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A RHONY Producer Reveals for the First Time What They "Didn't Show" on Scary Island
At BravoCon 2022, RHONY producer Matt Anderson reveals the shocking Scary Island moments that never made it to air.
BravoCon 2022 was full of surprises, including flying sparks between Ashley Darby and Luke Gulbranson, Heather Dubrow revealing she bought a “love shack” in L.A., and an abrupt exit from Kathy Hilton. But it wasn’t just Bravolebs who were spilling tea. The three-day New York City spectacular, held at the Javits Center from October 14 to 16, also brought Bravo producers to the stage to share secrets from the most unforgettable moments in Bravo history, straight from the people who witnessed it up close and personal.
At the Iconic Vacations panel on October 16, The Real Housewives of New York City producer Matt Anderson gave his first-ever interview on quite possibly the most well-known episode of RHONY: Scary Island.
“It’s kind of exciting to be here to talk about it, because I’ve never done an interview about it,” Anderson shared while seated on the couch next to Luann de Lesseps, who was on the show at the time but skipped the trip. One of the most remarkable things about that vacation was that it was a Bravo trailblazer of sorts: “It was really the first Housewives trip that was — it was 2009 — that was kind of far-flung with multiple locations and all of that,” he shared.
Going into that first big trip, Anderson said he felt there was “a lot stacked against” production, including Jill Zarin and Luann’s absences, and Bethenny Frankel being in “the first trimester of a very difficult pregnancy” and recently losing her father. “I was looking at a trip with four people, happily Bethenny decided to come,” he recalled. “We’d never taken the Housewives on the road before. I didn’t know what it would be like to take care of them 24/7, and it was hard.”
One of the toughest elements happened behind the scenes. “I didn’t bring enough producers,” he said. “We were seriously understaffed.” Between Ramona Singer “on the Hooters boat,” turtle time, and Bethenny and Kelly Bensimon “ripping each other’s face off,” he said, “it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.” The stress even spilled over into his holiday. “It was right before Thanksgiving break, and I slept for four days straight.”
Later, in response to a fan’s question about Bethenny’s infamous confrontation with Kelly, Anderson added that “there was a lot [they] didn’t show” in the actual episode “because you have to edit it down.”
One such moment included Kelly pulling a now-famous Housewives’ trick for scrapping a scene: breaking the fourth wall. “It was a crazy night. Kelly felt like she had to stay at that dinner — the one in the purple maxi dress — and we kept saying, ‘If you’re agitated, you can leave.’ And she did kind of the first proto ‘Bravo, Bravo, f--king Bravo,’ because she was in the scene and she didn’t like where it was going, and so she just said my name over and over. She goes, ‘Matt, Matt, Matt, Matty, Matty...’ And that’s where Bethenny was like ‘Go to sleep!’”
The biggest drama might have actually gone down after Kelly went to bed. “We put [Kelly] to bed and I kind of calmed down all the women, and that’s where I sort of felt like the trip was over for her, despite what she might tell you. That’s really what happened. So I went up to her room, and she’d actually, like, talked two other producers into letting her stay. They’re like, ‘I think she’s OK now.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I think it’s time to go home.” ... So we sent her home. She quit the show the next day. And happily, she decided to do the rest of the season, but she was really upset with how things went.”
Still, Kelly made sure to part on good terms. Anderson concluded, “I will say she wrote a thank-you note to every person on the cast and every single producer and every crew member before she left. I mean, that is a lot of writing… I should have saved the thank-you note.”