The producers and network execs behind Bravoâs âReal Housewivesâ franchise know that fans want a full view of the ladiesâ lives â and they work hard to capture the good, bad and sometimes heartbreaking moments that make for great TV.
Such was the case when Lauren Kaylor, a veteran producer of multiple âHousewivesâ series, discovered Lenny Hochsteinâs hot mic rant that caused the current maelstrom surrounding Peacockâs reboot of âThe Real Housewives of Miami.â
âYou just never know whatâs there and you donât always know whatâs happening at these parties until you get back into the edit bay and you can really dissect and get into it,â Kathleen French, SVP, Current Production, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, told Page Six Monday during a panel at the 2023 Realscreen Summit in Austin, Tx.
According to French, it took âhours and hours and hoursâ for Kaylor to track down Hochsteinâs whispered diatribe, during which the plastic surgeon revealed to a friend his plan to leave now-estranged wife Lisa Hochstein for girlfriend Katharina Mazepa.
âOne day, [Kaylor] was having a sandwich and she said, âI want to know what Lenny was doing during the party.â â¦ She was listening to his audio the whole time and she was the one who found the hot mic moment juxtaposed with Lisa outside talking about how wonderful the marriage is,â she continued.
âThereâs a certain style of prouder. And I call them âpart ferretâ because they just get in there and they listen. Theyâre looking for things and they just have an intuitive sense of whatâs happened. Itâs really what makes âHousewivesâ âHousewives.ââ
French was joined onstage at Realscreen by other âHousewivesâ creators â including Pamela Gimenez, VP, Unscripted Current Production, Documentary & Lifestyle at NBC Entertainment; Lorraine Haughton-Lawson, SVP, Current Production at Truly Original; and Alex Baskin, CEO of the newly launched 32 Flavors Entertainment.
The foursome â each of them instrumental in building the âHousewivesâ empire â discussed how the franchise has evolved into a pop culture phenomenon more than 15 years after âThe Real Housewives of Orange Countyâ debuted as the first iteration.
âItâs a great franchise. Weâre really proud of it. The people who work on the shows love the shows,â said French, who works on âThe Real Housewives of Beverly Hillsâ and âRHOM.â âI think the women are proud of what they do and speaking both as an executive producer but also as a network exec, Iâm so proud of the franchises as well.â
To date, 11 American editions, 19 international versions and multiple spinoffs have been produced â including Peacockâs wildly successful âReal Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip,â a show that convenes âHousewivesâ from far and wide in luxe locales like Turks and Caicos and Thailand.
âI feel that it is this Marvel Cinematic Universe. Everyone has their storyline and then they all kind of come together,â observed Gimenez, who oversees creative production for âThe Real Housewives of New Jerseyâ and âRHOM.â
âKyle [Richards] is friends with Marysol [Patton] and Teresa [Giudice] speaks to Alexia [Echevarria]. They give each other their psychic numbers and where they can get their injections from,â she elaborated. âItâs really this universe, this ecosystem that has been created.â
Execs and producers agree that authenticity is key for âHousewivesâ to thrive in that ecosystem.
âSome people really think that they can come on the show and hide their real lives,â said Haughton-Lawson, who produces âThe Real Housewives of Potomacâ and âThe Real Housewives of Atlanta.â
She applauds Kandi Burruss, in particular, for keeping it real on the latter show for a consecutive 13 seasons.
âWeâve seen some ups and downs. Sheâs got into it with her mother, her mother didnât like her fiancÃ©, she married him anyway, she had children on the show, she just gives [to the audience],â Haughton-Lawson said of the Grammy winner.
âKandi knows what this is about. She knows what sheâs supposed to give to the process.â
Ideally, the process also includes keeping Bravo in the loop on major life developments before the public catches wind. Erika Jayne notably gave French and Baskin, who produces âRHOBHâ and âRHOC,â a heads-up about her divorce from Tom Girardi before papers were filed on Election Day 2020.
âI got a phone call from her â¦ and she said, âIâm calling you first because I want you to know Iâm about to file for divorce with Tom Girardi.â And I said, âOh my God, does he have another woman?ââ French recounted.
âAnd she goes, âOh no, much worse. Youâll find out.â And Iâm like, âOK.ââ
In December 2020, disgraced attorney Girardi â now anÂ Alzheimerâs disease and dementiaÂ patientÂ living in a memory care facilityÂ â and JayneÂ were suedÂ by Edelson PC for allegedly embezzling funds meant for the families, including orphans and widows, affected by 2018âs Lion Air Flight 610 plane crash.Â
Jayne denied the charges against her and was dismissed from the fraud lawsuit by January 2022.
âI called Alex afterward and then Andy Cohen,â French said. âBut that was very shocking.â
Baskin, for his part, said he had âheard rumblingsâ about the scandal â but âdidnât believeâ any of it was true until the âPretty Messâ singer shared the news with him herself.
âIt still amazes us, people who have that much baggage go on the shows. People think that we dig that up and are looking for that,â he added. âWeâre actually not.â
While plenty of insider stories were told at Mondayâs Realscreen panel â titled âCase Study: Inside the âReal Housewivesâ Phenomenonâ â participants also doled out advice for attending reality producers who aspire to one day be in their positions.
Baskin told the crowd that itâs important to be a fan of the genre. âYou have to love it,â he insisted.
âHousewivesâ producers should also âlove the cast,â French advised. âThere are times when youâre not going to love the cast,â she confessed. âBut pretty much, you have to love them all the time and you really have to look for the good in them and you have to believe in them. They can feel it if you donât.â
Meanwhile, Haughton-Lawson joked that her experience managing so many different personalities across âRHOPâ and âRHOAâ has inspired her to go back to school for a psychology degree.
âIf youâre not really passionate about this, itâs going to be a hard job for you because once you get deep in it, the cast is calling you all the time. Like, they think weâre therapists,â she said with a laugh.
âIâve talked people through so many things I thought I should go get a psychology degree on the side because I now really think Iâm low-key, like, a therapist.â
The post How ‘Housewives’ producers discovered Lenny Hochstein’s hot mic moment appeared first on Page Six.