Thursday, February 11, 2016

Why I Declined a Role on Real Housewives of Dallas

Cynthia Smoot with LeeAnne Locken and Tiffany Hendra

After the cast announcement was FINALLY released for Bravo's Real Housewives of Dallas today, my phone blew UP. I got so many calls and text messages, Facebook posts, and tweets asking a) why I wasn't on the cast and b) if I wasn't on the cast, why in the world had I not written about this show sooner if I knew about it!? Let me explain... I realize many of you probably think that this blog is my full-time job - but it's not. I am a publicist for an ad agency and back in the Summer of 2014 I was representing a Dallas real estate agent who had previously lived in California. Years ago Bravo's had tried to cast her for the Real Housewives of Orange County. She wasn't interested in that show but the producers liked her and they had kind of kept tabs on her throughout the years. In the summer of 2014 Bravo was exploring the idea of a possible offshoot of Million Dollar Listings in Houston or Dallas. A casting agent reached out to my client to gauge her interest in MDL and I got looped into the conversation because of my role as her publicist. That show never happened, but a few months later they came back around and said they were working on another show they thought would be an even better fit for her. This would be a reality show about women who had once had everything money could buy - houses, cars, servants, jewelry - and for whatever reason had lost it all and were rebuilding their lives. It would be a show about second chances. As we began having conversations about the concept and my client's possible role in the show, the casting agent asked me if I knew other women that might be a fit. So, from the earliest stages of this game, I was right smack dab in the middle of this project.

To read more about the Real Housewives of Dallas, CLICK HERE!

The casting agent kept saying to me, "Don't you want to be considered for this show? You would be great on a reality TV program!" At the time, I thought it would be a conflict of interest, considering my role with said client as her marketing and PR representative. So, I declined each time I was asked.  The show obviously morphed over the next few months and the "second chances" angle got dropped. The working title was now "How To Make it in Dallas". And let me make it clear that at this point Bravo was not involved. We had no idea what network this show would end up on. By the fall of 2014, the cast had been selected and two of my best friends had made the cut: LeeAnne Locken and Tiffany Hendra. I run in the same social circles as Cary Deuber and we have been friendly for several years. Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman were new names to me and I didn't get to know them until filming began. It was several months into filming that we found out that it would indeed be Bravo that this show would air on. I think it's really important to keep this in mind when watching the show - to know that no one involved knew what they were filming for. It was truly about just letting cameras follow you around and capture your daily life and interactions with the other cast members.

So, let's get to the part about how a blogger who writes about reality tv and celebrities could know so much about this project and not be shouting about it from the rooftops. I have written about Most Eligible Dallas, Courtney Loves Dallas, DALLAS, The A List: Dallas, and pretty much every reality show that has filmed here over the last 8 years. If you recall, Big Rich Texas filmed here several years ago for the Style network. As per the norm, I had gotten friendly with the cast members and chronicled many of their dramas. There is always a lot going on behind the scenes with any show and during filming the cast isn't allowed to speak about what's taking place. It's in their contract that they can't divulge any information that would be considered a "spoiler" prior to the show airing. So they were more than happy to tell me things and have me voice the drama on their behalf. They got to dig on their cast mates and have their voice heard and I got scoop that no one else had. It was a win/win scenario. Except that the Producers of the show got very unhappy that I kept divulging scoop about the show and their cast and banned me from any set where they were filming. They also issued a decree that no cast member was allowed to talk to me. (Which didn't work, by the way, they all still did.) But it did make my job a lot harder. So when this show rolled around I had two choices: a) I could stick with my Nancy Drew role and be the blog that had all the scoop first, knowing it would cause major problems with the production company or b) I could keep my mouth shut, be a part of what was happening, enjoy the ride with my friends and still have all the best scoop - but just have to share it later and give up being first. I decided the later. And as a result, was involved in many of the show's scenes. So, in a way, I am a part of it and chances are (depending on editing) that you will see me popping up here and there on the show in a "friend of the real housewives" sort of role.

Keeping the show - and then the cast - a secret has been super hard. But I do not regret my decision. In the end, I didn't get the satisfaction of breaking any news but I have had an amazing time being a part of the process. I have fabulous antidotes, photos from the scenes/events and gossip that no one else has and I will be sharing it all... as the segments air. Best of all, I have had a complete and utter BLAST going through this experience with my friends. And the coolest part, is that the best is yet to come! If you are interested in getting to know these ladies, connect with me on my social channels and get ready to follow along... It's gonna be a wild ride! 

To read more about the Real Housewives of Dallas, CLICK HERE!

UPDATE 2.13.16
LeeAnne Locken corrected me on one detail. Initially, the network was not disclosed - so I was correct about that - but by the time they had narrowed it down to a small group of ladies for consideration, Bravo had signed on to greenlight the pilot. It is true that the ladies selected did not know they were filming Real Housewives. The "working title" was How To Make it In Dallas and the Ladies of Dallas before Bravo finally decided to launch this show as RHOD. Pardon the error, but this did all happen a year and a half ago. I can barely remember what I did a week ago!