYPOCRITICAL FOR ADVISING TERESA ON HER FAMILY FEUD?
UPDATE – Caroline tweeted the photo below of her and Dina from the Lady Bug event with the caption,”I hate viscous people. Sorry to disappoint.” No word yet on why she no longer follows Dina on twitter despite following Teresa, Jacqueline and even newbie Melissa.
Once again, the ending for the Bachelor/Bachelorette series has been revealed early on in the season.
Bachelor insider Reality Steve has done it again, revealing Ashley Hebert’s final four and most importantly her final pick! And it seems Ashley found love as she is engaged to one of the men from the show.
Though he had Brad Womack’s final two picks mixed up last season, Reality Steve assures us his spoilers are 100% accurate this season. We will find out on August 1 when ABC airs the finale.
Do not read any further if you do not want to know the ending. If you do, the spoilers are below!
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON FOR ALL THE SPOILERS!
Above is a photo of the two dancers kissing at the Moon nightclub at the Palms on Saturday. At first the photos (which have since been removed from the club’s website) flew under the radar as the kissing was actually taking place in the background of a pic.
However twitter user @DWTS_Gossipnoticed the action going on in the background of some of the pics. In other pics posted below, hotness Maksim can be seen holding Cheryl close while grabbing her hair.
Fast forward to today and Maksim and his reps are in damage control mode, denying he and Cheryl were kissing. According to the rep, Maksim “was merely whispering in a fan’s ear in a loud nightclub.” Albeit a fan who happened to be wearing the same exact dress as Cheryl with the same exact hair style.
But there is good reason for the damage control. Why you ask? Well Maksim is currently starring on the Ukraine version of The Bachelor (oddly enough the finale episode airs tonight in the country) and is under a strict contract which forbids him from, you know, making out in public with women who are not his finalists on the show.
This would be equivalent to Brad Womack getting photographed making out with a random woman the same week his final pick episode was scheduled to air on ABC. Fans of the show are said to be upset.
As for Maksim and Cheryl, the two have been romantically linked in the past as they reportedly briefly dated a few years back. The two deny there is any romance going on today so perhaps it was just an alcohol fueled make-out session. In the past, Maksim was previously engaged to DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff while Cheryl admitted earlier this year that she did have a fling with her former dance partner Chad Ochocinco.
TELL US – YOU BUYING WHAT MAKSIM’S REP IS SELLING?
CLICK THE CONTINUE READING BUTTON TO SEE MORE PHOTOS!