Podcast host Kate Casey
scored the interview of a lifetime with the producers of her favorite Bravo franchise, Real Housewives of New York.
Barrie Bernstein and Lisa Shannon of Shed Media
answered many questions fans of the show have often wondered about. That atrocious
fight between Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel? Kelly Bensimon’s erratic behavior on “Scary Island”? Housewives who surpassed producers’ initial expectations? Check, check, check…and more
“True life is always more interesting than anything you can write…We’re very passionate about things being real, authentic and what’s actually happening,” explained Bernstein “Nothing is mapped out. Our women are very clever and funny.” She added: “One of the things we try to do – especially when Alex McCord was around – is if you don’t want to show up to a party, that’s on you. That can also develop the storyline. We don’t really force them (the cast) into anything. We’re big on them ‘owning it’ – We’ve said ‘Own It’ before Lisa Rinna – and feeling accountable for that they’ve said.”
Kate Casey noted how despite the contentiousness at annual reunions, there are often reports of the cast going to dinner afterwards. The producers responded that it definitely depends on the year and “We’re not sure everyone’s going to be going out to dinner this year.”
The Housewife honchos, who met while working on another reality show, Super Nanny, shared that the most enjoyable aspect of their job is doing the work with a good friend who you go way back with. They typically share lots of giggles while reviewing RHONY footage.
Bernstein also noted a particularly memorable gaffe when she explained the concept of Franken-biting (piecing parts of different sentences together, something that rarely happens with RHONY, but can occur with editing when necessary): “They (Alex and Simon) lost it and pretty much ruined my night. They complained to my bosses. With any of the cast, you have to be careful while maintaining integrity.”
The producers admitted that they felt Jill Zarin should have nipped her feud with Bethenny early on and was encouraged to do so. They correctly intuited that it would not bode well for her and Bethenny would come out on top.
“If I’m being fully honest, I remember watching that and thinking, ‘This is not good,’” Barrie Bernstein told Kate. “It’s not good for the show, and it’s going on for too long, and it’s ugly.”
“[Jill] thought she was right, and she thought she was going to win the argument. And she let it go on, and I kept telling her, ‘You might want to nip this in the bud.’ And in the end, she didn’t look very good, and I think she felt that afterward, Bethenny came out on top,” Bernstein said of the SkinnyGirl mogul.
“It was kind of sad to watch the demise of the friendship in a way,” she added.
There was also a surprising admission about Dorinda, who first seemed nervous during the filming of her initial season. They were not sure she was going to deliver – but then she not only stepped it up but did so with flying colors and is reality gold today. In another season, there was the concern that Luann was lying low
and the question of whether she would make it through the full season. She too did a full 180 and as many enamored viewers can attest, is already making the current season an epic one.
As far as that infamous “Scary Island” cast trip several seasons ago: “That was pretty awesome,” Bernstein reflected, “Kelly did all those things and she is one of those people who, when she was emotional, got irrational. I remember her saying to me ‘I know what you did there’ and I didn’t really do a thing. We don’t manipulate anything and she had a little breakdown that day.”
The producers also explained what it takes to be a New York Housewife (aside from the obvious of having a luxury lifestyle amidst NYC society). A woman needs to have tough skin, the ability to hold her own, and definitely not be a shrinking violet, but someone who can deliver (great responses and iconic drama). Often, one-season-wonders realize when it’s too late and contracts aren’t being renewed that they’ve learned the ropes and feel they have what it takes.
In part 2 of the Reality Life with Kate Casey interview, the podcast host will briefly make some of her own suggestions for the franchise. You’ll not only enjoy every tantalizing bit of both interviews, but you’ll wonder why Casey isn’t producing a reality show of her own.
Thoughts on the interview? Are you surprised producers encouraged Jill to make up with Bethenny? What is your favorite RHONY moment? Do you think the drama on RHONY is authentic? Which former RHONY do you miss the most?
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