Salahis not stars of DC "Housewives," other cast insists
White House party crashers Michaele and Tareq Salahi are not the stars of Bravo's upcoming "The Real Housewives of D.C." and their White House partying ways are, in fact "one small snippet" of the first season, two of the non-Michaele cast members said Thursday with all the certainty of people who have not yet seen any of the episodes.
The "one small snippet" line was Mary Schmidt Amons's. She's the wealthy granddaughter of '50s broadcast Arthur Godfrey cum McLean mother of five. She's the one you're going to see in the first episode telling Stacie Scott Turner - a real estate agent and the show's only African American cast member - that Washington hair salons "need to integrate" because, "we have different hair, different needs, but why do we need to be in different salons?"
On a phone conference call with The Reporters Who Cover Television, Mary wanted to make sure everyone understood the show "is not all about the Salahis."
"We spent five months together, and we spent a lot of time sharing our stories, and I think that the American public is going to be really interested and inspired by our stories," she said, sounding very much like someone who's none too happy about having been upstaged by Michaele Salahi.
"I think viewers are going to be so surprised to find out the White House Party crash is not the crescendo of the show," added Stacie, who was the other housewife on the call.
One reporter wondered whether the Salahis, whose party crashing ways got them all the way to NBC's "Today" show - twice -- had "tarnished" the "Real Housewives" show. This, of course, was asked by a guy -- who clearly is out of his depth trying to cover "The Real Housewives" story, because otherwise he'd know "tarnished" would be an improvement to this gloriously tacky franchise.
He put the question to Stacie only. Because Mary, shortly after being asked how much she had been paid to do the show and responding, after a long, annoyed pause, that she was not comfortable with the question, suddenly vanished from the call and only returned for the call's last few minutes, explaining "Matt put a baseball through our living room window." (Matt's one of her children.)
Anyway, Stacie answered the guys' question, saying the whole gate-crashing thing threw all the other housewives "totally off guard."
"It was so unbelievable because they'd been nothing but nice and normal around us," Stacie said, adding, "things did change a little bit after that point."
"I was just shocked that anybody would have the gall to crash a party like that," Stacie said, later in the call after taking the umpteenth question about the Salahis and a note had started to creep into her voice suggesting she was starting to think the Salahis had pulled a fast one and hijacked this show.
"I couldn't personally imagine - it just makes you wonder: did they really believe they were invited? I can't imagine who would have the gumption to do that," Stacie asked rhetorically.
In reality - the real reality, not the made-for-TV reality - the five housewives of DC did all not know each other before being cast in this series. Or, so said Stacie, now flying solo on the phone call.
This came as a surprise to some reporters, who had come away from all the Bravo hype thinking they were, you know, people who knew each other. Except Brit Catherine Ashley Ommanney, who is playing the role of a relative newcomer in town.
"I did not know any of the ladies intimately. I had met Mary a couple of times - we have mutual friends, we had crossed paths," Stacie said, adding nicely, "it was great getting to know them."
Both women, who seemed intimately familiar with the other iterations of the "Real Housewives" franchise, said they were approached by the producers about doing the show and gave it a lot of thought before agreeing to participate.
Stacie said she agreed to do the show after the producers won her over with talk about "their vision for the show" and how the DC "Housewives" was going to be oh so different than the other "Housewives" series on Bravo that have become such a ratings hit with all their loony table- flipping fights and vampire accusations.
The producers told Stacie how "the backdrop of DC makes for a different story," "there will be different storylines you haven't seen before," and "we have some really important provocative substantive conversations about political issues" on this version, she explained.
"Our producers are more interested in featuring these five ladies, and what they do and bring to the city, rather than any catfights and drama," Mary said, in her pre-Matt Put Baseball Through Window phase -- proving she had not seen the first episode.
"I think overall our show is going to be very different in that it's going to be much less about dramas than it is about issues and political views -- and all that stuff," Mary said.
Asked what political issues would be front-and-center on the show, Stacie brought up the issue of gay marriage. Mary did not weigh in, but she'd vanished at that point.
But, when asked if we were going to see any politicians in "The Real Housewives of D.C." Stacie quickly responded, "You know they can't do that."
This was intriguing. We wanted to hear more. She had more to say:
"One of the things that was really difficult in terms of casting, is that in DC so many people who are in politics -- it's super-conservative -- there are so many people that couldn't do the show for that reason, and confidentiality," she explained.
Wait a minute! House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, CIA director Leon Panetta, and White House assistant chief Sam Kass have been booked to appear in this season's episodes of Bravo's "Top Chef: DC"!
We let it go.
Lisa de Moraes
July 22, 2010; 4:49 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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