‘Real Housewives’: How Producers Trick Stars to Get the Most Drama

If you’ve watched any of the Real Housewives franchise, then you know that each show has its fair share of drama. There hasn’t been a single trip that the women have gone on that hasn’t resulted in an ended friendship, broken glasses, or some shocking revelation.

Truly, we cannot get enough of it.

But with so much drama happening in every episode, we have to wonder, how much of it is real?

Some people think that the show is scripted, but really the producers are just utilizing a few tricks to optimize the drama.

How do the producers keep the drama up?

One of the easiest tricks that the producers like to use on the cast is giving the members different call times. On the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Dorit Kemsley and Teddi Mellencamp had a huge argument over what time they were supposed to meet. Mellencamp thought the other housewife was 45 minutes late but Kemsley insisted that she was only 20 minutes late.

This could have been a geniune error on Kemsley’s part or it could have been an ingenious scheme by production to get some friction going between the members of the cast.

Annonymous texts

You know how from time to time a housewife will suddenly become enraged at another cast member after hearing that that person has been saying something shady about them? A lot of times, the housewife will say that she heard the information from a friend or blogger. What’s weird about these situation is that the women never reveal who tipped them off. And for such a gossipy group of ladies, that certainly isn’t the norm.

The real reason they never reveal their sources is because it’s usually a producer who spilled the beans.

Seating order for the housewives

If you’ve ever watched a particularly tense or drama-filled Real Housewives dinner scene and wondered why mortal enemies were sitting next to each other, then you’ve probably already caught on to this trick. Producers will typically create a seating chart for these dinner scenes to promote the most drama.

A former producer sat down with Business Insider to dish on how they make it happen.

“You’ll say, ‘When you walk up, you’re going to sit next to him and sit across from her,’ in some cases,” the producer said. “Sometimes the whole cast knows where they’re sitting, and sometimes they don’t know. Sometimes just a few know.”

Do producers plan the storylines?

So, the show isn’t necessarily scripted, but producers will guide the drama.

Another producer told the outlet that they will try to set up storyline before filming starts.

“I’ll put it into their heads so they think about it organically,” the producer said. “I’ll trick them. Basically, I’ll sort of give them story beats a couple days in advance or remind them what’s happening in real life and what we want to see in a subtle way, so they don’t know I’m doing it”

The person went on to describe how they plant things in the stars’ heads.

“You simply prompt them and you say, ‘Hey, so-and-so, I know you feel this way, tell him about that.'”

“In a weird way, you’re doing on-camera therapy, but all you’re actually doing is bringing out the tension that exists between these two people and letting them talk it out. I know this sounds bizarre, but I have seen relationships actually improve because of the intervention of the show in people’s lives.”

Read more: Which ‘Real Housewives’ Series Has Been on Air the Longest?

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