Reality TV producer talks on-air fights

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    Are the conversations and relationships we see on reality TV authentic? Meh, fans may never get to the bottom of that one, but viewers can believe the infamous fights that they see between reality TV stars.

    The fights are real and some seem predictable after editing, but how prepared are show producers for the drink splashing, bottle throwing and hair pulling? Are they worried about their own safety while the cameras roll?

    S2S talked with producer Carlos King, who worked on all four seasons of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and currently is an Executive Producer for VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta,” for his behind-the-scene perspective on reality fights.

    Carlos was on set when Sheree Whitfield tugged at Kim Zolciak’s wig on Season 1 of “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” “That was my first time experiencing some hand-on-body action. So as a producer we’re all just so shocked and surprised it was happening,” Carlos recalled. “And of course if it ever got physical we would break it up.”
     
    Once they get to know their cast, the producers can start to anticipate their actions.

    “When it comes to ‘Love and Hip-Hop’ we have security on set. So whenever someone gets physical, security jumps in and kind of breaks the fights up. But on ‘Housewives’ we don’t have security on set because it’s just not that type of show,” Carlos told S2S.

    Fans of "LHHATL" got a glimpse of Carlos de-escalating K.Michelle after her table shaking argument with Karlie Redd in episode five, but the people you see stepping between fighting divas aren’t always producers.

    “The security guards are insured,” Carlos explained. “Whereas the producers are more focused on telling the story, and if we get hit with a glass, you know, that’s a whole big issue. So that’s why we have security on set.”

    While Carlos insists that reality shows are not scripted, he says his job entails getting the cast to confront difficult situations and people they may usually avoid. This role leads to producers being blamed for instigating situations that lead to fights.

    Carlos is proud that he has not been a part of a show that is known for fighting, but it "LHHATL" has its moments. Hopefully, he won’t face anything as dangerous as Kimbella and Erica Mena’s fight on “Love and Hip Hop” New York where champagne flutes were thrown.

    “I didn’t work on ‘Love and Hip Hop’ New York so when those glasses were being thrown, I was like, ‘How would I deal with that?’  But that’s real life stuff. If the cameras weren’t rolling I’m sure that they would be throwing more than just glasses.” 

    The “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” reunion show is sure to be drama-filled, but the question is: Will anyone put ‘dem paws’ on their cast mate?  

    Get more from Carlos in the September 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister.

    — Sabrina M. Parker

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