Working Overtime

Our producer explains that we'll never know what really happened with Kyle and Camille, and why he's glad he won't.

Well, let the drama begin, right? It’s funny how things happen in life-–and on a reality show. The argument between Kyle and Camille really developed out of a perfect storm of events coming together. (And there’s way more to come in next week’s episode.)

First off, let me address the original conversation in Las Vegas that caused all the subsequent drama. I keep getting the question-–why didn’t we show that conversation? And did we choose not to show it to try and influence the audience to side with either lady?

The simple answer is that we didn’t show that Las Vegas conversation because we didn’t shoot it. Other than Big Brother, which I worked on as a producer in season 2 (the Evil Dr. Will year), no other reality show I’m aware of shoots 24/7. It’s just too cost prohibitive. So it was my decision to choose to not shoot on our travel day back to Los Angeles–-and that’s the day the Kyle-Camille dispute happened.

Did I make the wrong choice? The obvious answer would be yes. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think it was the best possible thing to happen to us. Allow me to explain.

Producing a reality show is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. As the showrunner, it’s my job to make sure that both the cast and crew know that I have their backs and I am going to look out for their best interests at all times. I cannot stress that point enough. We worked for two incredibly long days shooting from morning till late at night. I needed to reward the team by letting them have a little time off to relax. And when I say “team,” I’m including the cast in that. I knew I was better served by letting them have some time off. Again, my team, both cast and crew, has to develop a trust in me. Because down the line, there are always going to be tough times, and if there is no trust established–-things completely fall apart.

Secondly, the Vegas trip was still pretty early in our shooting schedule. Anyone who has seen a Housewives show knows they thrive on conflict. And I very much got the sense that our cast was willing to go there if they felt a genuine conflict…but it was also clear to me that no one wanted to be the first one to do it. So the conflict that wound up happening off-camera between Kyle and Camille –-I one hundred percent believe it never would’ve happened if cameras were rolling. And since this feud winds up twisting and turning and basically scorching through the rest of our season, the producer in me is very glad it happened!

And finally, I’m thrilled we didn’t shoot it because things get so intense in this feud I am certain Kyle and Camille would’ve come to me at a certain point and said, “Can we just see the video so we can end this one and for all?”

But that option was never possible, because no video of it ever existed. So did Kyle say what Camille thinks she did? I honestly don’t know, because I was about fifty yards away when the incident happened. I didn’t hear it. Neither did Lisa, or Adrienne, or Taylor, or any of the husbands. The only three people who witnessed that conversation are Kyle, Camille and Kim. And like the classic Japanese movie Rashomon (wow-–never thought I’d reference a Japanese movie in this blog!), each of the three women remembers it differently. So who’s right? And here’s the beauty, at least for the show, we’ll never know! Which is precisely why Kyle and Camille get so worked up about this issue--they both feel the need to prove themselves correct.

Producing a reality show requires lots of skills. Sometimes, you need to be a therapist. Sometimes, you need to be the organizer. And sometimes, you need to have a little ESP. Since Lisa, Kyle, Kim and Taylor flew to New York on our first day of shooting there, we thought they’d be tired and the shoot day would end in that hotel suite. But a funny thing happened. Kyle pulled Camille to the private bedroom to “clear the air,” which they presumably did. It was after 11 p.m. and the next night was Kelsey’s premiere, so we figured that would be the late night. Nope. After the “clearing the air” talk, the ladies all surprised us by deciding they wanted a cocktail and some late night dinner. Trouble was, our crew was scheduled to wrap. We didn’t have a restaurant cleared. And while all the ladies were smiling and happy, the little voice in the back of my head started talking to me.

“This isn’t over. This is gonna blow. And it’s gonna blow big!”

I convinced the ladies to go freshen up, which gave us approximately 15 minutes to find a restaurant that would allow us to film and set up a few lights, all the while convincing my Line Producer Dave Patry (who handles the budget) that I wasn’t crazy and this would be worth all the overtime we’d wrack up.

Cut to fifteen minutes later. My ridiculously talented Senior Segment Producer Ken Schoech had somehow convinced a restaurant that was about to close to let us shoot there. My immensely talented Director of Photography Matt Valentine was doing his best to light an incredibly dark room. The ladies started arriving-–and just like the little voice in my head predicted-–the smiles had disappeared. Camille was angry, and so was Kyle. I literally used every person I could to try and keep the women separated. But once I realized we couldn’t stop the eruption from happening, I remember shouting on the walkie, “Stop lighting! We need to shoot! NOW!”

Three hours of overtime later, we finished shooting one of the most intense and pivotal events of season one.

Not that my work night was over. Far from it. But I think I will save the story of one of the strangest nights of my career for next week’s blog.

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