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Producer-Driven Scripted Drama and Bravo’s ‘Real Housewives’ Series

September 26, 2012 197 comments

mego 284

TMZ reported that several lawyers and managers in Hollywood have banned together to tell clients to stay clear of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”. According to TMZ: “The triggers for the boycott are Camille Grammer and Adrienne Maloof [both will NOT be returning to the show]. The way the show is structured, cast members can say ANYTHING about anyone on the show and get away with it, even if it’s inaccurate and malicious. Camille and Adrienne have — in the past — complained that other cast members have lied about their business ventures, including Adrienne’s Las Vegas casino, and they’ve had no legal recourse.” As one professional put it, “It’s fine if Brandi Glanville does the show. She doesn’t have anything going for her and the show makes her famous. But for someone who has a real business or career outside the show, they need to stay a mile away.” – TMZ, March 4, 2013, ‘Real Housewives of Bev Hills’ Move to BOYCOTT Show

Note: The following letter to FameWhorgas was originally published on September 26, 2012, and republished on March 6, 2013.

The following letter was sent by the author (who shall remain anonymous) to FameWhorgas on September 26, 2012, with permission to publish.

You are really on to something with how these shows work. I come from a show business family: my father, who recently died, was an old studio actor from way back in the day [edited out details about family connections in Hollywood to protect privacy].

When I was out to LA in March, we had a group of close friends out to dinner [edited out details to protect privacy] and some other execs in the industry; but the interesting part was that to my right was a young lady I had known forever, but I never knew what she did until that night. I asked her and she said, “I am a storywriter for Epic Productions.” I confirmed that that is her actual title. Her job is to put together the RHOC and RHOBH.

Here is what she told me. This has nothing to do with RHONJ, because I assume they use east coast people, but I assume the formula is basically the same.

I am telling you this to give you confidence in your producer-induced set up information. Not that it is directly helpful to you in any way.  Just FYI.

Every Housewife has a producer/ storywriter assigned to them. I will call them producers from now on. In the case of the O.C., in the beginning of the season they write a rough draft of the story of the show and how they would like it to go.

It is true that they do not just randomly film them for hours on end hoping for something worthy of television. In the beginning, they suggest to the cast what they want the conflict to be. In your case [RHONJ], it would be tabloid magazines. The reason it seems like such a clusterfuck is because:

(a) it was a poorly chosen topic that the fans did not care about, and
(b) they didn’t get what they wanted out of the cast because Teresa didn’t care.

Here is a concrete example from RHOC:

Two producers get together after filming tons of footage of Vicky and Slade and Gretchen. They [producers] find something they know will piss off Vicky: this is what they look for. Slade’s kid has cancer. They are not allowed to mention it on camera — it is in the contract, but it is widely known. Slade says that Vicky knows nothing about cancer, her daughter’s cancer scare was nothing compared to what he has been through, she is just milking it for attention. They tell Vicky that Slade said this — hoping that the next episode they put together, Vicky will explode. Vicky can’t tell Slade off about what she really wants to tell him off about because it was told to her in confidence by a producer. So she goes off on him at Bunco night about something silly, and the audience thinks she is over-reacting to whatever he just said. They do this all the time.

They [producers] tell each of the other cast members things that they know are going to piss them off about another person so that when they film, they are full of grudges and rage against the person. When they want to start trouble, they usually go to a person who doesn’t mind coming off as a bitch. It is usually someone with a thick skin who really needs the money and can’t just quit. In this case, it is Tamra Barney — she will do whatever the producers ask her to.

Tamra also has some words for viewers who think that she comes across as a b***h on the Bravo reality TV hit… I was hired to do a job… I am not on the show to show the viewers what I want to show them… I was given a job and I’m doing it well. Andy Cohen refers to me as ‘the perfect Housewife!’ … I am not here to make friends and I tell every single one of the girls that. I’m here to do a job. I have Housewives from other franchises calling me and asking me ‘how do you do this?’ or ‘how do you balance this?’ … If I could I would ask to only show my purse line, or request to get my hair done every day, but that’s not reality. I do have a sarcastic side and Bravo only shows a certain percentage of you, so if that’s all they show… They don’t see me as a mom. They don’t see a lot of my life. You do see a lot of sarcasm because they love my one-liners.” – RadarOnline, March 6, 2013, Real Mean Girl Of Orange County! Tamra Barney Sinks Claws Into Gretchen Rossi, ‘Have You Heard Her Sing?’

Vicky won’t play; they [producers] hate her. They love Heather and especially her husband; they are producer favorites. They all despise Slade, and he has a babysitter to keep him out of meetings, etc.

Originally, it was Gretchen who was offered the wedding (free). She turned it down and they offered it to Tamra and Eddie. It would have been far more controversial for Gretchen and Slade to get married; and Slade knew it, and was holding out for a bigger wedding package when they called his bluff and offered it to Tamra and Eddie.

They have to have four major events every year that every cast member must attend. And they build off of that. That is why when see Caroline’s sour puss: it is because she would rather die than have Teresa and Joe at Jamie’s wedding or in Napa or be at the fashion show — but it is mandatory.

They [Bravo and producers] have been forbidden to discuss Taylor Armstrong or Russell’s suicide, ever. They kept Taylor on as a side housewife as they thought it would seem insensitive to fire her.

Some of the drama in these shows flows naturally (and they get a bonus out of it) and some of it is scripted. The cast knows what they have to do and say (not word for word, they don’t memorize script); and if they don’t get it on the first take, they have to film it over. So they will usually cooperate the first time around so they can go home.

Up until now, nobody has gotten caught scripting episodes, but the Cat [Rodriguez] let her feelings get in the way and went off the professional rails by becoming involved with Melissa. Which is why it is so chopped and edited in an attempt to make it go down the way it was supposed to go down. Nobody did what they were supposed to do except Melissa, who is a very reliable actress. Teresa can’t act to save her life.

One more example: At the RHOBH reunion, there was no real drama to be had since there was a “lay off Taylor” mandate issued. So, everybody except Lisa was told to pick on Lisa. Brandy was kept out of the loop and waited in another room for three hours and was not privy to the set up. Everything you see is contrived.

Talking about the show will get you fired. Bravo actually bullies its own employees who don’t want to play dirty. People have quit because of bullying, but they don’t file complaints because, with their skill sets, they get picked right up for another reality show.

I just wanted you to know that you [FameWhorgas] are so on the right track with this Cat [Rodriguez] person. They hate Teresa because they think she is stupid, and Joe won’t play along; in fact, he acts more inappropriately just to piss them off. He couldn’t care less how he comes across. Jacqueline is a mess because she cares. She was told to set up Teresa, and it made her feel bad.

I know this is hard to read, but I am in a hurry. Sorry. Keep up the good work.

Related:

Jacqueline Laurita’s Mother’s tweeted that Bravo asked Jacqueline to setup Teresa Giudice:

“Bravo asked Jac to do things to Teresa that would have put Teresa in a bad light but Jac wouldn’t do it!” – Bonnie Grippe (Jacqueline’s mother), May 16, 2012, Twitter

Jacqueline Laurita’s response to her mother’s tweet on May 16, 2012 (above):

“Bravo DOES NOT ASK TO BRING DRAMA!! They ask for the TRUTH 2b told. NO faking ur life 4 cameras. GET IT NOW? My Mom was confused… THE TRUTH=DRAMA!! GET IT NOW? MOST people wouldn’t want their truth 2b told, would they? Some people are more open. @Bgrippe STAY OFF TWITTER”

Bonnie Grippe’s response back to Jacqueline’s tweet on May 17, 2012 (above); shortly after this tweet she protected her Twitter account:

“These loons tatally twisted what I said. Trying to make the point that you were a good friend to t and even refused to film a scene if it wld make her look bad. They twisted it of course! Love you xxoo”

The Reality of Reality TV and 10 Reasons to Stop Watching Bravo (Excerpt):

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… In the private one-on-one interviews with a producer, 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… 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.” 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” … “We shoot 100% of the time and air 1% of what we shot,” then edit “the really good stuff” to suit their purposes. “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.”

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Teresa Giudice Tweets ‘Miss You Too!’ to Cat Rodriguez, Former RHONJ Executive Producer Allegedly Fired for Conflict of Interest

September 22, 2012 117 comments

Regarding former executive producer Cat Rodriguez sending a tweet to Teresa: “She would of been asked to make it public by the producers. They are aware of the what is being said on Twitter and blogs. Cat hates Teresa and Teresa knows it. I don’t know for a fact, but I can bet Cat was told to appear mutual to squash the rumors and Teresa would of had to go along with it.” – Former RHONJ Post Production Supervisor, September 23, 2012

On September 21, 2012, Teresa Giudice tweeted a response to Cat Rodriguez, the former RHONJ executive producer who allegedly was fired for conflict of interest:

Teresa Giudice Teresa GiudiceVerified ‏@Teresa_Giudice
@yourfriendkitty Miss you too!
9:54 PM – 21 Sep 12

Are they trying to send a message with the recently changed photo for Cat’s Twitter account (one with a Fabellini backdrop) and the tweet?

Here is Cat’s new Twitter photo (her account is protected) from a screenshot on September 21, 2012 versus her old photo from a screenshot on August 2, 2012:

It makes you wonder if all the cast members are part of the staged drama, if any of the fighting is real, and if they are playing the viewers to drive up ratings and to sell their products.

Why are Cat and Teresa tweeting each other? Did Teresa make her reply public by accident?

Cat also tweeted Teresa in March and May of 2011 but did not get a response:

Teresa Giudice ‏@Teresa_Giudice
I’m on the TODAY show with Kathy Lee and Hoda tomorrow morning! Should I bring them wine? xx

3 May 11 Cat ‏@yourfriendkitty
@Teresa_Giudice good luck tomorrow. Yes bring wine! Xo

Teresa Giudice ‏@Teresa_Giudice
Just dropped off gils at dance waiting with Audriana..beautiful day here everyone enjoy…Xx

12 Mar 11 Cat ‏@yourfriendkitty
@Teresa_Giudice miss you guys already! Big kiss to all of you! And Joe!

Related:

RHONJ Producers Socialize With Everyone But Teresa Giudice

Source Says Executive Producer Cat Rodriguez Was Fired for Conflict of Interest

September 20, 2012 81 comments

JerseyGirl, whose roommate is a producer for WWHL, told FameWhorgas on August 25, 2012 at 12:34 AM:

Well… okay, I don’t have a good full account to give you really, because my roommate is actually pretty tight-lipped about it, as it refers to his job. Andy is supposed to act neutral about all the housewives and is not supposed to play favorites, but it’s just known among the staff that he dislikes Teresa, particularly because of the homophobic stuff her husband has said, and also because he thinks she’s emotionally unstable. I don’t really know specifics. I think he likes the Manzos; when I suggested maybe they could leave the show, my roommate said, ‘OMG! no! They have SO many fans, their fanbase is way too huge, and it would sink the show if they left’.

I can try to ask more. I don’t think Andy sits around bitching/gossiping about the housewives… he has to act professional and is not supposed to play favorites, even though he clearly does. I asked a bit about Melissa going behind Teresa’s back to get on the show and he took the same adamant line that Melissa takes, which was, ‘Teresa knew! She knew they were going on the show! She didn’t go behind her back!’ But I think what Teresa means (this is just my own opinion) is that Melissa had been angling to get on the show for a while, and went behind her back in that aspect, and was not open about her blatant attempts to get on the show… especially when Melissa had to know how damaging it would be to their relationship if she went on the show.

I know they (the producers) have gone out with Dina… Andy LOVES her as far as I know. I’ll try to find out more, I just also don’t want to be rude and prying, since I know there are probably confidentiality things. The only other tidbit I got was that he knew ahead of time (like a few weeks ago) that there was going to be a huge explosion between Caroline and Joe.

In the photo above, tweeted by Melissa Gorga on December 4, 2011, Joe and Melissa Gorga party with their ‘favorite’ RHONJ producers. Seated between Joe and Melissa is executive producer Cat Rodrigruez, who allegedly was fired for conflict of interest. Cat was a producer for RHONJ from November 2010 – October 2011, according to her website, yet the above photo was taken in December 2011.

“Cat Rodriguez [was the ‘friend’ tweeting Jacqueline and the others, except for Teresa]. She was the only person at Penny’s salon who was also at the fashion show that would tell Jacqueline.” – Will Love, September 30, 2012, Twitter

“Andy Cohen does play a role in the editing process. He has said so directly in interviews. With that said, overall Cat Rodriguez [@yourfriendkitty] and Caroline Self [@carolineself] have the most editing power. They are the executive producers of Season 3 and Season 4 of #RHONJ. They work on location and off location. They send the editors what footage to use as well as tell them what to keep in and what to cut out. Caroline Self is tight with the Manzos while Cat Rodriguez is tight with the Gorgas and Wakiles. Cat edited @PDKhair as well as multiple ex-coworkers of Melissa’s, who were present at the salon and fashion show, completely out of the two-part finale. Their interactions made the Angelo incident look g-rated. Obviously that move was deliberate. Furthermore, Cat held Penny back from defending Kim when Joe Gorga called Kim a drug addict, a cunt and went to punch her. Even worse, as you will see in the finale, Cat completely butchered the conversation Angelo had with a friend at the bar to make it appear as though Teresa masterminded everything. The unprofessionalism of Cat Rodriguez and Caroline Self is disgusting. In this economy, why are these the type of people who have employment? Only a network like @BravoTV would believe that their viewers are so incompetent that they wouldn’t see past the blatant bias.” – Will Love, September 18, 2012, Twitter

It is rumored that Melissa likes to take a dip in the lady pond. From the looks of the photo above and the tweet to go along with it, I wouldn’t doubt that Melissa had an affair with executive producer Cat Rodriguez to secure her spot on Bravo. Joe Gorga flashes the producers and crew and gives lap dances to Andy Cohen to secure his spot.

“Cat stepped in at the Posche Fashion Show — something that is a no-no for a ‘reality’ producer — to assist in defending Melissa Gorga when things got a bit rocky after Melissa’s ex-boss from Lookers showed up!” – StoopidHousewives, August 8, 2011

By Jazzyg, FameWhorgas
September 20, 2012

I know a friend of Cat Rodriguez who lives here in Los Angeles, CA and she can confirm with me that Cat was let go for her conflict of interest when she produced season 3 and 4 of RHNJ. She was intervening during the PFS blowout, which is what sealed her fate.

Whether Cat Rodriguez and Melissa Gorga were having an affair, and whether that played a part in Jacqueline not showing for the season 3 reunion taping, the friend doesn’t know but it seems like that would fit the equation. The person I befriended didn’t know anything about that. I imagine if that is the case, Cat would keep that as quiet as possible. Being fired and the reasons for it spread out more easily within the industry.

The only reason I was able to confirm this info is because my friend was telling me about having worked on RHOC and other reality shows. She establishes the story lines but she insisted that even then you can’t and should not intervene to change the chain of reactions when filming.

I felt confident enough to ask if she knew anything about RHNJ and she told me about her friend Cat who used to work there but was let go for those same reasons. Cat was in charge of dictating to the cast members when they had to shoot, with whom, and what they had to talk about. But she crossed the line and became friends with some of the cast and was let go after it became a huge conflict of interest and caused her to intervene and change the course of filming (PFS, I assume).

Just to clarify, I do not work in the TV and Film industry but I have met a lot of people in it due to my job. The person who gave me the info is not a close friend or relative. She is someone I’ve known now for about 6 months and has worked for a lot of shows as a “supervising producer”, “creative editor” and as a writer. She certainly has no reason to lie and has good credentials (in my opinion). I believe her 100% and validates everything I’ve read on this site.

Bravo, Melissa, and Cat have no shame!