Right out of the gate, let me admit this is one of my favorite episodes of the season. So much drama. So much humor. So much bling!
Of course, I can say that now. But let me flash back to the night of April 17 – the night of the big New York fight, when the proverbial s*** hit the fan – both on camera and off. And I literally thought the show was self-destructing.
As I said in my last blog, most reality shows – in particular Housewives shows – thrive on conflict. All of the ladies knew that before being cast. But let me stop here to clarify. We do not in any way, shape or form, encourage the women to create phony arguments. The only thing we tell them is that if you are having a genuine conflict with someone, be open about it.
So that's what happened in New York. The arguments – first Kyle and Camille, then Kim and Taylor, and finally Kim and Kyle – were all real, painfully real. And the women were not at all prepared for that.
Kim, Kyle and Lisa all come from acting backgrounds. (Did you know that about Lisa? She guest-starred in two '90s series, Silk Stalkings and Baywatch Nights.) So this trio knew what it was like to play characters who have arguments. And I think, in some way, they expected it to feel the same on our show. That the moment the argument is over, you don't feel anything because you're just playing a role that you walk away from at the end of the day. It's different in reality. Even after cameras go down, the feelings don't go away, because it isn’t a role. It's you. And not only was America going to see them at their worst, so were their children.
We stopped shooting around 1 a.m. – several hours into overtime. I sent the crew to wrap out, because we had a huge shoot day the next day…That is, if we had any cast members left to shoot. All the women were enormously unhappy and many were considering walking off the show.
At the same time, we were worrying if the biggest chunk of our shoot day the next day – attending Kelsey's premiere – was even going to happen. We had been granted incredible access to Kelsey's Broadway show La Cage Aux Folles. (For those of you unfamiliar, La Cage was first performed on Broadway in 1983 and was later turned into the movie The Birdcage. Kelsey is playing the Robin Williams role.) But our access to the show all hinged on Kelsey's approval…and Kelsey's wife had just had a horrible argument with Kyle. Not to mention, it was the premiere of his first Broadway show in years and it was an important night for him. Would he really risk jeopardizing that for our show and our drama?
But back to the women, who couldn't decide if they were mad at each other or mad at me. I used my producers, Brenda Coston, Christopher Cullen and Sallyanne King, to try and calm them down as much as possible, while I was on the phone with my bosses and all the various management types of the women. Yeah, that's another thing that sets this cast apart. They come with managers, public relations reps and assistants – all of whom wanted to find out what happened – while also occasionally yelling at me. And honestly, that's part of my job description. I try to keep on as good as terms with the cast as possible, but when you are asking people to be incredibly vulnerable on camera, sometimes their emotion is going to be directed at you.
Many conversations, many phone calls and many drinks later – not to mention a very odd demand that we start dancing at 4 a.m. – which we did - (hey - anything for the show!) – and everyone at least agreed to shoot the next thing that was scheduled – Lisa and Kyle going shopping the next morning. That was the real turning point of the entire series for me. After a night of arguments and tears, Lisa and Kyle were able to laugh and make jokes. "I feel like I've been shagged through a hedge backwards." Possibly my favorite line of the season!
As you know, we were able to convince everyone to go forward, and got unprecedented access to Kelsey's premiere! Seriously, I'm still amazed all these months later: the red carpet, inside the theater, intermission, the curtain call, backstage, the after-party. I've never seen anything like it on any other reality show. Hope you all enjoyed it! And keep the comments and questions coming. We like to hear what you think.