If you’ve ever wondered how real the “Real Housewives” franchise is, you’re not alone. The drama escalates each season and can sometimes seem too good to be true. Many Housewives themselves have gone on the record that it’s not scripted, which makes it even crazier.
Some Bravo producers caught up with Vulture recapper and “Real Housewives” historian Brian Moylan for his new book, “The Housewives: The Real Story Behind The Real Housewives.” In an excerpt, published by Reality Blurred on May 25, Moylan describes if the franchise is more real or staged.
Moylan explains that prior to the start of each season, the cast members meet with the executive producers. During this meeting, the ladies talk about what’s new in their lives and future plans – there’s no doubt a vow renewal gets brought up every now and then. The executive producers then take this knowledge and a tentative storyline is born.
Thankfully, many Bravo producers agreed on one thing: the shows are not scripted. “I have never worked on a Bravo show where anything is scripted like that, where we tell people what to say and what to do,” a producer who worked on numerous Bravo shows told Moylan.
“Real Housewives of Miami” cast member Ana Quincoces agreed telling Moylan, “The $100,000 question is, is it scripted? I don’t think it’s scripted, but things are planned. If these women and I would normally not hang out together, like seriously, you could not pay me enough money to hang out with them.”
Bravo Producers Have a ‘Bible’
While the “Real Housewives” franchise isn’t scripted, Bravo producers don’t necessarily let the process become a free-for-all. “You turn in something that’s called a show bible,” a high-level producer, who has worked on a number of Bravo projects, told Moylan for his book.
The show “bible” is, “an actual fifty-page document that literally outlines every woman, every story they have, and the direction we think they’re going to go.” The document also includes how to shoot specific scenes. But as many Bravo fans might think, “it never follows that.”
“It’s kind of dumb,” the producer told Moylan. “I don’t know why they still have us do it. But it’s a requirement.”
Cast Members Have No Say in Production
Bravo, Bravo, f****** Bravo! Over the years, the ladies of the “Real Housewives” have had many ups and downs. But even cast favorites don’t have a say in what makes it into the show.
Last season, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” cast member Denise Richards sent cease and desist letters to stop the notorious Brandi Glanville affair rumors. Her requests were obviously not met, as the rumors played out for the whole Bravo-universe to watch.
Even when the ladies think they’re in the clear with cameras, they rarely are. Some of the most iconic scenes have taken place when the stars think the cameras are down. For instance, during season 5 of the “Real Housewives of New York City,” Luann de Lesseps was caught talking on the phone in French to her friends about the infamous pirate. At the time, the crew was on break, but a member who spoke French noticed and flagged the cameramen to get the call on camera, according to the excerpt from Moylan’s book.
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