Penny Drossos Karagiorgis Tapes Scene with Joe and Melissa Gorga; Joe Gorga Defends Melissa Against Cheating Allegations; Teresa Giudice Calls Truce with Melissa Gorga; Joe and Teresa Giudice Double Date with Chris and Jacqueline Laurita (Updated 3/4/2013)
@JohnnyTheGrk say it aint so.. You and ur wife are now team melissa and joe
John Karagiorgis @JohnnyTheGrk
@angelacalce80 It Ain’t So!!!
2:33 p.m. – Mar 3, 2013
On February 28, 2013, Joe and Melissa were photographed having a conversation with Penny Drossos, which suggested a reconciliation was in progress. In the photo above from Bergen.com, Penny is seen talking to the Gorgas at Chakra in Paramus. According to Bergen.com, “Melissa Gorga and her husband Joe Gorga stopped by with a few friends while filming a scene for the upcoming season of RHONJ.” [Click here for more photos from the event.]
A source told Fame-Whorgas that during the Bravo-arranged meeting Penny had with Joe and Melissa Gorga at Chakra in Paramus on February 28, 2013, Joe and Melissa were making accusations against Teresa in an attempt to get Penny to say that Teresa was complicit in arranging the phone call at the Holiday Posche Fashion on December 3, 2012, the call where a friend of Penny’s tells Teresa that he witnessed Melissa cheating on Joe Gorga. According to my source, Joe and Melissa told Penny that Teresa is calling her a stalker, and Penny, trying to protect Teresa while also defending herself against the accusations, took out her cell phone to show Joe that she has Teresa’s home phone number, cell number and text messages between them – Penny’s husband John communicated via text with Teresa during her run on the Celebrity Apprentice because he made a donation, and Teresa and Penny would communicate via text about event schedules and invitations. In addition, my source said Penny told Joe and Melissa that she’ll have to take up the accusations with Teressa; and, based on hearsay on Twitter, “it’s deemed accurate that Teresa called her a stalker, and Penny won’t stand for false accusations.”
Also, in a conversation that Penny had with Teresa about a week earlier, on February 18 at the Milania Hair Care launch party, Teresa asked Penny in front of Joe and Melissa, “Are we friends?” to which Penny replied, “We are cordial.” Teresa asked her what she meant, and Penny explained that they don’t go to each others homes, etc. and added, “We are acquaintances.” Teresa responded by saying, “Like when you come to my events,” and Penny interrupted her and said, “No, Teresa, when I come to the events you invite me to.” It seems that Teresa was trying to prove to Joe and Melissa that she was not speaking to Penny other than at the events Penny attended for season 5 but, according to my source, it can be proven that Teresa is misleading Joe and Melissa as well as others.
On February 27, 2013, Life & Style reported, exclusively, that Joe Gorga is defending his wife against the cheating allegations. About Byran ‘Bulldog’ Bowen,’ the magazine reports that Joe said: “Ha, ha, ha” and explained, “If there were skeletons in my closet I would never have gone on the show.” He also told Life & Style: “The poor girl keeps getting all this abuse for no reason. They find a good mom with a good image, and it’s like, ‘How can we take her down’?” [It is odd that he said "my" closet instead of "my wife's closet" since the cheating rumors are about her, not him.]
On February 28, 2013, Starcasm reported that Teresa Guidice and Melissa Gorga called a truce and that Joe Gorga is ready to move on too. Teresa was quoted as saying: “Everything is good” and “you have to let things go.” According to their source: “The two attended a cast retreat in Lake George, NY were they hashed things out and agreed to put the past in the past for the sake of their family — especially their children.” [The cast trip to Lake George was February 10-12, 2013 — click here for the season 5 shooting schedule.]
However, on February 15, 2013, just days after the cast returned from their trip to Lake George where they supposedly worked out their differences, Melissa retweeted the RumorFix article that blamed Teresa for Melissa’s cheating scandal:
Furthermore, the February 28th Starcasm story contradicts a story by RumorFix on February 20, 2013. Acccording to RumorFix, they spoke exclusively to Joe Gorga, who said: “It’s a dirty situation right now.” He also said the women agreed to do another season of RHONJ together, but “they are not in a good place.” Joe stated that fans will see pictures of Melissa and Teresa posing together, but they are only doing photo ops for the show. “We’re family,” an emotional Joe told RumorFix. “She’s my blood, my sister … My heart is always open for her. When she’s really ready, without any of the bulls**t, I’m waiting for her.”
On a related topic, according to RadarOnline, Teresa and Joe Giudice recently double dated with Jacqueline and Chris Laurita, but it may all have been for show since it was taped by Bravo. Their source said: “Teresa knows what makes for good TV, and that is fighting. She’s been trying to get more people to be friendlier to her this season, but she knows she has to bring the drama for the ratings, and she’s definitely planning on doing that this season.”
Giudices Distance Themselves from Penny and John Karagiorgis; Giudices and Gorgas Present a United Front at Teresa’s Milania Hair Care Launch Party
Starting February 4, 2013, Pete Giudice and some of Teresa Giudice’s fans started tweeting @QueenzOfMedia (QOM), a known “enemy” of the Giudices and a big supporter of Melissa and her clan. It was also at this time that Teresa started following QOM on Twitter.
On February 5, 2013, FW was alerted that QOM was asking around on Twitter about who “Fame” is. Then on February 28, 2013, QOM commented for the first time on FW, threatening to have WordPress take down my blogs (particularly, the one where John Karagiorgis backs up Pete Giudice on Twitter). Plus, QOM made sure to let me know that they had “developed a friendly relationship with the Giudice family and personal friends.”
“@bulldog_nj and one more sincere comment, ask yourself why the Giudices have distanced themselves from @johnnythegrk …think about it.” – Skylar & Grace (@QueenzOfMedia), February 8, 2013, Twitter
“I have developed a friendly relationship with the Giudice family and personal friends so your continued use of my twitter feed to generate content for your blog Must Stop!…. I suggest you remove all content involving me.” – Grace Alexis (@QueenzOfMedia), February 28, 2013, Fame-Whorgas
This shift occurred right after Bryan “Bulldog” Bowen, provoked by QOM (they posted about his assault charges and his brain tumor surgery and then brought his parents into the mess), tweeted on February 4, 2013 about the alleged rape charges and John Karagiorgis, also provoked by QOM (tweets too numerous to include in this blog), tweeted on February 2, 2013: “Talking about priors with man to man altercations, let’s talk about who assaulted women.” Bryan quickly deleted his tweet, and it probably would have gone virtually unnoticed had AllAboutTRH not published a story about it.
Remember, Bryan didn’t sign up for this and isn’t being paid by Bravo to air his dirty laundry (he is a private citizen) — the Gorgas and Giudices signed contracts agreeing to give up their privacy (they are ‘public figures’) in exchange for fame, the perks that come with being a ‘celebrity’, a Bravo paycheck, and the opportunity to market products on the Bravo network and the Bravo website via their blogs (and on their own personal websites).
The following are the tweets right after Byran’s tweet at 2:53 PM on February 4, 2013 (the one he quickly deleted) including tweets about @franksabean (who Pete and Sheila Giudice follow and tweet – see “Frank” to Teresa’s right in the photo above).
2:54 PM – 4 Feb 13
Pete Giudice @PeteGiudice
@franksabean include me in the convo too bro. They don’t know jack.
Skylar & Grace
6:57 PM – 4 Feb 13
Pete Giudice @PeteGiudice
@franksabean @sunshine1335 @fauxrealityent she won’t call because she’s a chicken. Afraid To call out her buddy.
BethWalt77 Skylar & Grace Just Georgia
6:58 PM – 4 Feb 13
Pete Giudice @PeteGiudice
@franksabean @johnnythegrk @pdkhair I can say the phone calls were made and Frank was the one who made peace happen. Dat chick is full of it
BethWalt77 Skylar & Grace TRACEY HURT AllAboutTRhwfan not a puppet
7:00 PM – 4 Feb 13
@PeteGiudice yea u tell them Pete
Retweeted by Pete Giudice
7:01 PM – 4 Feb 13
Pete Giudice @PeteGiudice
@QueenzOfMedia lol. Hog wash when you post lies based on one sided stories. I know Frank and he don’t talk crap. I got his back 100%.
6:26 AM – 5 Feb 13
Skylar & Grace @QueenzOfMedia
@AsianPosh1 @PeteGiudice i heart you poshumz
@PeteGiudice @QueenzOfMedia Thank you for keeping us all informed! We are not sheep! At least a few of us! #Truth
Retweeted by Pete Giudice
6:39 AM – 5 Feb 13
Frankie Beans @franksabean Protected account
@franksabean’s account is protected.
Skylar & Grace @QueenzOfMedia
@PeteGiudice <— loving pete right now
Skylar & Grace @QueenzOfMedia
@PeteGiudice speaking of hog, I want some sausages!
Pete Giudice @PeteGiudice
@QueenzOfMedia get me your address and I’ll send you a few when their ready.
7:03 AM – 5 Feb 13
According to @FauxRealityEnt, RHONJ storylines are now being dictated by Twitter for damage control and spin. Also according to Faux, who supposedly attended the Milania Hair Care launch party, someone named Mario Petris (@MarioPetris) was at the party while Bravo was taping, and the entire night was a discussion about Twitter.
“@JohnnyTheGrk I hope everything went well with @PDKhair at the launch =D.” – Sunshine (@Sunshine1335), February 19, 2013, Twitter
“@Sunshine1335 @PDKhair She came back in one piece. Lol” – John Karagiorgis (@JohnnyTheGrk), February 19, 2013, Twitter
“Great night penny was safe lol @JohnnyTheGrk” – Mario Petris (@MarioPetris), February 19, 2013, Twitter
The following are tweets from/to Faux about how Twitter is dictating RHONJ storylines.
“I do have a job and yes, I spend money on Vicki! @vgunvalson #editedrealitytvisnotreal” – Brooks Ayers (@BrooksAyers), April 25, 2013, Twitter
“Hard to prove anything to fans that don’t realize that this is for entertainment only! #editedrealitytvnotreal” – Brooks Ayers (@BrooksAyers), April 27, 2013, Twitter
In her book, Reality Bites Back, Jennifer Prozner delves into the world of reality TV and gives insight into producer manipulation.
A former Bachelor producer on the condition of anonymity told Prozner:
In the private one-on-one interviews with a producer (like me) it is the producer’s job to get the sh*t talking started, like “tell me honestly what you think of Sally” – if the interviewee does not respond in a catty way then the producer will usually go to the next level, like “well I personally think she is a self absorbed, attention starved skank,” and then see if the person will take the bait… it is easy to start seeding conversations and gossip. Also, if the conversations linger too long on favorite movies and stuff, the producers will step in and say, “ok, we all know we signed up for a TV show – so if you don’t start talking about something more topical, then you can’t have the sushi you requested tonight.” The smart cast members start to realize that you can be bartered. Like, “I will give you a good one-on-one interview about Sally, IF you let me listen to my iPod for the rest of the day.”
Prozner says that Bravo’s The Real Housewives series teaches us that women are catty, bitchy, manipulative, and not to be trusted, especially by other women.
The cast are frenemies: enemies vying for the same prize. Producers get cast members to turn on each other based on off-camera misinformation, manipulation, and a false economy where trash talk is a participant’s only way… children are selectively edited to appear bratty with their parents and catty with competitors.
Producers ensure that women dutifully perform their bitch-tastic roles by egging them on with techniques that would make psyops intelligence officers proud. They conspire together like high school Mean Girls. They mouth off in hateful, bleep-filled ‘confessionals’. Lifestyle series (like The Real Housewives) manipulate us in the opposite direction.
Some of Prozner’s best points about reality TV and Bravo’s The Real Housewives series, in particular, include the following:
1. Catfights are among the main viewership draws and the primary promotional tactic of The Real Housewives series
Thrown together as cameras trail their semi-scripted – yet supposedly authentic – lives, they are rude and unkind. They betray their so-called friends’ trust… The Housewives make fun of one another (Orange County), flirt with each other’s men (Atlanta), and reveal embarrassing scandalous secrets about members of their social circle (New Jersey).
According to Tamra Barney in one her Bravo blogs:
“Anytime you put a bunch of ladies together who are not necessarily friends, there is going to be some drama.”
In Atlanta, one cast mate (DeShawn Snow) who wouldn’t perform diva antics on cue was canned … she was the only original cast member not asked to return to Atlanta’s second season because Bravo considered her too dignified. A producer “said I was ‘too human for a circus show’ and that because the show did so well, they are about to pump up the drama and they didn’t think that I would fit in.” During RHOA’s entire first season, viewers never learned about original cast member DeShawn Snow’s postgraduate divinity studies. Why? Because filming a competent, intelligent African America woman pursuing a master’s degree would have broken producers’ preferred narrative: that Black women (and their wealthy white lady friends) are gossipy idiots.
NeNe Leakes told Jet magazine:
“None of us are friends. Friends don’t do what we have done to each other on the show. You have not seen one of us get the other one’s back. If you did see somebody get somebody’s back, the next week they were talking about them… We are all clearly associates.”
2. Women who truly dislike one another are portrayed as ‘real life’ friends [except in the case of RHONJ, who are real family and were real friends]
In NJ [where we have real friends and family pitted against each other by Bravo], we get “low-class” tantrums, in which Italian American women accuse each other of prostitution, kidnapping and drug dealing while flipping over banquet tables.
[The trips that the cast mates take together on RHs are designed to] isolate them and encourage alcohol consumption and wild behavior; and angry outbursts are stoked and edited.
3. Reality TV producers are puppeteers
Producers craft dialogue they can feed to cast in a pinch or pop into scenes after the series has stopped filming. They coach cast to deliver monologues on specific topics… And if there aren’t enough sparks, editors “take something black and make it white,” as reality editor Jeff Bartsch told Time. Bait-and-switch is par for the course. “Footage has to be manipulated cleverly and often, so it’s really in my job description to know where all the bodies are buried,” a Top Model producer says. “If the show is done well, you wouldn’t even know my job exists because it would just feel like watching people do stuff.”
What reality fan doesn’t assume that the Real Housewives show up where and when producers instruct? When eight women in bikinis in an Australian hot spring simultaneously shave their legs with Skintimate Gel on Outback Jac, we realize that’s staged. Yet most of us remain unaware of practices like Frankenbiting. Even fewer understand that pretty much every part of a reality show is manipulated to support producers’ chosen narrative.
4. Quotes are manufactured, crushes and feuds constructed out of whole cloth, episodes planned in multi-act storyboards before taping, scenes stitched together from footage shot days [or months] apart
“We shoot 100% of the time and air 1% of what we shot,” then edit “the really good stuff” to suit their purposes, an anonymous Bachelor producer told NPR. “We have even gone as far as to ‘frankenbite,’ where you take somebody saying, ‘of course I’d like to say that I love him’ and cutting the bite together to say ‘of course I love him’… [It’s] misleading to the viewer and unfair to the cast member, but they sign up for this.” [Time]
5. Cast members are molded into predetermined stock characters such as the weeper, the bitch, etc.
Casting is the single most important ingredient in the success of any reality show – truth is, producers seeks out people they believe will behave in hypersensitive, bizarre or stereotypical ways (those proven to verbal outbursts, physical aggression or addiction are desired). People who are overly emotional and mentally unstable offer more potential for conflict.
6. Standards for reality casting are very low
Standards for entry into reality casts are so low because background checks aren’t intended to ensure contestants’ safety. Instead, they’re conducted primarily to absolve producers and networks of legal liability. In fact, casting directors often seek out participants who are prone to violence—including alcoholics, drug addicts, and emotionally unstable people—the better to ensure fights, tears, and that oh-so-important ‘drama’. One anonymous producer admitted as much to Entertainment Weekly:
“The fact is, those shows work only because of the irresponsible casting. If you force people to cast upstanding citizens without criminal records, you’re not going to get the same show.”
In the world of reality TV, women are not concerned with politics, law, athletics, activism or even careers in general (unless their competing for the supermodel/starlet/rock star jobs that populate 10-year-old’s daydreams). Instead, reality TV producers have collaborated to paint America women as romantically desperate, matrimonially obsessed, and hyper-traditionalist in their views about the proper role of wives and mothers, husbands and fathers.
7. Violence is used as promotional devices and as a ploy for ratings
When acts of physical abuse make it to the screen, they’re not treated as seriously inappropriate—they’re simply a promotional device. Reality shows trivialize abuse of women as a ploy for ratings… as a cheap ploy to induce those all-important tears they promise to deliver each episode.
8. Companies hawk products through embedded advertising and product shilling
The primary purpose of contemporary television is not to entertain, engage, or inform us. Today, the driving factor for all corporate media production is to turn tidy profits for the tiny handful of mega-merged corporations that own the vast majority of media outlets and control the bulk of what we are given to watch, see, and hear on TV and radio, in movies, video games, and more. The suits in charge of deciding what shows, songs, films, and news programs we get to choose from care only about their companies’ bottom lines—and see their media products as virtually indistinguishable from sneakers, Snuggies, or any other doodad to be bought or sold.
In this climate, what viewers want will always take a back seat to what multinationals such as the Big Six media owners (Disney, News Corp., Time Warner, General Electric, Viacom, and CBS) can convince us to watch. TV shows live or die in today’s media market based not on pure-and-simple ratings, but on demographics (which viewers are watching, in relation to age, race, gender and income bracket, not just how many overall) and broader economic factors, including the cost to produce a program versus the amount of profit it generates.
The key to media profits is advertising, a $200 billion annual industry. In the last decade, TV companies’ ad revenue has come not only from traditional commercials between, but increasingly form product placements within, the content of our favorite shows. Embedded sponsorship has been a particular windfall for cable, which operates under a subscription model and is therefore seen as an ‘ad-free’ medium.
Media scholars Robert W. McChesney and John Bellamy Foster have noted that by 2003, 80 percent of U.S. ad spending was funneled through the eight largest advertising corporations, giving companies the ability to name their tune with corporate media firms more than willing to play ball. For example, during a series of top-level meetings held in 2000 by USA Network, major advertisers were invited to “tell the network what type of programming content they wanted.”
Reality TV’s racial typecasting, infantilizing fairytales, and hyperconsumerism—indeed, all the issues explored in Reality Bites Back—are a testament to what happens when advertisers expand the stories they tell from static print ads and thirty-second commercial breaks to feature-length programming. Using real people as their props, marketers have worked with producers to cultivate entire faux worlds based on sexist, racist ideologies. Worse, they have pretended the results are just reflecting—rather than attempting to shape—American life.
9. It’s not just advertisers who influence unscripted programming
In today’s multimerged media environment, TV networks, film studios, newspapers, and magazines are just a small sample of parent companies’ cross-holdings. Big Media corporations are also invested in industries such as travel and theme parks, insurance and financial services, sports teams and stadiums, medical technology, and aircraft, weapons, and nuclear manufacturing, to name just a few. In practical terms, this means that some reality TV content is crafted to serve the financial and ideological agendas of the owners of the networks airing the shows.
10. Marketing plays a mammoth role in generating the illusion of populist demand, an illusion of popularity bestowed upon them by corporate synergy
- TV/radio/billboard conglomerate—PR blitzkrieg
- Multiplatform media attention, public relations, and product integration
- The truth is, unscripted programming carries so little financial risk that networks now often prefer likely ratings flops over nurturing more-expensive scripted fare, regardless of viewers’ inclinations
- Embedded marketers prefer unscripted programming because its practices are allowed by networks to bypass FCC regulations for advertising
The truth is that reality TV music and modeling franchises function much like the sex industry. Like most sex workers, they get a tiny fraction of the cash their bodies generate, while their pimps—the media conglomerates and embedded sponsors—control the profits generated by their hydrations. The workers are undervalued and treated as interchangeable.
Few other issues pose as serious a threat to our notion of entertainment—and to our understanding of ourselves and of our society—as the increased commercialization of contemporary corporate media. Why should we care about product-hawking, stereotype-heavy reality TV, we wonder, when television in general has become so risk-free and hackneyed… network TV content has degenerated as quality has increasingly taken a back seat to media companies’ and sponsors’ quest for astronomical profits. Advertisers have already too much control over what we watch, hear and read. We should identify brand integration—and the reality genre that brought it back to TV—as a threatening progression of that structural problem… Through sheer repetition, reality shows are training us to shrug all this off as inevitable. Advertisers are banking on our apathy… Even writers of successful, widely respected series have been ordered to change story arcs to accommodate integrated sponsors, as NBC forced The Office to do for Staples, Sandals Resorts, HP, Apple, Cisco Systems, Gateway, and Hooters, among others. This is a major thorn in the side of the Writers Guild of America, which has filed comments with the FCC protesting the impediment product placement imposes on their jobs.
If such trends continue unabated, entertainment crafted around commercial messages could largely replace traditional narrative.
Media insiders say the future of scripted television is an immediate, interactive model in which viewers will be able to instantly purchase products they see on their favorite shows… a scrolling ticker a the bottom of every show.
One-look-fits all casting will worsen, as will the homogeneity and vapidity of storylines… Advertisers are seeking more direct control over media content than they had even in 1930s radio and 1950s TV… Advertiser-controlled content is more threatening today than at any prior point because of the sheer breadth and inescapable power of modern mediated landscape… Today it’s nearly impossible to tune out the commercials woven into not just reality TV shows, but also blockbuster films, music and talk-radio programs, magazine and newspaper ‘advertorials’.
- Interview with a Former RHONJ Post Production Supervisor
- Producer-Driven Scripted Drama and Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives’ Series
- RHONJ Season 5 Will Be a Series of Infomercials Mixed with Scripted Drama