Go Behind the Scenes in Beverly Hills
Executive Producer Dave Rupel shares insider secrets and answers your questions!
Hey, everyone! Welcome to my first blog! My name is Dave Rupel, and I am the showrunner, as well as one of the Executive Producers of the new Bravo series, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
The purpose of this blog is to give fans some behind-the-scenes information that you won't get anywhere else! So get your questions ready, while I tell you a little bit about me, and what I do on the show.
First off, what is a showrunner? There are seven other Executive Producers on the show –- four from Evolution Media (the production company) and three from Bravo, but they all work on multiple other shows at the same time. I'm the only EP who is dedicated solely to RHBH, so I literally "run the show."
Not that I'm hogging all the credit (Well, maybe if people really like the show I will...). But seriously, if it "takes a village" to raise a child, it takes a small army to produce a reality show. Our total crew topped out at a little over 100 people, and what an impressive army I got to lead! Some of the past credits of our very talented team include: The Amazing Race, The Simple Life, The Apprentice, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Project Runway, Millionaire Matchmaker, The Bachelor, Celebrity Fit Club, Nanny 911, Top Chef, Wipeout, Ruby, The Real L Word, and Dr. 90210.
Fun Fact: One of our Segment Producers on RHBH, David Yost, also is an actor and played Billy Cranston, the original blue ranger in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
As for me, I go back to almost the beginning of reality TV, way back to the second season of MTV's The Real World (Los Angeles) -– the series that really helped launch the entire genre.
Fun fact: My Co-Executive Producer is Toni Gallagher. She is one of my best friends (the Grace to my Will) and she got me hired at Real World, where we worked together for 2 ½ years, through RW San Francisco (remember Puck and Pedro?) and RW London (the one nobody remembers). After that, Toni and I never worked together again until RHBH. And after 15 years, it's been a total blast from the past!
After Real World, I moved up the ladder on shows like Bug Juice, Temptation Island (the first –- and I like to say, good season, where I helped make America dumber by introducing the non-word "conversate" into the public lexicon -– thank you, Ytossie), Big Brother 2, Meet My Folks, American Princess, and Bands Reunited 2 (where I found myself trapped in Billy Idol's driveway and later scaled a fence in order to get to one of the New Kids on the Block.) I was also showrunner on the first season on the aforementioned RHOC. (Ah, Slade and Jo. You made great TV!)
But reality TV is only half my career. I've spent the other half as a writer in scripted TV. I've written episodes of In the Heat of the Night, Homicide: Life on the Street, Moloney and nearly 300 episodes of the daytime soaps General Hospital and Guiding Light, for which I won an Emmy as part of the writing team in 2007.
I don't bring up my scripted experience to brag (though you did catch Emmy winner, right?), I do it because I like to be straight up. People see I have a scripted background and immediately assume that the reality shows I work on are scripted. My answer to that? Nope. Nuh-uh. No way (At least not the ones I work on). It is not my job -– or any of the producers or story team -– to tell the cast members what to say. It is our job to tell the cast's stories.
Trust me on this one. If I wanted to write dialogue for cast members to spout, I'd hire actors. In reality TV, you don't cast someone to play a role you've created, you cast someone with a dynamic personality that already exists.
It's the story person that whittles a 90-minute dinner down to a 3-minute scene, just like a screenwriter adapts an 800-page novel into 120 pages of script. So again, let me repeat, I do not write lines of dialogue for the Housewives. I just shape their lives into entertaining and dramatic stories, which I can't wait for you to see!
Speaking of which, enough about me -- you really want to hear about the ladies, right? Among the BH Wives are an NBA team owner, two former child stars who also happen to be Paris Hilton's aunts, and Kelsey Grammer's soon to be ex-wife. The marital split happens during our season, and you are not going to believe the inside stuff you will get to see. Among the other highlights of this season: a party in a $55 million dollar mansion, backstage at the premiere of a Broadway show, a dinner party from Hell that you have to see to believe, and a brutal sisterly argument that is one of the most intense things I've witnessed in the nearly twenty years I've been working in reality TV.
So RHBH fans, please leave your thoughts (good and bad), questions, rants and raves in the comments section and I'll address them in my next blog.
Final fun fact: I make a Hitchcockian cameo in the premiere episode. See if you can spot me! I'll reveal next blog!