‘Southern Charm’: Why Is Whitney Sudler-Smith a Producer on the Show?

Whitney Sudler-Smith on Southern Charm isn’t usually the focus of the show and that’s probably because he’s doing a lot more behind the camera. He’s a producer on the show along with being a cast member.

How did he become a producer on Southern Charm? Here is everything you need to know about his position and the true start of the reality show.

Whitney Sudler-Smith made a documentary before the show

Whitney Sudler-Smith on "Southern Charm"
Whitney Sudler-Smith on “Southern Charm” | Brianna Stello/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Sudler-Smith previously directed a few short films and created a TV pilot before getting into documentaries. He made one called Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston about the fashion designer.

I was always fascinated by New York City in the late ’70s, this incredible time in American history dominated by fashion, music, and art — and pure crime and decadence,” Whitney told The Daily Dish. “Other than Warhol, nobody embodied that time more than Halston at Studio 54.”

He then decided to make a documentary about Thomas Ravenel. That plan took a turn.

He was making a documentary about Thomas Ravenel

Ravenel served 10 months in prison after being indicted for federal drugs charges. The former State Treasurer was still considering a political comeback and Sudler-Smith thought this would be perfect for a documentary.

I felt he’d be this really compelling character,” the producer told Urban Daddy. “And I figured he’d make interesting subject matter for a documentary and/or TV show.  I did this pilot thinking it was going to be a documentary kind of exploring the myth of the Old South and reconstruction and all this bullsh*t. And my agent said at the time, ‘No, no, no, this should be a TV show, these characters are all compelling,’ and we just kind of built it out from there.”

He also revealed other shows and movies that inspired the tone of Southern Charm. “We kind of wanted to have a bit of that Downton Abbey, upstairs/downstairs thing,” he said. “We wanted some of the fun tone of Animal House, a little bit of The Bachelor thrown in. And all of it with a Bravo feel. I think we’ve stayed true to that vision for the most part.”

He is also a producer for Southern Charm: New Orleans

The show recently got a spinoff with a new city and cast. Sudler-Smith talked about getting a different kind of group of friends when taking the show to New Orleans.

It’s a different vibe from the Charleston show, more of them are married and they give off that dynamic,” he said according to Decider. He also said both cities are “characters themselves, [with] such a rich tapestry of history, the people, the culture and the traditions, however good or bad.”

The spinoff was successful enough to get a second season. That might leave the door open for possibly more spinoffs in more cities in the future.

So Sudler-Smith isn’t just getting paid for being part of the drama, but producing two shows. The whole thing started by him getting inspired by Ravenel’s story, who has now be fired from Southern Charm.