Blind Item, Reality TV

#RealityTV BLIND ITEM: “It’s (Still) About Me”

We had heard about this notorious lothario ad nauseam in seasons past. Recently, we were able to take a much needed breath as the reality show had so much more to offer us than this minor character.

We thought we had turned a chapter with the arrival of the new season, but this player has decided to plant stories in the media in the 13th hour (the 11th has long passed).

This was met with success on a day that readers felt was an optimal one for pranks. An item ran, but the timing was off. (In fact, the timing of all of this is suspect because the player is suddenly interested in defending their self.) No doubt, that only further incentivized the player to persist in getting their side of the story out.

As if literally cuddling up with a publicist who repped a prince was not enough, this cat is still on the prowl, purring sweet nothings into reality fans’ ears, hoping to leak more details about a reality star’s past indiscretions. That much- gossiped about star is hardly the paragon of morality and virtue, so frankly, most fans don’t give a damn about misdeeds.

It’s as if the notorious player wants to remind us “It’s about me.” That phrase, in some form, is terribly hackneyed. We’re tired of it and want to yell: “Go to sleep!! Go to sleep!!”


Long Time No Write

I realize that it’s been a super long time since I wrote in this blog. After a very bizarre situation with cyber harassment and doxxing on Twitter, I took a hiatus from public writing. I became a ghostwriter while I focused on my public relations work, predominantly in the arena of tech-focused marketing. I have since realized that hiding is not helping. I greatly miss writing publicly and I miss covering entertainment, waxing philosophical about ridiculous reality TV stars or the ones we greatly adore (and wonder: why would they agree to go on reality TV?!). I wrote for a few local newspapers during this “hiatus,” but I decided to get back to my blog and to open it up. It was locked for a while in private mode while I did some soul searching. The main question during that period of reflection was: How public do I want to be? The answer: I’m not sure, but I do want to get back to researching, investigating, uncovering that which is hidden, interviewing and sharing other’s voices and experiences.

I hope you will join me as I begin this new chapter. As the lyrics of the theme song in the Broadway production of Pippin go: “We’ve got magic to do, just for you. We’ve got miracle plays to play. We got parts to perform, hearts to warm, kings and things to take by storm….as we go along…our way…..”

So, come with me as I forge ahead now in 2021. Let’s see where this journey takes us.


#LGBTQ Allies: Please Respect the ‘T’!

While many fans of Bravo’s Flipping Out and Jeff Lewis’s show Jeff Lewis Live (on Radio Andy, a channel on Sirius XM) are focused on his split with long-term boyfriend Gage Edwards, the drama of the split and ensuing contentiousness, some took note and were perplexed by a discussion at the top of today’s show.

Actor Doug Budin (Modern Family, 2 Broke Girls) was the guest, and a surprising exchange transpired that had listeners wondering how Jeff Lewis, who is openly gay and has historically expressed support of others’ sexualities and identities, could make certain remarks.

Budin mentioned that three girls from Connecticut who ran track had filed a federal discrimination complaint. It stated that state-wide policy on transgender athletes have led to girls’ top finishes in races, and perhaps, have even led to college scholarships. “This complaint, on behalf of the girls…they’re asking for an investigation into the policy in order to make competitions fair,” said Budin. “This is in Connecticut…and Connecticut – their discrimination policy is [that the schools respect] the gender in which they identify… So that means athletes can compete according to their expressed gender rather than the gender they were born. They’re arguing that transgender athletes are always winning all of these running [competitions]….”

This could have been a moment for Lewis to respond tactfully, and in a way that showed his support for transgender women, but his response could be seen as alarming. Then again, this is Jeff Lewis. History has taught us to expect the unexpected with him, and much of the initial shock value surrounding him has worn off.  Nevertheless, when it came to the topic of transgender individuals, his response took many listeners aback.

“Because they’re dudes!” Lewis exclaimed. “They’re dudes. That’s the problem. I think this has merit, I really do. I’m really looking forward to all the negative social media messages I’m going to get this weekend. Obviously, generally, men are stronger than women. Men average 26 pounds of more skeletal muscle mass than women. Women have 40% less upper body strength and 33% less lower body strength. I like my statistics. I truly believe that whatever their gender was at birth…However in some cases, there’s been hormone therapy, right?  So if they’ve gone through hormone therapy, maybe that’s a different conversation. But these transgender women are consistently winning track and field events. I think only 17 states allow transgender high school athletes to compete. I do think this absolutely has some merit here.”

“I’m ambivalent about it,” Budin responded, “Because if you go through gender reassignment surgery, then you’re a woman. It’s not on what you were. It’s on what you are now.”

To this, Lewis replied: “Yeah, but some of these people…Look at Caitlyn. She’s a big woman. She’s strong. I don’t know. They have a lot of testosterone. It’s a slippery slope. I don’t know.”

Weeks ago, another Bravo star was subjected to scrutiny and scorn because she is known as an LGBTQ ally: Lisa Vanderpump made an off-handed remark during a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills confessional about costar Erika Jayne “tucking.” Erika Girardi has playfully compared her performing alter ego Erika Jayne to a drag queen in the past and has expressed her love for the art of drag. Therefore, many fans did not detect malice from Vanderpump, whereas others found the comment offensive. Vanderpump apologized in a public statement and expressed her full support of transgender individuals, as well as her regret for making a cavalier statement that upset some viewers.

Months ago, fans of the show Vanderpump Rules were disappointed when cast members didn’t fully acknowledge how Billie Lee, a transgender cast mate, could feel left out of an event labeled “Girls’ Night”.

“I understand not liking Billie Lee’s character or her personality,” said one Vanderpump viewer, “But why not have a thorough conversation with her – as [cast mate] Ariana Madix did – acknowledging an understanding of her feelings and properly clarifying the misunderstanding. The fact that they did not come across as empathetic or sympathetic to that is what turned me off.”

What are your thoughts on how Jeff Lewis handled today’s topic on his radio show? Do you think he should have steered the conversation in another direction to avoid potential criticism and controversy, or do you appreciate how he freely expresses his opinions at the risk of backlash?

If there is one thing I’ve learned from the past year of watching reality TV shows, it is that the LGBTQ community has a lot of supporters and people who consider themselves a part of this community, yet there is still a long way to go when it comes to respecting the “T” in LGBTQ.




Trump-Pranking Comedian “Stuttering John” Co-Hosts Round-Table with Howard Stern Colleagues

I have written about “Stuttering John” (Melendez) in the past and his hilarious new memoir. It contains tantalizing memories and anecdotes we never knew – what comedian Heather McDonald calls “Juicy Scoop.” Longtime fans of the Howard Stern Show – and those who listened in the 1990’s – will enjoy a new podcast series co-hosted by Stuttering John. The show is in a round-table format with Melendez’s former Stern colleagues Jackie Martling (Stern’s former head writer) and Billy West (a comedian who is also known for his voice-over work, i.e. Ren & Stimpy). Melendez says he hopes to have other comedians join him soon in future episodes.

Howard Stern Show enthusiast Shari Weinick watched some of this new series, available at, and said: “Great to listen to three of the original Howard Stern gang after all of these years. The show started with them, and what I just watched makes me wish they were still part of the show.”

Of course, there is always some dissent among die-hard Stern Show fans. That is nothing new. Charles Kaye told me he “enjoyed these guys reminiscing and talking about what was fun during their Stern days.” He continued: “I didn’t really know what to make of their gripes, how they expressed that certain things were unfair. John got his start with Howard, so my complaint has always been that he should be more publicly thankful. Perhaps he has…or he will be, so that makes me want to tune in for future episodes. Overall, I really did enjoy Billy and Jackie, so it was good to see them again. I’m planning to read John’s memoir, but I’m going to take it all with some grains of salt….I just don’t know what to believe when it comes to Howard Stern, but I do believe I’ll be entertained by John’s humor.”

Not only is Melendez known for his outrageously brazen interviews during the Howard Stern days, and his general chutzpah, but he garnered a lot of media attention when he was successfully put through to Donald Trump on Air Force One. He spoke of his real concerns regarding immigration while pretending to be Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey. This prank spotlighted major holes in the screening process for obtaining access to  a sitting president.

“I loved what he pulled on The Donald and how Jared Kushner actually called him back to vet him,” said fan Kayla Rodriguez, “and how he was able to put him through. It just showed how idiotic things are in Washington. John had an LA cell phone number and when he was asked about it, he simply said that the senator was on vacation. That measly excuse was accepted as totally reasonable. It was ridiculous and hilarious. I would say ‘brilliant’, but it spotlighted the mayhem and stupidity in the White House. I’m eager to tune in to this new video podcast series since I already listen to The Stuttering John Podcast. My favorite episode was when that prank was recorded. I am all for premium content to a fun podcast I already listen to!”

Andrea Simpson Weathers explains that she has been listening to Howard Stern since the early days when she was a child. “I enjoyed the good memories that this video podcast brought back, even if I took issue with some of the discussion ,” she began. “There’s something odd that strikes me: this notion that Howard is a slave driver and no one knows how miserable he can be. Longtime listeners know Howard is miserable. Howard knows he’s miserable and he talks about it on the air all the time. He expects the best and there are certain rules of the show. When people don’t respond accordingly, he gets upset and can go on a tirade….Can you blame Howard for reminding people that they’re associated with the show? Would anyone know who John Melendez is without the show? Nope. That said, I like the format of this video podcast. I like the intimacy of it. I enjoyed getting some insight into the earlier years of the Howard Stern Show.”

As this feedback indicates, fans are opinionated about the new series and there is a great level of intrigue among social media users. Even those who have minor objections admit they feel quite enticed to tune in.

You can sign up for this premium video podcast by going to Start with the episode titled: Jackie, Billy & John on Howard: Loose Cannons & Terminal Negotiations.  The cost of the premium content, which is analogous to Patreon (a platform that allows hosts of free podcasts to offer exclusive, additional material to listeners for a minimal fee), is $5 per month.


Little Time to Write, But Let’s Make Time Going Forward

The past few weeks have been incredibly busy between familial obligations, studying for an exam, work and odd methods of procrastinating from that work. Unfortunately, I have not really designated time to the writing I so enjoy, or to keeping up with reality television in any sort of meaningful way. That last phrase may sound paradoxical, but as you know, I like to wax philosophical about events of my television shows even when they seem to be entirely shallow and lacking depth….Candidly, there is always something that invites commentary because reality television offers up interesting anthropological case studies as well as psychological ones.

We have a “Real Housewife” who had fallen from grace and off the sobriety wagon on Real Housewives of New York (last season) who is now acting entitled and pretentious. I was rooting for her newfound humility and hoping it would last, but alas…. Now she is a cabaret star and coming across rather egotistical. I always enjoy analyzing how quickly one can be humbled and go right back to exhibiting arrogance. Then on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, there is a terrible rift that began over a dog’s return to a kill shelter rather than to the new canine care center Vanderpump Dogs. Where the dog was taken is bad enough, but what the argument is really about is not the puppy, but whether Lisa Vanderpump historically tries to manipulate storylines, leak info to the press, and get others to do her dirty work. This is about a crew catching on to what seems to be a pattern.Some say it is about trying to overthrow the main character. The opinions range and there are many. Some are so intricately complicated that it feels to me like the commentaries of the Torah weighing in on a simple sentence. I really should not be making that comparison because it seems sacrilegious no matter where I stand spiritually today.

The way people – fans and viewers – staunchly take sides and end up blocking one another on Twitter is a phenomenon in and of itself that I’ve observed with Bravo viewers. I’d love to know if this happens with the 90 Day Fiance community since that’s a show I watched for 90 days before concluding that it usurped too much of my time. Let me know.

The main point of this post is: I am back and will try to update my blog more often. I am planning for some interviews with TV personalities, podcast hosts and others. I hope to weigh in more often and recap the shows we all have in common.

I should add that I did not fall for a single one of your tweets or posts from April Fools Day, so if you wrote something entirely truthful that day that you feel is important for me to know, give me a good old fashioned phone call! We’re still in April and I’m still a skeptic.