March 9, 2006
The Real Housewives Comes To Bravo
By Fred Palmer
Move over Desperate Housewives! The Real Housewives of Orange County is about to show the world that real housewives in the real world are funnier, sexier and have even more incredible and unbelievable tales to tell about their very real lives.
The Real Housewives of Orange County is a new reality show that will premiere on the Bravo Network. Dave Rupel is one of the executive producers of the show and has recently relocated from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Since Rupel is also the partner of Outword Publisher, Fred Palmer, Palmer couldnt pass up the opportunity to ask him about the new show.
So, other than the fact that youre my partner why should people watch the show?
(Laughs) You mean thats not reason enough? Its a very entertaining and fun show. Youll love to hate watching it. Bravo has been home to a number of cutting edge, gay and gay-friendly shows and is known as the unofficial gay network, with shows like Gay Weddings, Boy Meets Boy, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Project Runway. A friend of mine is producing another reality show for them about a lesbian gym owner that will air this summer.
So tell me about Real Housewives. The name implies a similarity to Desperate Housewives.
Its similar in that the show revolves around the lives of five women and their families, and has a lot of classic soap opera elements. Beautiful women, hot guys, diamonds, plastic surgery, secrets, gossip.
So are any of the women having an affair with the hot young gardener like on Desperate Housewives?
There are no gardeners, but one of the women has an 18 year-old son, Shane, who is 63, a baseball jock, looks like an Abercrombie & Fitch model, and spends many episodes shirtless.
Finally! The gay angle! Dynasty, Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives all have gay characters. Does your show?
We dont have any out gay people, but one participants sexuality is questioned. More than once.
Any other sneak previews?
There is a moment early on when one of the mothers, Jeana, is refereeing a fight between her two kids, Shane, and Kara, 16. Kara is complaining about always getting hand-me-downs, which seems very normal
until you realize shes complaining about having to drive a year old Mercedes convertible. Thats our show in a nutshell. Rich people just lead very different lives.
Are any of the people sympathetic?
Of course, every show has to have an underdog. We have Lauri, who is a recently divorced woman who can no longer afford to live in the gated community, but still works there for one of the other ladies. Lauri struggles a great deal during the series her son gets in trouble with the law, her daughter gets in serious financial trouble and she tends to pick the wrong men. But she is so endearing, you cant help but root for her.
Any other serious issues?
Another one of our women unexpectedly faces a life-threatening illness. Some of the scenes are just heartbreaking to watch.
When will Real Housewives hit the airwaves?
The show will premiere on the Bravo Network on Tuesday, March 21, at 10 p.m. and will run for seven weeks.
What are some of your other credits?
I started in the scripted world, writing cop shows like, In the Heat of the Night and Homicide: Life on the Street. When I was between writing jobs, a friend offered me a job on The Real World: Los Angeles. Thats before the category reality even existed. I go way back in the genre.
What other reality shows have you produced?
Big Brother, Temptation Island, Meet My Folks and Bands Reunited for VH1, Bug Juice for Disney Channel and American Princess for WE.
You have moved to Sacramento, does that mean you are leaving Hollywood and TV producing?
Not at all. More and more TV work is being done outside of Hollywood. Since I started in reality, Ive worked in four countries and 40 states. Rarely have I produced a show in LA. Im also looking into Sacramento-based production, such as political advertising.
Is that possible?
The way I look at it, in my career, Ive written for magazines, prime-time cop shows, daytime dramas and produced reality. It all comes down to good storytelling. Whether you are telling a tale of a cheating spouse, a kid at summer camp, a murderer, or a ballot initiative, you have to grab the audiences attention and you have to make them remember it. Thats what I plan on doing.