Bravo Executive Reveals How ‘Housewives’ Home Confessionals Are Shot
Bravo had to quickly pivot to using footage shot by cast members at home in order to continue delivering content during the pandemic. From Camp Getaway to The Real Housewives of New York City, producers scrambled to ensure confessionals continued to flow, albeit being shot in a cast member’s kitchen instead of a studio.
Fans have had mixed reactions to the home confessionals. Some viewers embraced the “realness” of the less-glam confessionals. Even laughing when Ramona Singer’s daughter Avery marched through her mother’s confessional and delivered her own remarks.
However, others aren’t loving the quarantine confessionals, commenting that they seem off-brand, especially for the Housewives. Salena Rochester, the Director of Current Production and Development for Bravo and E! recently shared how the confessionals are produced.
Producers FaceTime with the cast for confessionals
Rochester shared that each show made decisions about how the confessionals will look and feel. “Some of those confessionals are shot after the season, and that’s because you have to ask questions about the finale event, or what have you. You have to figure out, how do you shoot with everyone quarantined? Producers can’t come to your house. The women can’t leave. You can’t have glam. It’s just crazy,” Rochester told Bravo’s The Daily Dish podcast.
She used Married to Medicine Los Angeles as an example of how one show dealt with home confessionals. Rochester said that each cast member received a “production kit” which included an “iPhone for shooting video, a lighting kit, and sound equipment.” Producers then called each cast member to take them through set up.
“We were all just like, ‘How is this going to go?’’ But in the end, they were really good,” Rochester said. “They were able to set up the lighting, set up the sound, I think we had iPhones on tripods. Typically, there’s an actual producer in the room asking questions, and so this was a little difficult because there was no producer in the room. Some of the time, we’re asking questions that can be quite emotional.”
Home confessionals received mixed-reviews
Rochester admits that having the entire industry flying blind made it a little easier to swallow when productions weren’t perfect. “There was a margin of error,” she said. “Luckily, everyone in the industry was going through this, so we knew that if we weren’t perfect, it would be okay. But we wanted to be as close to perfect as possible. Most producers are type-A personalities. Especially creatives are like, ‘No, it has to look beautiful.’”
Fans had strong opinions after RHONY home confessionals dropped. “Only Luann would have a picture of herself in her confessionals,” one person tweeted. Others thought de Lesseps’ confessional audio needed audio assistance. “yikes they need to fix luanns confessional audio come on Andy y’all had 3 weeks to fix this,” a fan shared.
But one person tweeted that any content was better than nothing. “Complain all you want, but I’d rather have Housewives with bizarre, harshly-lit Zoom confessionals than no Housewives at all,” one person tweeted.