Current and former Bravo producers are speaking out & sharing their thoughts on Bethenny Frankel‘s “Reality TV Reckoning” and plans to unionize.
Several producers alleged that they are also victims of Bravo executives while chatting with Daily Mail about their thoughts on Bethenny’s plans to create a union to protect exploited reality TV stars.
“I think this is the right time for a change of some sort, but I think the messaging is getting lost,” one former producer who worked on the Real Housewives of Dallas said. “We want better pay and health care, but when you release a 60-page document with all of these allegations of depriving people of sleeping and feeding them alcohol, that feels very different.”
One former producer hopes that Bravo takes note and listens to the concerns being raised by the production teams.
“I hope that Bethenny will hear the call if she’s sitting here advocating,” they said. “I’m not saying to take away from the talent needs by any means, but I hope that she can help the production side of it, too. I mean, we’ve all been shouting into the void for years.”
“She’s very concerned about talent,” a third producer added. “And talent is very coddled and very fairly compensated at the Bethenny Frankel stage.”
It turns out that reality TV stars aren’t the only ones with claims of exploitation. Members of production claim that they have endured horrible treatment by the talent at Bravo.
“I think that cast members, especially people like Bethenny, who are not nicest people, at times, they forget that we are people too,” one producer said.
“When we come to do a show, we leave our lives behind. I’ve been called a lot of derogatory things because I didn’t do or did something.”
A former Real Housewives of Orange County producer said, “There’s this sense of entitlement.” Said producer notes that talent have said statements like, ‘I don’t have to do this if I don’t want to!’ and ‘You don’t have a show without me!’’’
Then, a separate producer opened up about the “toxic culture” of working in production for Bravo. The producer admits there is a major lack of work-life balance.
“I almost had a meltdown because I was told I could leave at 12 if I came in early, and then 12 came up. I was getting ready to go, and I was told no, I had to stay,” they said. “And to me, as a first-time mom, having left my house before my baby even woke up… I was stoked to get home before he went to bed so that I could see him for maybe 30 minutes.”
“[Network bosses] don’t care,” they added. “They don’t give a sh**. Sadly, it is [a toxic culture]. I was early on in my career and I was working 15 to 20 hours a day. It’s also just not sustainable.”
Despite producers’ issues with Bravo and its talent, they do agree with Bethenny’s claims that cast and crew members have been taken advantage of by the network for far too long.
“I definitely agree with Bethenny,” one producer said. “I think it’s a long time coming. Right now, we work in an unprotected segment of the industry. There are no residuals; there is no anything, to be honest. It’s like lab rats in a social experiment.”
“It’s all a sham. I get that it’s capitalism at its best, but it’s like pure advantage. If you end up taking a reality show to a network, they want to own your show. They’re owning people’s IP and taking people’s creative ideas because they’re not creating a damn thing. And it’s not just Bravo shows. Thank God that Bethenny is lighting the match. This is happening nationwide. This is happening across the board.”
“You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot. Right now, everybody is clamoring for content, and everyone is being listened to. People are being heard. And if they’re going to be changes, while there is a mechanism for change, you should speak up,” another producer said.