The Bravo Clubhouse was a whole lot more crowded than usual on Wednesday night when Andy Cohen hosted a "Watch What Happens Live All-Star Party," a veritable orgy of the network's demi-celebrities.
Everyone was there, including marquee names like Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, breakout star Bethenny Frankel, and Bravo B-listers like what's-her-name from "Flipping Out" who looks like Julia Louis-Dreyfus. As Kathy Griffin aptly described the event, "This is like the most messed-up Golden Globes I've ever seen."
Of course, no Bravo gathering would be complete without plenty of housewives. The "All-Star Party" featured trainwreck musical performances by LuAnn "The Countess" de Lessepsand Melissa Gorga, but the official lowlight was almost certainly the "Real Housewives Battle Royale." For the quiz game, 18 different housewives were divided into two teams --East Coast versus West Coast -- and asked questions on "their favorite two subjects -- themselves, and each other," as Cohen put it. Not surprisingly, the contest quickly descended into a Babel-esque cacophony of shrill screams, like a "Housewives" reunion show condensed into four brief but blood-curdling minutes. It was so harrowing that even the usually indefatigable Cohen appeared to lose his patience.
You can watch the "Battle Royale" above, but be warned: You may want to be sure all your crystal is tucked away in a safe place before you press play.
Mark this date in history: “The Real Housewives Live Tour” is actually something that is happening.
With all the singing that the ladies (and Simon) are doing, you’d think it’d be the place to hear “Tardy for the Party” and “Money Can’t Buy You Class” in one convenient spot. But it seems things won’t be leaning on the music side. Instead, “Housewives” from various cities will come together for a three-city tour and discuss “the most talked about moments, reveal cast secrets and answer questions straight from the audience.”
Among those slated to appear are Caroline Manzo (“Real Housewives of New Jersey”), Lisa Vanderpump (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) and Jill Zarin (“Real Housewives of New York City”).
And apparently Bravo thinks attendees live the lavish "Housewives" lifestyle: Tickets range from $49.50 to $170 for the red carpet package (which includes perks like a cocktail reception hosted by "The Real Housewives" and a tour laminate and matching lanyard).
The tour kicks off in Atlantic City, N.J., Oct. 1, with stops in Chicago on Oct. 8 and Atlanta on Oct. 15. L.A.-area folks, you’re spared out of luck.
This just in: Snooki and Brad Womack could help teens get into college!
OK. That may be a slight stretch.
Some college-bound students who took Saturday’s SAT test were given this essay question:
“Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular ... How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?
Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?”
We’re sure images of “Teen Moms,” spray-tanned “Jersey Shore” cast members and Kim Kardashian danced through the test takers' heads -- for the ones who didn’t take prep classes, at least. What about the poor souls who don't watch reality TV?
“We acknowledge that not all students spend valuable hours watching reality television shows, nor are we recommending that students watch these programs,” said Laurence Bunin, senior vice president of the SAT Program for the College Board, in a statement. “However, we have found from our pretesting that students not only grasp but are quite interested in the underlying issues covered in the prompt: the effects of television on society; the desire for fame and celebrity on the part of 'ordinary people'; the authenticity and value of various 'realistic' representations (an issue central to the study of painting, film, drama and literature)."
That’s good and all. But we at Showtracker think there are better ways to gauge college hopefuls’ intelligence. Here are some better (not really) essay questions for teens:
1) By Vinny continuously refusing to ‘smush’ Snooki, what does this really say about gender expectations?
2) Compare and contrast Kim Zolciak (“Real Housewives of Atlanta”) with Madame Bovary.
3) "I’m goin out tonight, it's goin down / Headed straight to the front of the line, on the fly /On the floor I cant stand still/ And I'm goin to work like I’m paying my bills (bills)" -- from Kim Kardashian's song “Jam”
Is Kim Kardashian demonstrating her independence by working the line like she’s paying her bills or is she simply a line cutter?
ShowTrackers, what do you think of reality TV making it as an SAT essay question? How would you answer the question?
The support group of survivors from the first season of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” aired their grievances in what was practically a clinical setting on Tuesday night on Bravo.
They shared experiences seemingly exclusive to the life of a housewife in Beverly Hills: the sisterly conflicts of former child actors, who also happen to be aunts of Paris Hilton; the ex-wife of a wealthy celebrity addressing her feuds, her psychic friend and her married friend whom she kisses on the lips; and the drama of a Permanent Houseguest who storms from the nest, quite possibly seeking to wet his beak from the 15 minutes of “Housewives” fame.
Bravo threw me for a loop with the second part of the reunion. I missed it on television, expecting it on Thursday night. So, I had to play catch up with the full episode (thankfully) available on Hulu. (Click here if you want to relive it.)
I was surprised by the dignity demonstrated by women who had spent an entire season seemingly trying to strip away whatever dignity they had before the cameras. For all the drama of the last season, it culminated in a tempered, practically anemic, conversation about the lives they lived on camera.
Camille was apologetic but not really. Kim was remarkably coherent and honest about her relationship with her sister, though she declined to dig further into the allegations of alcoholism and all that went down at Taylor’s birthday party. Taylor clued us into the underlying sadness that we saw all season. And, as usual, Adrienne didn’t say much of anything.
It was Lisa who was most interesting to watch. She was her typically effervescent, humorous and classy self -- it says something about how bizarrely ostentatious a show is when the person who comes across as the sage of the cast wears a necklace that could pass for a chandelier.
Despite all the cheeky wisdom that she readily offered to others on the show, she failed to recognize the swindler (alleged, of course) within her midst. In her latimes.com live chat last week (read the transcript here if you missed it), she hinted at the pain caused by Cedric the Permanent Houseguest and the tearful discussions that would follow this week, on the second part of the reunion.
There's something about talk show host Jerry Springer that brings out the worst in his guests. Fights are always breaking out around him. And he couldn't be more pleased.
Springer is celebrating a milestone Wednesday, marking the 20th anniversary of "The Jerry Springer Show," the syndicated talk fest featuring outrageous topics such as mistresses battle wives and threesomes with Grandma. Read the feature on Springer here.
Springer is also being recognized as one of the pioneers of reality television, the genre that has sparked the confrontational "Jersey Shore" and "The Real Housewives" franchises.
Here are some video highlights -- and lowlights -- from Springer's greatest hits:
Who says that just because you love television you can't beef up your lexicon? The folks at Dictionary.com have found a few TV shows they say might actually improve your vocabulary.
Here's the list:
1. “Glee”: Musicals may take center stage, but Jane Lynch’s ego-maniac Cheerio’s coach Sue Sylvester uses some advanced vocabulary to insult her enemies. The next time you run into trouble, you may want to try: “I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your own banality.” Or perhaps, “Even your breath stinks of mediocrity.” Burn!
2. “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”: It may be about truthiness and laughs, but "The Daily Show," not unlike “The Colbert Report,” holds a lexical secret: its guests. Colbert and Stewart give air time to academics who address provocative and complex topics using some of the most advanced language on TV … before they’re lampooned, that is.
3. “Fringe”: Known for its quality research, this sci-fi series uses actual science terminology in entertaining and far-fetched ways. Crack open those textbooks and prepare to expand your vocabulary on fringe science topics such as mutants, rare diseases, chimeras and teleportation.
4. “Top Chef”: The Emmy-winning reality TV competition is a delectable way to develop your taste buds and vocabulary. Its user-friendly cooking terminology may help you decipher a few challenging cookbook terms of your own. TV never sounded this tasty.
5. “Sesame Street”: Ask any parent whose kids watch Elmo and Big Bird and you’ll learn how much viewers of any age glean from the show, with its references aimed at both grown-ups and children. “Sesame Street” is arguably the great refresher course.
6. “Yo Gabba Gabba”: Brad Pitt played one of its characters this past Halloween, confirming this fun, kitschy, live-action show is special. Infectious songs and great lessons make this show entertaining and educational.
7. “True Blood”: For such a guilty pleasure, this vampire drama offers a remarkably sophisticated vocabulary. Mythological references are rampant, but medical, historical and political references sneak in like steamed vegetables blended into mashed potatoes. Sit back, relax and let the mythical adventures take your ears for a ride.
8. “Mad Men”: Alas, we have another reason, besides Don Draper’s painfully good looks and Betty Draper’s perfect execution of 1960s fashion, to watch this Emmy-winning drama. Proper grammar, ad agency lingo and subtle historical references make this show a vocabulary-expanding experience.
When Caroline Manzo, the matriarch over on “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” walks into a room, one can’t help but stammer. Exhibit A: Danielle Staub. So it’s no surprise that Mary Schmidt Amons, part of the hit franchise’s D.C. version, found that her daughter Meghan had the same reaction … only the stammering came from excitement, not terror.
The mother-daughter duo crossed paths with Manzo, whose family is known to be “thick as thieves,” while filming an appearance on a talk show recently in New York.
“She kept shoving me, saying ‘Mom! Mom! Mom!,” Amons said during a visit to L.A. earlier this week. “We were at a busy NBC lobby, and I couldn’t figure out if there was a rock star in the corner or something. No. It was Caroline Manzo.”
Like a good neighbor, Manzo welcomed Amons to the “Housewives” block. Amons, granddaughter of legendary radio and TV personality Arthur Godfrey, is founder of D.C.-based Labels for Love and co-founder of the District Sample Sale; she became part of the "Housewives" clan when the show premiered in August. But Amons’ daughter was less impressed with her mother’s induction into the reality sorority … after all, she had just met the referee of the ham game.
“Meghan was in heaven,” Amons said. “She was like, ‘Oh, my gosh. That was ama-zzzzzzzing.”
But Manzo isn’t the only Bravo-lebrity who has won the affection of the D.C. (McLean, if you’re being precise) clan.
When Amons met “Flipping Out’s” Jeff Lewis at a recent network bash, she made sure to get photographic evidence to send to her daughter Alexandra.
“She is probably one of his biggest fans,” Amons said. “She was like ‘Nooooooo way!’ I was quite proud of myself.”
While Amons may not have the same effect on her daughters, she’s still getting some attention.
“Someone asked me to autograph a dog bed,” she said. “I mean, it doesn’t get any weirder than that.”
Outrageous antics are almost a prerequisite to being a “Real Housewife.” If you’re not flipping tables or yanking off wigs or babbling about the wonder of gummi bears, you don’t make the cut. And it seems that while new to the “Housewives” franchise, the ladies of “The Real Housewives of D.C.” are no rookies when it comes to drama. Exhibit A: the alleged White House crashing fiasco. Exhibit B: the Whoopi Goldberg incident. And the show hasn't even started!
The new neighbors to the "Housewives" block move into Bravo tonight, when the show premieres at 9. We spoke with the ladies — though, two of them wandered off midinterview (something that apparently they're good at — pre-WhoopiGate while they made their rounds at a TCA press tour afterparty last week (There was no party crashing. We were all invited.) Click on the video below and meet the new gals. They share who their favorite "Housewives" are and discuss their musical ambitions — would a song on healthcare be a hit?
A feud between “The Real Housewives of D.C.” cast member Michaele Salahi and “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg escalated Thursday when the infamous reality show figure told NBC’s “Today” show that Goldberg peppered her with profanities after her appearance on the daytime talk show.
Less than an hour later, a defiant Goldberg responded on the air. “I make no apology for my choice words,” she said on “The View,” adding that she was upset by an allegation that she hit Salahi.
It’s the latest dust-up involving the Virginia socialite, who first stepped into the limelight in November when she and her husband, Tariq, allegedly attended a reception for a White House state dinner without being on the official guest list. That prompted the Secret Service to launch an internal investigation, saying its procedure wasn’t followed, and Congress to hold a hearing on presidential security. The Salahis refused to testify at the hearing, invoking the Fifth Amendment. Since then, they have repeatedly insisted they were invited.
The incident that kicked off the newest furor occurred Wednesday, when Salahi and her fellow castmates appeared on “The View” to promote their Bravo show, which premieres Thursday.
During an interview conducted by co-hosts Joy Behar and Sherri Shepherd, Goldberg came out from backstage, lightly touched Salahi’s arm and said, “Excuse me, could you get back to the White House, please?” according to a full clip aired by “The View” on Thursday.
According to the Salahis’ attorney, Lisa Bloom, Salahi was “unnerved” when Goldberg came up to her on stage and felt demeaned and degraded by the whole experience because of the frequent references that she was a “gate crasher.”
After the taping, Salahi was crying backstage and, according to ABC, told a producer that Goldberg “hit” her. Salahi maintains that she merely said that she was upset that Goldberg had come up behind her on the air and “grabbed” her arm.
Both sides agree that the exchange that followed was heated: Goldberg went into Salahi’s dressing room and had an angry confrontation with the “Housewives” cast member and her husband. “Her husband got in my face, had his BlackBerry out and started taking pictures of me,” Goldberg said on Thursday. “And needless to say, I really went off then. And there was even more choicer words. I mean, they were so choice, you could have cut them with a knife and eaten them.”
On “Today,” Salahi said that she wasn’t upset about what Goldberg did on the air but how she treated her afterward. “I think I started crying because now I have someone I don’t even know, I’m a guest of their show, and they’re berating me,” she said.
Salahi’s fellow cast mates, who appeared with her on “Today,” didn’t appear to buy her claims. The four other women repeatedly exchanged looks of exasperation and said they were fed up with her and all the attention she generated.
“This is a show about five people,” said Mary Schmidt Amons. “We’re so finished with it.”
Lynda Erkiletian, the one cast member who was friends with Salahi before the show, said she no longer trusted Michaele and Tariq: “They live a phony fake Bonnie-and-Clyde life.”
The drama, coming right as Bravo launches the show, appears likely to heighten interest in the program.
“It’s perfect, perfect, because you couldn’t pay for this kind of publicity,” noted “Today” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.
After a month-long public records investigation, Times staff writers Matea Gold and Richard Verrier found that dozens of children are appearing on reality television shows without legal safeguards because of widespread confusion among state regulators about how to classify the shows.
In its examination of some of the most visible series featuring children under 16, The Times found that a majority had not obtained work permits to employ minors — including TLC's "19 Kids and Counting," WE TV's "Raising Sextuplets" and the entire "Real Housewives" franchise on Bravo.
Because producers say that the kids on their programs are participants, not employees, child labor laws are rarely applied. As a result, for the vast majority of these shows, there are no state-mandated instructors or union representatives on set to limit the number of hours the children are on camera, to make sure they get meal breaks and go to school, or to prevent exposure to dangerous situations. Most reality show children are not guaranteed that they will be compensated or that any money they do earn will be set aside for them.
After inquires from The Times, state agencies in California, Florida, Georgia and Virginia are looking into whether production companies violated child labor laws while filming in their states.
"There's a whole sub-text to the story here that involves reality television and the way journalism is practiced today and the way that new administrations handle themselves with the Secret Service," Dimond said during a telephone interview Friday. "And I think it's got a lot of layers and texture to it. I've been a journalist a long time. And there's almost always a deeper story to be told that we the media don't get the time or we're not allowed to tell it."
Dimond met the Salahis when she was assigned to interview them for "Entertainment Tonight." Having covered the White House earlier in her career, Dimond said the story that the politically connected couple had crashed the state dinner for India's prime minster never sat right with her. So she started digging for information, calling Secret Service sources and other Washington insiders.
Complicating the matter was that the Salahis were under contract with Bravo for their reality show and could not speak publicly about the events surrounding Nov. 24, 2009, Dimond said. In fact, Bravo's camera crews had been following the couple that day, capturing Michaele Salahi as she got her hair done for the dinner and Tareq Salahi as he ordered his tuxedo, she said. The cameras even followed them to the White House doors as they arrived, Dimond said.