Last night’s episode of the Real Trainwrecks of Beverly Hills contained a whole lotta drama that belongs on a different show. Lisa opened SUR, Kim had some sort of ongoing cray-cray with Ken, whom she is now leaving, and Taylor begged the ladies to love her in what I’m sure she believes is a good rendition of Sally Fields’ ‘You really like me…’ Oscar speech.
Things start off with Kyle getting ready for the SUR launch party with her eldest daughter Farrah. After chasing Portia around, Kyle lets a bored seeming Farrah know that Taylor has left Russell and that she and Kim are still fighting. Farrah wonders why Kyle hasn’t figured out how to manage her relationship with Kim already. Why is Farrah more mature than Kyle?
Meanwhile Lisa is putting the finishing touches on SUR and running around in a panic micromanaging every detail before ditching Ken to finish the job and blowing out the door without so much as a kiss. Poor Ken will have to wait until next year for a cuddle. Lisa needs to accept her life is on camera and not be embarrassed to show affection to her husband.
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Last night, Cedric was shown “crashing” the opening party of Lisa’s SUR restaurant in an attempt to make up with Lisa. Lisa ultimately refused to make up with him, instead asking Cedric to leave her party.
Today, Cedric is telling Reality Tea, via his rep, that he was invited to the party, while also making some interesting allegations about Lisa’s hubby Ken Todd, alleging their “loveless, sexless marriage” is on “lie support.”
Below is Cedric’s full statement to Reality Tea:
“As viewers have seen all season, and especially on last night’s overly scripted episode of Real Housewives,Lisa Vanderpump is a bitter, conniving woman who will do anything for fame (and a terrible actress)! She keeps saying what I “did” to her was “vicious” but she never really says what I allegedly did.
Well, let me tell you what she did: When Lisa discovered the truth about her husband’s prostitutes, affairs and love child, she made the choice to stay with a cheater so she could continue on her desperate quest for fame. Then she kicked me to the curb, filed a false police complaint and conspired with her friend, the Editor of Us Weekly to defame and slander me.
And you gotta give her credit. It’s worked, so far. She’s more famous than ever; her loveless, sexless marriage is still alive, albeit on life support; and I’ve been marginalized. But the truth is starting to leak out and soon everyone will know of her secret extramarital love affair and the truth about her vicious attacks on me.
What viewers didn’t see last night was the weeks of back-and-forth negotiations between my manager and [name removed], the Executive Producer of Real Housewives. Dave cleared my invite (and the “olive branch” script) with Lisa. In fact, they even discussed a possible spinoff starring Lisa and me, if, according to [name removed], everything went well at the Sur party.
As proof, I’ve asked my manager to release a few of the many emails between him and [name removed] (below).
Lisa has succeeded thus far in trashing my name and manipulating the other housewives. But the race is long and I’m confident that as the truth slowly comes out, the public will come to realize Lisa’s pretty facade hides a heartless, bitter, rotting core.
Thanks to my friends and fans who have stuck with me throughout this painful process. It’s been a rough year but with your help and support, I’ve landed on my feet and I know the best is yet to come!
P.S. SUR: Sexy Unique Restaurant? Really? WTF!”
Indeed, Cedric also supplied us with the emails exchanged between his manager and the executive producer of the series (we have decided to blur out their name).
The emails, posted below, gives us a good behind the scenes look at the way these shows are filmed. The RHOBH producer confirms the time Cedric will be arriving to Lisa’s party and states that while Lisa has been warned Cedric is coming to attempt to make up with her, the other housewives are not aware and will be genuinely surprised to see him.
To sum this up, it appears a producer for the show invited Cedric to Lisa’s party. Lisa was given a heads up, but her reaction to Cedric and his attempt to make up with her appear to have been genuine. This doesn’t come as a major surprise as the producers of these shows are always trying to stir things up for drama a.k.a adding the sister-in-law you hate to your cast, or adding your nemesis to the show only for the two of you to become friends. Hey, at least they’re not going into film studios in Hollywood to film fake scenes, months after the fact. Coughs the Kardashians coughs.
Written in July 2011, the emails also confirms that Lisa was/is indeed in talks with Bravo for her own spinoff. An excerpt from the email reads: “Lisa is in negotiations with Bravo for a potential spin-off that would focus on the staff at Sur. That deal has been in the works for a while. All along I’ve been saying that it’s too bad Lisa and Cedric had their falling out because Cedric would’ve been perfect fit for that project.”
Do I believe the Housewives series are fake? Absolutely not. I believe most of it is real (a.k.a. the drama between Kim and Kyle Richards) with some added manufactured drama (a.k.a. producers inviting Cedric to Lisa’s party). The housewives series is what I would call ‘Manufactured Drama’ while the Kardashians’ series is what I would call ‘Scripted Drama.’
[Photos Credit: WENN]
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON CEDRIC’S STATEMENT AND THE EMAILS?
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With the second season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills(finally) winding down, viewers still don’t know what to think about resident drama queen Taylor Armstrong. The lady who made an entire series revolve around her faux tears (are her tear ducts frozen from botox?!) is still leaving us perplexed months after filming ended and months after the unfortunate death of her estranged husband Russell Armstrong.
Taylor, who is said to be destroyed by Russell’s passing and working hard to rebuild her life as a stronger person, has been all over the place in the media giving interviews, selling books and giving a very interesting portrait of a woman in grief. In the latest, three conflicting reports give us three different versions of Taylor — really, who knows what to believe.
First up, from RadarOnline comes the story of Taylor, the abused wife, and more information about the time-frame for Monday’s episode. Next week viewers will see Lisa Vanderpump re-opening her revamped lounge SUR with a big party attended by all the ladies of the cast. Previews show Lisa questioning Taylor about a suspicious bruise near her eye and Taylor having yet another tearless, wailing breakdown over her marriage.
According to the new report, more than a month had lapsed between shooting because Taylor had been hospitalized after an alleged serious beating left her face terribly bruised. Taylor also confessed to having Lasik eye surgery in early July, while filming was still taking place. Taylor has stated Russell severely beat her following the surgery, dislocating her cornea which resulted in the hospitalization. The photos she released of the alleged beating stemmed from that incident.
“Taylor still was bruised when she was at the party. She admits on camera to the ladies that Russell had badly beaten her. This beating had taken place after she had told him their marriage was over,” an insider reveals.
“Taylor wanted to face the ladies, especially Camille Grammer, because Taylor felt that Kelsey’s ex-wife had put her in danger by telling the others that Russell had been violent with her in the past,” Taylor the insider adds.
Last week, viewers saw Taylor speaking to wannabe Housewife Dana Wilkey supposedly a few days after Russell moved out and days before next week’s episode was filmed. At that time Taylor did not appear to have any visible facial injuries.
According to this report Lisa postponed the reopening of SUR to accommodate Taylor’s healing because Bravo wanted to film the event. Which would mean all the ladies are acting on next week’s episode?!
“Taylor’s hospitalization threw a monkey wrench in Lisa’s bottom line. The restaurant had been ready to open, viewers will see Lisa frantically trying to get the restaurant open, but Bravo had told her they wanted to film the grand opening party, so they had to wait until Taylor was out of the hospital,” the source describes of Bravo’s decision to fabricate scenes.
“Taylor wanted to face all of the women in one place. She wanted and needed to have them see her with the bruise on her face. Taylor was in VERY heavy make-up that night.” SUR allegedly actually re-opened in early-September, which was almost a month after Russell’s death — Perhaps this was a special event party filmed expressly for Bravo, but it’s very interesting from a timing perspective.
Last week, Bravo filmed the season two reunion. Andy Cohen stated that Taylor “didn’t shed a tear” during filming, which left many viewers alarmed given the tumultuous season and all that has been exposed in the course of filming.
“Taylor didn’t cry at the reunion because she is such a stronger person now, and she is no longer a victim,” the source clarifies. “This was a tremendous accomplishment because of everything that she has been through, with Russell’s suicide, and Taylor’s issues with Camille and the other Housewives this season.”
Now, I’m not sure what I think of Taylor’s allegations just yet, but I’ll withhold complete judgment until viewing the remainder of the season and the reunion, where Taylor has promised all the “haters” will eat “crow.”
Moving on, in report two we see Taylor, the grifter mess in danger of being exposed, also from the RadarOnline. Radar has released photos of a drunk and hysterical Taylor being hauled out Craig’s — a Beverly Hills restaurant — by a friend on Thursday night.
“Judging by the way she was staggering she was very drunk. She couldn’t stand up without help and was being held up by her friend as she walked to the car. She looked absolutely wasted,” a witness reports. “She was obviously very emotional and distraught. When she got in the back of the car — with considerable help from her friend — she broke down in floods of tears.”
This is not the first time Taylor has been photographed completely intoxicated in recent months. When she was in NYC to film WWHL Taylor appeared completely out of it and looked a wreck. “She’s a total mess,” a friend reveals. “Her world was built on a fantasy house of cards that’s crashing down.”
“Taylor’s whole persona is false and with Russell’s death friends say that she’s afraid the jig is up and people are aware of what a phony she is,” the friend adds. Indeed, Taylor has been in court battling a lawsuit filed by MyMedicalRecords.com, a company Russell and her supposedly scammed.
“Every time I’ve been around her lately she drinks excessively, we’re all worried about how badly she seems to be doing,” the friend muses. Multiple reports have come forward questioning Taylor’s drinking habits and asserting that friends and family are so concerned they have encouraged Taylor to consider rehab. Taylor’s drinking was also a concern on the show when viewers watched her become intoxicated and out of control with rage and emotions on several episodes.
Finally, Taylor is moving on as photos of Taylor on the prowl on a date are below. Girl’s got bills to pay! Photogs spotted the grieving widow with a mystery man Thursday night — guess where!? Craig’s restaurant in Beverly Hills. Headed into the restaurant Taylor was a little steadier on her feet, but judging from the above information, I’m guessing a second date isn’t happening…
Taylor is seen walking with and then hugging the unnamed man. Photos of Taylor with her date are below!
[Photos Credit: WENN, SPW / Splash News]
THOUGHTS ON THE SHOCKING INFORMATION ABOUT THE FILMING SCHEDULE? WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE CONCERNING THE LATEST INFORMATION ON TAYLOR?
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The two were snapped as they dined at the popular Mr. Chows restaurant in Beverly Hills. The photo of Kim and Kathy is below. If you recall, Kim checked into rehab back in early December for what sources described as “alcohol addiction along with other substance abuse problems.” After spending about 40 days at the Betty Ford Clinic, Kim ultimately checked out early this week.
Meanwhile, Kyle Richards is making the rounds following the latest episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which featured another blow-out with her troubled sister Kim Richards. It seems these two will be going back and forth forever, long after the spotlight of Bravo cameras stops charting their every dispute.
Speaking to Extra, Kyle discussed her decision to go on RHOBH and answers what regrets she has about airing all of her sisterly grievances in the public spectrum. “It’s nothing like what I thought,” Kyle explains, “but we are having fun.”
As for those regrets, Kyle “of course” has some. “You know, last season the fight with my sister Kim, I regret that. But I don’t regret it as much as I regretted this season’s game night. I regretted that a lot more because that just wasn’t me. I wasn’t true to myself.”
“Season one, that was when I was dealing with my sister. A lot of people didn’t understand that and that is what I was feeling,” Kyle elaborates. As for why she is always in the middle of all the drama, “A lot of the Housewives will come to me when they have an issue,” Kyle claims, “so I’ve kind of been their sounding board a lot of the times.”
“Plus I’m not someone who can keep things to myself. If I’m thinking something or feeling something I have to get it off my chest. Which doesn’t always go over well,” she adds. We’ve noticed Kyle.
Giving an update on Kim’s life post-rehab, Kyle shared that Kim is doing “really well.” “She’s really strong right now, happy, she’s looking forward to moving on in her life.” Good for Kim! You can see the complete interview with Kyle in the video below!
Kyle also recently talked to Life & Style about her new house, which she calls her “dream home.” Kyle moved into the home at the beginning of this season and it was the site of the infamous White Party blockade starring Taylor Armstrong.
Located in exclusive Bel Air, the newly renovated seven-bedroom, eight-bath mansion has a screening room with personalized chairs, five fireplaces and a chandelier in every room. I guess Kyle’s hit the big leagues! “I love the sparkle in each room,” Kyle exclaims. Some photos of the new digs are below.
There’s no rest for the wicked, right Kyle? The reality star who is constantly in defense mode also appeared on Good Day LA. Kyle was asked about having the “narcissistic gall” to partake in a reality show and not expect criticism from the Internet. Kyle relented that she does “expect” to hear negative comments about her life, but it’s still “hurtful”
“I think that sometimes people see me as someone that I’m not and that’s what hurts,” Kyle clarified. Additionally, Kyle reveals that she “absolutely” regrets putting her personal life on TV for public consumption! While Kyle makes it perfectly clear she knew her privacy would be invaded when she signed up to do the show, she wasn’t prepared for constant scrutiny from fans and the media.
“Just with a reality show there’s a lot of negativity sometimes… people dissecting my relationship with my sister Kim and thinking they know exactly what’s going on between us after only two seasons, when in reality its decades in the making.” I totally agree with Kyle’s statement. Family relationships — particularly ones with addiction involved — are incredibly complex and probably not a good thing to be airing on national television.
Kyle is planning to take a break from putting her real life on screen, instead letting her faux life take center stage because she is turning her story into a sitcom!
Kyle’s new sitcom is based upon her recently published book, Life Is Not A Reality Show. Of the new sitcom, Kyle tells the Associated Press, “I just sold a pilot, a half-hour sitcom. I can’t say which network, but it’s about my life. It’s basically my life being a juggling mom, wife and being on a reality show.”
And Kyle isn’t planning to star in the show (surprisingly), but wants somebody that’s “really funny and could capture the humor of being a mom and all the humor that comes with being on a reality show,” to play her. “Maybe Jennifer Aniston or Jenny McCarthy,” she suggests. I can only imagine who will play the role of kooky Kim!
Moving on to another RHOBH star with a life that’s crazier than fiction, Camille Grammeris giving her opinion on this season’s storyline and discussing her never-ending divorce from Kelsey Grammer!
Camille appeared on the Today Show where she talked about Bravo’s decision to air Russell Armstrong‘s storyline following his tragic suicide. “[Bravo] did a responsible job, ultimately, in the end,” Camille asserted. “In the beginning, I wasn’t sure we should air season two, but that’s not my decision to make.”
“I have no say whatsoever,” Camille revealed of her input in Bravo’s reasoning behind continuing with the season. “I was against it, but then after talking with the cast and producers, if we can bring awareness to anyone who’s gone through that and help people it was important to us.”
“At the end of the day we’re all there for each other,” she said of her relationship to her castmates. While Camille was fairly tight-lipped about revealing how things are with Taylor, she says Taylor seems “happier” lately and has “put on some weight.”
[Photos Credit: WENN.com]
THOUGHTS ON KYLE’S COMMENTS ABOUT THE SHOW AND HER SISTER? WOULD YOU WATCH KYLE’S NEW SITCOM? ARE YOU SURPRISED CAMILLE ADMITTED SHE DIDN’T WANT BRAVO TO AIR FOOTAGE OF RUSSELL?
Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was fun except for the KimKyle-nanigans – that’s shenanigans by Kim and Kyle, if you can’t decipher the lingo. Kim, in addition to looking a hot mess and appearing hung over the entire trip also had Kyle taking every opportunity to argue with her; those two again managed to be completely inconsiderate to everyone, but luckily it ruined only Kyle’s good time.
Things start out on a high note with Adrienne and Paul hiking and holding hands. Double take! I love Paul in middle-aged tourist gear. All he needs is a fannypack to go with Adrienne’s “Visit The Palms, I need the money!” visor.
Kim finally arrives in Lanai! As for being late, “Oops” is all she has to say for herself. Kim is so excited to finally be there and unluckily gets placed in a room right next to Kyle. A frantic Kyle hears Kim’s voice and ignores Mauricio and margaritas(!) to eavesdrop on Kim. In the talking head, Kim states: “I chose to not *coke sniff* to talk to Kyle.” Nice.
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UsWeekly broke the news moments ago with a source telling the mag “Kim is doing well.” If you recall, Kim tried to leave rehab about two weeks ago, before the end of her 30 day stay, but the 47-year-old was ultimately convinced to stay. UsWeekly also reported back then that Kim was being “defiant” in rehab.
RadarOnline is also confirming the news. “Kim is out of rehab and staying in a hotel in Beverly Hills,” a source reveals. Kim’s sister Kyle Richards came out last week denying reports which stated Kim would be moving in with her after rehab.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise as Kim was supposed to stay at the Betty Ford Center until February. Kim’s early exit means she spent about 40 days or less in rehab. Perhaps it’s just me but Kim’s problems looked pretty severe on the show and I can’t help but wonder if 40 days was really enough to help kick her addiction issues. Here’s to hoping it was.
Moving on to the RHOBH reunion which was filmed last Thursday. It is being confirmed by the Wetpaint blog that Kim was indeed absent from the reunion. “Her presence was missed,” a show insider tells Wetpaint. “But that’s okay. Her recovery takes priority over the show and everyone is happy she’s getting the help she needs.”
Other reunion secrets revealed includes the fact that taping took all day. “They didn’t get out until just before 9 p.m.,” says the insider. “It was their longest reunion taping yet.” And yes Brandi Glanville and Dana Wilkey were both in attendance. However, the insider states that Bravo was very upset with Brandi over her publicity stunt/Las Vegas wedding last weekend and took out a little revenge on her.
“Brandi was told to come really, really early,” the insider tells Wetpaint. “She arrived way before anyone else in the cast. Then, the producers just made her sit there and wait. She waited for hours. I think it was their way of messing with her.”
Also, Bravo did not shy away fromRussell Armstrong’s suicide according to the report. “Each of the women was asked if they wanted to say anything about it,” reveals the insider. “Most of them shared their own thoughts.”
So can we expect some fireworks from the reunion? According to RadarOnline, that answer is NO. Bummer! “All of the main issues were addressed during the taping,” the source said. “But other than Brandi yelling there weren’t any huge fights.” The source adds, “Brandi was out of control… She was swearing at the other women and being obnoxious.”
Andy Cohen spoke out on the reunion and Taylor Armstrongin a new interview with ET Online. According to Andy, Taylor “didn’t shed a tear” at the reunion taping. “She is coming from a place of strength and recovery now,” he adds.
Andy also denies Bravo is to blame for Russell’s suicide stating he believes “personal and financial crisis” and a change in his medications contributed to his demise. Andy brings up a valid point when he cites that Russell’s business partner also took his own life.
“This was a man who signed up to be on a second season of a show,” Andy said in defense of the RHOBH. “This was a man that had expressed to producers that the first season of the show was very good for his business.”
The RHOBH season 2 finale will air on January 23, and the reunion will air January 30. There’s no word yet on whether this will be a one or two part reunion.
Moving on to tonight’s all the new episode of the RHOBH. On the 18th episode this season titled ‘A Day Late, An Apology Short,’ “Kim and her new beau finally arrive in Hawaii. Yet there’s trouble in paradise: They miss most of the activities and Kyle at long last confronts her sister about her bizarre behavior.”
The episode airs at 9/8c and a preview clip is below!
TELL US – THOUGHTS ON KIM LEAVING REHAB EARLY? PLUS THOUGHTS ON THE REUNION DETAILS AND ANDY COHEN’S COMMENTS?
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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.
On last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hillsa little bit fun and fancy came back to us as the ladies sans Taylor embarked on a trip to Hawaii. Luckily, Loony Lips’ drama wasn’t far behind as she called mid-beach to let everyone know she had ditched her hubs for greener pastures. Hey, I heard Mohammed is single! What about that Martin? Kim also missed the show, but Brandi was there in her stead and ready for a full-frontal close-up! That was some bikini!
Things begin as The White Party rages on! Moments after Kyle and co. have kicked Taylor and Russell out for threatening to sue Camille, the ladies reconvene in the all-white living room to break down the situation again for the umpteenth time. Is she or isn’t she? Lying that is! No one seems to know what to believe. Even Taylor’s BFF is pretty mute about the situation. Adrienne is still pretty pissed that Taylor involved the ladies in all this mess — which I’m pretty sure she thinks is nonsense. Only Dana readily believes her BFFL. Hey girl wants to stay on RHOBH!
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