Insider Reveals Why Kathy Wakile Was Demoted; Wakiles Build New Home, Hoping to Secure Spot on RHONJ (Updated 2/11/2015)
The photo above from RadarOnline of the Wakile’s new home in Franklin Lakes was taken in February 2015. According to Radar, “the stucco has been poured on the Italian countryside-style home and some stones are in place, but there is still much to be done before Wakile and her brood can call this home.” Neighbor Tom Murro, a friend to the Laurita and Manzo clan, told Radar on February 9, 2015: “The house in Franklin Lakes is enormous but not anywhere near done.” The Wakiles broke ground in late September 2013 (see Kathy’s September 29, 2013 tweet and photo below). More than sixteen months later, their new mansion is far from complete.
UPDATE OCTOBER 14, 2014: Jacqueline tweeted on October 12, 2014 that she “filmed in March and then some pick up scenes later on.” Therefore, the cast pretended they were taping during the winter months when Jacqueline and Kathy’s were at Kathy’s new home under construction in Franklin Lakes, NJ (and later when Nicole and Jacqueline were in Kathy’s kitchen in Wayne, NJ), but the scenes were taped much later, as evidenced by the photos above and below, which show that the first floor of the Wakiles’ new home had not been completed as of June 27, 2014 (plus in the footage you could see that the trees were green).
The Wakiles purchased the one acre lot at 755 Barnstable Court, Franklin Lakes, on June 17, 2013 for $675,000.
Lets hope they don’t rip off the landscaper at the new home like they did at their home in Wayne, NJ:
Richard Wakile was taken to small claims court in Passaic County, NJ by Natural Paradise Landscaping over a $2,000 unpaid bill, and the judge ruled against him in court on September 24, 2012.
[Note that the Wakiles joined the cast of RHONJ in September 2010.]
Louie Khalil, the owner of the landscaping company, exclusively told RadarOnline.com about the settlement the judge ordered Richard to pay.
“I don’t care about the money; I’m just glad the judge saw the truth,” Khalil said.
According to Louie, he was hired by the Wakiles to do the landscaping at their house and performed the services for a full year and was never paid, so he cut their service off in October 2011.
“I saw him and told him to pay the bills. We kept asking him to pay. We sent him the bill, and when we would call him, he would just say: ‘Fucking sue me,’ and hang up on me,” he claimed. “He would say to me: ‘Who the fuck do you think you are? I’ll smash your face if I ever hear you say ask me for money again’.”
Louie said Richard was harassing him while he was working on other jobs in the neighborhood, and on June 8, 2012: He “came to my truck while I was working, invading my private space. He took pictures of my license plate. So I called the cops. They went to his house and told him not to take pictures of my license plate.”
Louie told RadarOnline.com it was after this incident that he decided to file the lawsuit, and it worked out in his favor. The judge ruled on September 24, 2012, that Richard was responsible for part of the bill and ordered him to pay $792.34 plus $22 in court fees. Louie said Richard cut them a check for an even $815 right after the judge ordered him to pay.
When Richard was spotted in the courthouse for the first hearing on September 19th by Tom Murro, he was evasive on Twitter about the reason he was there, writing: “I’m so afraid that you’ve exposed me!!! Shaking in my boots or in my beach wear!!!”
Richard actually filed a counter lawsuit against Louie Khalil and the company, which the judge threw out.
As you can see from the image above, the Wakiles broke ground on their home in September 2013 but the foundation was not laid until May 2014. This was because the house was put on hold while the Wakiles awaited Bravo’s casting decisions for season 6 of RHONJ.
A source e-mailed FameWhorgas in October 2013 and revealed that “the dream home that the Wakiles are building on the lot they purchased in Franklin Lakes is on hold right now” because Bravo had not offered Kathy a contract as a full-time Housewife. The following is that e-mail.
Rich twittered not to believe the B.S. (referring to Kathy getting demoted) because BravoTV told them they have not made any decisions yet. Bravo does this every season with a franchise. They do it to get fan reactions.
Rich and Kathy are freaking out because they are building, or at least talking about building, a house and Kathy has a dessert book coming out, and she thinks she should be allowed to come on for another season.
Rich is really pissed off because he feels they did everything that Production wanted them to do – re: Teresa.
Neither Rich or Kathy can comprehend why people think they are boring. Kathy will say they are not bad people; maybe that is what they mean, that is why people think they are boring. She is clueless.
Yes, the show is scripted. Remember the scene where they made it look like their son and Rosie took the car for a ride with out them knowing? They knew – production set it up because they needed something good to show. Unless it is scripted with Rich and Kathy, it is not worth showing. Rich thinks he is TV gold.
Kathy’s own statements aren’t scripted. You know, how many versions has Kathy gave why she joined the show without her cousin knowing?
Rich is a disgusting pig. When he is on his twitter assaults, he is drinking. Kathy will congratulate him when he curses someone out. She will say that’s what they get when you mess with us.
The Wakiles think they are owed something. For example, there was an incident with making dinner reservations when Rich yelled, “Tell them who we are” – he was saying that because the place was booked for the night.
Both Rich and Kathy expect freebies all the time – Rich will say he will have Kathy send out a Facebook post and twitter. It’s really pathetic. Did you see the time Rich twittered asking on Christmas Eve if a pilot had room for four people? Needed to return New Years Eve?
I wish people knew the real Rosie. Rosie wanted nothing to do with TV. That was all Kathy. When you see Rosie upset, that is Kathy in her ear. Last year, at the reunion, Kathy was working Rosie up days in advance, telling her if Teresa says anything about Daddy she just hopes she says something because she needs to hear it from Rosie.
When a blogger exposed the Wakiles for knowing who Johnny was, Rosie twittered to Teresa that she was pissing her off – that was all Kathy.
What Kathy will do is: If something comes up in blogs or tabloids and Kathy thinks Teresa is behind it, Kathy will call up Rosie and say Teresa is at it again. When Rosie twittered that, Rosie had not even read the blog – she was going by what Kathy said to her.
Kathy does not care that people think Rosie is an animal. Kathy uses Rosie as her puppet. When the rumors started that Kathy would be demoted, Kathy put Rosie on a guilt trip.
Rosie never wanted to be on TV. Last season Rosie said this was the last time or she wanted to be paid – who can blame her? BravoTV did promise Rosie more paid appearances – not necessarily a contract, but VMAs, etc.
Kathy wants Rosie to tell Production that she won’t appear next season unless her sister is a full time housewife. This is a twisted family.
Kathy made sure to reconcile with Rosie before she was on NJ because, unlike Kathy and Joe, Rosie is loyal. Rosie will NEVER admit that her own sister disowned her practically when they were younger because Rosie is gay. Kathy wanted her to get help. It’s a joke. Kathy is acting like an ambassador for the gay community when Kathy never wanted anything to do with the gay community before. If Andy Cohen knew the truth, the Wakiles would have been gone by now.
The dream home that the Wakiles are building on the lot they purchased in Franklin Lakes is on hold right now.
Contracts for season 6 will be signed – it is just a matter of which ones – Kathy has Rosie to thank as explained above.
As far as Richie goes, he will tell you that Andy loves him.
Kathy is up Teresa’s ass now that Caroline is out of the picture, but their relationship is strained still.
The images at the top of this blog post show that construction on the Wakiles’ new home began in Spring 2014; the image below shows that the Wakiles’ new home was under roof by October 12, 2014.
As far as the Wakiles being demoted in season 7, on July 13, 2014, Rosie Pierri got into a twitter war with a viewer who mocked the Wakiles for being demoted. Rosie tweeted:
“At least I was there to get fired who fuck r u douche bag !! @BITCH_CATCHER: GET LOST LUNATIC✌️YOU WERE FIRED‼️‼️ #RHONJ RT @RosiePierri: And I can’t forget my cool ass cousin @joegorga @melissaGorga”
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2014: Andy Cohen wrote in his newest book, ‘The Andy Cohen Diaries,’ that Richie kept making jabs at him for “throwing them away” when Andy didn’t renew Kathy’s contract as a full-time Housewife for season 6:
“I saw Kathy and Richard Wakile tonight at the show and Rich kept making jokes about me throwing them away in the trash, because Kathy isn’t going to be a ‘full’ Housewife this season. I explained to Kathy that I couldn’t put her in the show opening because it would cause big problems with other Housewives. Everybody wants to be in the show open.”
Richie Wakile is disgusting, and he and Kathy have gotten close to the twins and Abbey Feiler-Kober (who provided the venue for the Project Ladybug event in season 6), no doubt in an attempt to secure a spot for season 7.
Vince Foster, Jr. @JustTheFactsNJ Jul 26
@richardwakile @Leopard_Man_ Teresa named her anus, she calls it Leopard.
Richard Wakile @richardwakile
@JustTheFactsNJ @Leopard_Man_ leopard is code for #Bitch
abbey feiler-kober Rosemarie Pierri
6:02 PM – 26 Jul 2014
With Teresa going to the pokey and Dina being bullied off by Jacqueline, Kathy, Amber, Jim and Melissa, the Wakiles are trying to worm their way in via the newbies, but that could be in vain if the twins and Marcheses are not offered contracts for season 7.
Perhaps producers should bring back Kathy and add her estranged brothers and their wives to the cast to expose their family secrets, since she and Melissa believe RHONJ is about family and mending relationships (at least that’s what they said during the season 6 reunion). Kathy herself said when taping an episode for The View on June 8, 2012: “It’s a big pie and everyone can eat from it.”
NM said on June 17, 2012 at FameWhorgas:
“The police report on Joe Gorga is the truth. Kathy also has 2 siblings with police records. I wish they would come to light. Joe Gorga called Kim D a Coke whore. Look at your own wife’s family, JoeG, and your cousins’ PD reports about drugs. We all live near each other. Albie & Greggy ARE VERY close! Caroline’s family is a complete mess. More needs to be exposed. This was a fantastic read. Thank you! Search hard and you will find the other police records. There is so much more that is hidden. #Fact – YOU’RE an open target when you become a public figure on The Telly! Teresa, you are a class act, my dear. See you at your book signing. Melissa, I have had many a lunch dates with your sisters…Stop all the lies!…You never know how people talk when catching a buzz. Rich, you’re a slumlord…How’s the gas station doing? Caroline, I’m very glad Lauren got a lap-band. She’s very beautiful. Sad you trashed her on national TV. Wonder who I am? Don’t bother to send your investigators, I talk to you every week. Hmmmm…”
Hailey said on April 25, 2012 at AllAboutTRH.com:
“I said it before. Kathy has many family skeletons in her closet about her family! It will come out! Mel’s family has many also. All will come to light soon enough! Let’s all hear about the siblings of Kathy that she hides. Mel, your sisters and their husbands are pure drunks! Why doesn’t Kathy bring up how they put things in different peoples name to hide money or that they couldn’t afford to buy the shore house (they rented it). Oops did I say too much? Kathy, thank your sister for exposing you on that!”
Richie refuted the October 16, 2013 story by RadarOnline, picked up by Perez Hilton on October 17, 2013, which stated that Kathy had been demoted to a part-time role (with the financial terms of her contract having been drastically reduced) and that her sister Rosie Pierri will finally get paid to appear on the show:
Briana Sullivan @BrianaSulli 17 Oct
@richardwakile horrible I read on @PerezHilton Kathy will only be part-time next season! She brings the class and comfort! Can’t be true!
Richard Wakile @richardwakile 17 Oct
@BrianaSulli @PerezHilton don’t believe the BS!
On October 6, 2012, when addressing Rosie’s presence and outburst at the season 4 reunion, Teresa told RumorFix:
“I never thought Rosie was gonna be at the reunion show. I’ve done nothing to Rosie. I have always love, love, loved Rosie. Every time I was with Kathy and I would always say to her, ‘Invite your sister’. Kathy never wanted to invite her before. They never got along. Now all of a sudden they’re all best friends. I’m just sayin’. Kathy didn’t want her sister around her kids because she was gay and because she had a girlfriend at the time. Rosie went through a lot of hard times trying to find herself.”
In the same interview with RumorFix on October 6, 2012, Teresa unleashed her dose of reality on Kathy and Richie:
“I can’t even believe they got on the show. They’ve gone to stores — they expect to get free clothes. They’re such moochers.”
When researching for another blog that I’m working on, I ran across some comments from July 2012 on Television Without Pity about the discussion between Rosie and Teresa (and Teresa’s TH) in season 4 where she says that Kathy didn’t always support Rosie (at the season 4 reunion, Rosie attempted to clear things up by saying Kathy knew that she was on a bad path and disapproved of that, not her). The following are some of those comments.
“Rosie denies everything Teresa has said, but I don’t trust her recall, especially because when Teresa said it, Rosie started to tear up and nodded her head in agreement. Also, Rosie’s mom let on as if there were big fights in the past between them at the dinner table.”
“I’m sure Rosie feels the need now to defend her sister, but I saw and heard different on the show. If Teresa was out of line and lying, why didn’t Rosie say right then and there outside at the table when she was giving her tabloid speech, “Hey, my sister never treated me like crap.” Nope, she put her head down and teared up a little. Says it all to me.”
“According to this family, Teresa is the devil and they’re all angels. But Teresa isn’t in agreement with everyone else’s assessment that she’s behaved so terribly (off camera) toward her brother and his wife. Therefore, that contradicts everyone’s claims about Teresa, the same way that Teresa’s claims about Kathy and Rosie’s past relationship contradicts what Kathy and Rosie say about it.”
“Regardless of what Teresa believes, there’s no denying that there is in fact an ongoing rift and issue between her and her brother in the present. We’ve seen it play out on the show. It doesn’t matter if she wants to believe it or not, the truth is there are problems between them, whereas there aren’t any current rifts between Rosie and Kathy. There was no point in Teresa bringing that up, whereas anything that has been brought up about Teresa’s behavior goes towards recent, current and ongoing strife between them that’s being captured during taping. References to the past have been made, but it isn’t done in a vacuum. Teresa randomly taking about a rough point in Kathy and Rosie’s relationship pretty much came out of the blue and for no reason.”
“At least in the case with Danielle throwing out her tidbit of information at the reunion about Melissa’s son, Danielle didn’t really care for Teresa so it wasn’t a shocker that she would say something like that, using her little bit of inside information. But who’s the enemy in Teresa’s talk with Rosie? That was some Danielle-type hate Teresa pulled on Rosie and on Kathy with those comments. I personally didn’t think that the animosity between her and Kathy was at a level of Danielle crazy but, then again, I do believe Teresa is that level of hateful. Danielle hated Teresa, so she used something painful to be hateful. And Teresa did her Danielle impression on Rosie (and ultimately Kathy) for what reason?”
“On the Wakile kids: Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’re good kids, but a little too sweet, if you know what I mean. I get a vibe of them playing up their goodness for the cameras, stacking the deck if you will. Whenever I see the kids, I immediately think Eddie Haskell. Playing up that goodness just irritates the hell out of me. The over the top sweet speech by Victoria? I guess the halo needs to be on display (couldn’t resist). I get that same weird fakeness from Kathy though, so no surprise that the kids have it. A hint of ruthlessness from her too. It’s why I want to like her but I find something about ‘Kathy and her soft voice’ very ‘Hekyll and Jyde’. The kids’ saccharin sweetness personas aren’t even done well, but I guess that comes with age, <cough> Kathy.”
“Even though Teresa may be wrong in publicly talking about Kathy’s alleged bad treatment of Rosie in the past, I can COMPLETELY understand why Teresa feels justified in doing so. It’s because they did it to her first, and she probably wanted to give them a taste of their own medicine. This sums it up for me. Of course it doesn’t make Teresa look good for doing that, but I doubt she can comprehend that. It was a huge ‘Fuck you’ to Kathy ‘soft voice’, and everyone got the message.”
“Horrible Things (seen or mentioned on the show) that the Gorgas, Wakiles, Manzos and Lauritas have done to Teresa:
- Melissa betrayed Teresa and contacted Danielle to give her info to use as ammunition against Teresa.
- Caroline and Jacqueline both betrayed Teresa when they continued to be friends with Melissa even after she betrayed Teresa.
- Joe Gorga called Teresa “garbage” at his son’s christening.
- Behind Teresa’s back, they all (including their husbands and the grown Manzo kids) have talked shit and ridiculed Teresa’s business, her bankruptcy, her kids, her husband, her marriage, how she talks, and her intelligence.
“Horrible Things (seen or mentioned on the show) that Teresa has done to the Gorgas, Wakiles, Manzos and Lauritas:
- She was referencing Christopher when she mentioned in her cookbook that she doesn’t want her daughters to be strippers at a car wash.
- Also in her cookbook, she repeated a joke about Caroline that was originally said when they were both on a talk show.
- She has talked shit about Melissa being a gold digger and being jealous of her and how badly Kathy used to treat her sister.
“IMO, the rest of the cast seems unjustified in their seething hatred of Teresa. Because unless I’m forgetting something, what exactly has Teresa done to them that’s worse than what they’ve done to her?”
Tabloids reported in November 2013 that in addition to the return of Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga for RHONJ season 6, three new wives, Amber Marchese and twin sisters Teresa and Nicole Napolitano, are being added. On November 1, 2013, Teresa told the Bradenton Herald that “we have four new people, and going forward I think it’s going to be really good” – she must be counting Dina as the fourth new cast member.
Reality TV is Fake, Producers are Puppeteers, and the “Talent” Makes So Little That They All Need Second Jobs
“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 seek 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 from 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, 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’.
By Lisa Bloom
May 26, 2012
Having represented a number of celebrities in reality shows publicly and privately, I am here to tell you the shocking truth: there is nothing reality-based about this genre.
Let’s start with the shows themselves, much more “show” than reality. As with sitcoms or dramas, there are takes, re-takes, re-re-takes, and so on. Eight hours to tape a half hour scene is not uncommon. Hair and makeup artists lurk in the background; producers “suggest” lines to the participants, telling them to be angrier, more excited, have bigger energy. “Talent” – as on air types are known in all television – are given plot lines to work through: catty, petty female spats, lies told to some but not other members of the cast to create dramatic tension, props placed strategically to provoke emotions or arguments.
If you must watch these shows, at least, please, enjoy them as fictional as Days of Our Lives or Desperate Housewives. Don’t believe cameras are just “catching” real people living their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cameras and klieg lights and hair and makeup and producers and directors do not make for reality. If they were all in your living room, how authentic would you be?
If a reality star complains about any of this, they are referred to the lengthy (often 30, 50 or even 100 pages) contract, which binds them so thoroughly they can hardly sneeze without the express written permission of the network. For example, as an attorney I was shocked to see my clients had signed contracts barring them from ever suing for defamation, no matter how egregiously the show had manufactured a plot line making them look like liars, cheaters, even criminals. The shows get it both ways: they call the show “reality” to hook in viewers, yet absolve themselves of all legal liability even when they falsely destroy someone’s character.
And at least according to the contract, they can’t be sued for it.
(I told one network I couldn’t believe that would be enforceable. Could the show falsely come up with a story line that my client was a child molester, and there would be nothing she could do in response? I didn’t believe any court would stand for that.)
Nor can they even complain. Ironclad confidentiality provisions prevent the talent from talking to anyone about what goes on in the show. From the pages of legalese on this point, one would think reality stars are being given the codes for Fort Knox.
Hey, at least they’re making the big bucks, you say. So isn’t it worth it?
No. Other than the rare breakout star, reality “talent” make so little they all need second jobs. Ten or twenty thousand dollars a season – for, say, six months’ work – is typical. And the thing is, they’re all so replaceable. How many people can play themselves? Just about everyone. How many people can be drunk/obnoxious/loud? Hundreds of millions. So these types of reality stars are replaceable. Here today, gone tomorrow.
The production companies and networks profit, the “talent” often walk away disappointed, and we all get dumbed down from watching these shows.
Jacqueline: “Teresa, she’s just starting to talk to her brother again and her sister-in-law and stuff. I’m gonna make sure they make up.”
Ashlee: “Is that your place though?”
Jacqueline: “They want that.”
Ashlee: “Why would you put yourself in the middle of a potentially bad situation?”
Jacqueline: “She asked me for help. She came to me and said, ‘Help me with this’.”
Ashlee: “You tend to care about people that could potentially backfire onto you. OK, you know what? Danielle. Danielle Staub, that’s all I’m saying.
Jacqueline: “So when my friend tries to talk to me about her brother, I’m supposed to say, ‘Don’t talk to me about your brother; you go deal with him’?”
Ashlee (exasperated): “OK, mom.”
Jacqueline: “I feel like they made a lot of progress with each other.”
Jacqueline’s father interjects: “It’s up to them.”
Jacqueline: “If they want this to work, they’ll make it work.”
Jacqueline’s father: “You have to be careful what you say and how you say it.”
Jacqueline: “That’s what I’m saying.”
Jacqueline in her TTC: “Ashlee’s trying to tell me to stay out of drama?! That’s a little hypocritical, compared to the drama she’s put Chris and I through in the past few years.”
Ashlee in her TTC: “This is the thing about my mom: anywhere there’s drama she tries to put herself in it, no matter what it is. It’s like, come on — she was friends with Danielle for a reason.”
– Season 3 Episode 8, ‘Holidazed and Confused’ (Premiered July 10, 2011)
By HairLikeCher, Guest Blogger
October 6, 2012
There is so much evidence that Melissa Gorga IS the destruction of RHONJ — and the Gorga family — and it has been that way since before season one even aired. Shall we look at it?
- There was a blog (On Common Ground) that was discussing RHONJ prior to season one and it had an “anonymous” poster who claimed to be a close family member of Teresa’s and who was bashing her up and down. Another “anonymous” poster was talking about Teresa’s brother and more specifically about his wife and how beautiful she is, how young and successful they are, how big their house is, etc…and how if Teresa is anything like her brother then the show should be interesting. The comments were clearly Melissa. They were also posted minutes apart from each other.
- She wrote the song “On Display” before anyone even knew who she was. It is a narcissist’s anthem about how she is constantly plagued by paparazzi and jealous haters who are trying to take her down. That might have made sense if she wrote it AFTER she were already successful. However, her music career STILL hasn’t taken off enough to be considered successful. And I repeat, she wrote it while she was filming season three…nobody knew who the hell she was. So the lyrics are basically her fantasizing about what she wants. Drama.
“Melissa co-wrote the song ‘On Display’ before her first season on RHONJ aired, when only those within her tiny circle knew her name. It’s reasonable to imagine that Melissa was stalking Teresa’s whole life since 2008, the year season 1 was filmed, and wrote the lyrics as if she were Teresa. She had all the poses, smiles and red carpet interviews practiced for years in front of the mirror. She could ‘feel the weight of the world pushing down on her’ before she was on air! Imagine that.” – Obvious Lee, April 20, 2012, Reality Tea
- Her introduction to the show was the Christening episode. Her, her husband, her sisters and her brothers-in-law attacking Teresa. Verbally and physically.
- There was the speculation that she had contacted Danielle behind Teresa’s back during season two to both feed her information about Teresa and to try and film with her. UNTIL she admitted it on camera and then it was no longer speculation, it was fact.
- For two seasons, Melissa has claimed that prior to getting on the show, she and Teresa were not speaking or getting along. Teresa has maintained that they absolutely WERE speaking. A lot of fans have questioned why Melissa would go on the show if she and Teresa were in a bad place to begin with, why would she bring their problems onto national TV? There was a very interesting comment on Teresa’s Facebook page from July 2009. It was from Lisa Marco-Simpson (Melissa’s sister) and it said something about them all having hung out together at the Jersey shore that weekend at the Giudice’s shore house and on their boat having a great time. She also mentioned that people were approaching Teresa for autographs and photos. This was prior to Melissa being cast on RHONJ and also during the time that she would have been pregnant with baby Joey. We already know that she contacted Danielle while she was pregnant with Joey because she admitted it on the show (she blamed it on her pregnancy hormones).
Back on July 23, 2009, during the airing of RHONJ season 1, Lysa Simpson, Melissa’s sister, was gushing on Facebook about spending the weekend with Teresa and her kids at her shore house:
“Lysa Marco-Simpson spent the weekend with Teresa and the kids at her shore house! was so much fun with all the starstruck people asking for pictures at the beach. then we went to her house for spaghetti!” – Lysa Marco-Simpson, July 23, 2009 at 6:22 am, Facebook
Lisa’s Facebook comment on July 23, 2009 proves that the Gorgas and the Giudices were, in fact, getting along and definitely speaking prior to Melissa being cast. How could they have all been hanging out at the shore if they weren’t even speaking? Yet Melissa told Teresa (when she admitted to contacting Danielle) that at the time she hated her. She gave no reason for it though. If you look at what Melissa’s sister said (about fans approaching Teresa) and consider that Melissa was envious of Teresa’s fame and fortune from the show, it provides the perfect motivation for her to go behind Teresa’s back and contact Danielle. Everything makes perfect sense based on that one comment from Lisa. Melissa was insane with envy so she contacted Danielle (the timeline even makes sense), gave her information to use against Teresa (which we saw at the season two reunion), schemed to get herself cast on the show behind Teresa’s back, lied about it by saying that they weren’t speaking (which is why Teresa has always said that they were speaking, because they were) and the rest is what we have seen since Melissa’s introduction at the Christening.
I honestly don’t understand how people believe a word that comes out of Melissa Gorga’s mouth. I never trusted her from the day she came on the show. She is a lying, manipulative snake, a textbook narcissist, and has no conscience. She loves herself so much that she believes everyone else loves her too and, therefore, will just fall under her spell. This is why she thinks none of her many skeletons will come out or that she can just lie about them. Because she thinks she can just charm people into falling in love with her the way she is in love with herself. And because she is so jealous of the success and attention that she witnessed Teresa getting, she is motivated by her need to prove everyone that SHE is the one who truly deserves the attention. That’s why she copies everything Teresa does – to show that SHE can do it better. The way she dresses, wears her hair, does her makeup (just look at old pictures of her for evidence of this), the way she dresses her kids, the people she uses (photographers, stylists, hairdressers, etc), the comments about whose house is bigger, who throws better parties, whose husband works harder… Everything is a competition to her because she has to show everyone that SHE is better than Teresa therefore SHE deserves the attention. She is so consumed by this that she lies about anything in order to convey the illusion that she is the better woman.
Why would anyone believe a damn word that comes out of her mouth?
RHONJ is the only reality TV show I watch faithfully since season one episode one so I am unfamiliar with how other reality TV shows and other networks operate. While I do think that all cast members should be held accountable for their actions, what I see with this show is both actions and words being edited beyond any semblance of recognition and skewed to manipulate storylines and viewer’s attitudes. Bravo does this to create a villain and justify a gang up situation. They did it in seasons one and two with Danielle Staub and in seasons three and four with Teresa Giudice. It’s to the point where the word “reality” goes out the window.
The level of production interference in Bravo’s programming makes these shows unreal – producers not just suggesting certain scenarios but digging people up out of the woodwork to create drama, befriending cast members, setting cast members up to take the fall for things they have not done, using “Frankenbiting” to put words in peoples mouths (Google it), showing scenes and whole episodes out of sequence in order to make things seems different than how they actually happened, etc.
These are things that cast members cannot possibly be aware of when they sign their contracts. They might know about it now but probably not when they signed the dotted line.
The problem with what they did with Teresa is that the contrived “Teresa as the villain” scenario was too obvious. They brought in two of her family members as main cast members, introduced them by showing an all-out brawl at what should have been a sacrosanct event, then slowly showed her two friends on the show turning against her and standing in solidarity with her family members. All while showing good editing for the other four cast members and bad editing for Teresa.
We see nothing but Teresa’s flaws – her kids misbehaving while Melissa’s kids are shown being perfect angels, Teresa’s husband saying less than admirable things while we see Rich Wakile doting on Kathy or Melissa and Joe being sexy and fun, Teresa flubbing her speech, etc. Bravo makes a point of highlighting every one of Teresa’s missteps while concealing those of the other four.
There are many MANY times where a lot of this makes no sense at all. Especially for viewers who read blogs or are on Twitter because we see how these women behave off camera, and it is not congruent to what Bravo wants us to think (meaning that Teresa is the bad guy and the others are victims).
There is a double standard being used by Bravo (and the Manzos, Lauritas, Gorgas and Wakiles) against the Giudices where Teresa’s behavior is under intense, constant scrutiny and is subject to harsh criticism by anyone who wants to be her judge and her juror while the rest of them are given a free pass every time. Much of the time, the cast can’t even produce a reason why they are attacking Teresa – they allude to things, they say they have heard things but they can’t say where, they claim to have “proof” but they never reveal it. In most instances, whatever it is that Teresa has done or is being accused of doing, is minor in comparison to the actions and behaviors of the other four. That’s why I agree that they ALL should be accountable for what they do. Yet they aren’t.
It is Bravo’s editing that allows them to get away with a lot of this bad behavior, Andy’s clear bias against Teresa that allows the gang mentality and the behaviors to be swept under the rug, and manipulation of viewers’ mindsets that has poisoned so many people against the Giudices unfairly.
It is the unfairness that makes me so “invested”, I suppose. I would never say that I care about these cast members lives more than they do or that I care about them more than my own life. But having watched since the beginning and seeing what has happened to Teresa both on and off camera, I am witnessing a fellow human being treated very unfairly from every direction, including her own friends and family. That does not sit well with me. I’d feel the same way if it were happening to someone I know.
And when a person is being treated that way, they deserve to have support from those who can see what is happening clearly. Lying, manipulation, hypocrisy, dishonesty, envy and greed do not deserve to prevail ever, especially when the truth is out there and someone works so hard to uphold it. Teresa has never changed since season one, her stories have never deviated, her values have remained unchanged, the details about who she is have remained constant. And there are viewers who can see this.
I don’t think that everything that comes out of Melissa/Jacqueline/Caroline’s mouths is automatically a lie simply because I do not like them. But if you look to the past and compare what they are saying now to things that they have said before, much of what they say ARE lies. Provable lies. Either they are lying now or they were lying before because of the amount of times they contradict themselves. All of them.
So taking that all into account, I think there is no way that these cast members can be fully prepared for everything that Bravo is going to subject them to when they sign on to be on TV. And surely, Bravo is protected completely by its contracts, which is why they get away with it. However, these people are not under contract to lie in interviews, on Twitter, on Facebook, or in the media.