#RHONY, Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY: ‘A Star is Born’ with Babs Kavovit? Looks Like Everyone Is Getting Along (For Now)

The ladies of Real Housewives of New York seem to turn on a dime and do astounding 180s on the regular. Everyone was feuding last we checked. Dorinda Medley and Sonja Morgan were at each other’s throats, and the Queen B (Bethenny Frankel, of course) was on the outs with everyone except Luann De Lesseps and Sonja when the RHONY reunion was filmed.

Well, that was then and this is now. Today, it seems the dysfunctional clique – sans the recently ousted Carole Radziwill- is living it up in the Berkshires and having a grand ole time filming RHONY’s upcoming season.

With them to liven up the party is new “Housewife” Barbara Kovovit, a construction CEO who was caught on camera disparaging Lu and Tom’s ill-fated union two seasons ago. Her predictions were proven to be correct, but now it seems all is forgiven from that awkward hot mic moment.

I am always curious as to how producers determine who will make a great “Real Housewife” and there must be something particularly alluring about Barbara when it comes to Shed Media and Bravo’s standards.

I think one major draw is that she is someone who is greatly committed to her work, has made a name for herself professionally, and because of that, can confidently go toe to toe (and tit for tat) with Bethenny.

Expect that duo to get along impressively for at least Babs’s initial season, giving new meaning to the phrase “A Star is Born.”

In the meantime, check out Bethenny’s Instagram stories from the Berkshires. The notorious love-hate dynamic between her and Ramona is currently set to “love.”

…Or at least that’s how things appear on social media – for today.

This goes without saying, but I’ll utter the terribly banal phrase anyway: STAY TUNED.

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, Dating, Psychology, Reality TV

#RHONY: Is There a Shortage of Men in Manhattan?!

Two decades ago, when I was a single woman living and dating in NYC, it seemed like every guy of “average” level looks, intelligence and personality had 9 incredible women in hot pursuit of him.

I was in a certain, very niche- specific dating scene because of my religious background, and once I expanded my social circles, this 9 to 1 ratio of eligible single ladies to eligible single men no longer seemed to be as much of a thing. However, I did notice that “normal” men seemed harder to find than outstanding women, and while the male population of NYC is currently at 47.38 percent versus the 52.62 percent of females (a disparity that doesn’t seem outrageous and was quite similar twenty years ago), a good man is hard to find.

It takes only a five minute conversation with a NYC single gal today to gauge this problem, while a man always seems to have more dating prospects on the horizon.

I suspect this was particularly prescient to me due to my former religious circles wherein matchmakers pounce upon a widowed man because of the devotion he had to his wife and noted past ability to commit. I realize this sounds awfully vulture-like to the reader, but it’s so hard for a religious Jewish woman to find a man who is self-assured, charismatic and committed. Matchmakers are fully aware of this. There just happen to be more marriage-minded women than men in major metropolitan cities.

This brings us to the ladies of Real Housewives of New York. They’re not in the Jewish dating scene, but are in a niche specific one of their own. It is one where men of a certain middle aged and above cohort are acclimating still to the idea of a highly successful, independent and self-sufficient, affluent woman (though some of these ladies are more modern and self sufficient than others are). The majority of these men have been indoctrinated with the notion of man as provider and, despite protest, many do feel threatened by a women of means who could be the provider herself. RHONY fans often ask “why are these woman always dating the same loser, or arguing over the same man who doesn’t seem so spectacular?”

I mention my “9 to 1” theory to Rori Sassoon, Founder of NYC matchmaking service Platinum Poire. Rori hosted the speed dating event that we recently saw on RHONY. It was where all the ladies seemed interested in the red scarf adorned Brian Krauss. “Aren’t there more men for these women to date?” viewers asked.

Rori agrees that the rationale I developed from my dating days is not off at all and adds: “It is unfortunately still the same. It’s also much harder for women because the man is the one who is doing the pursuing. I also find that if a man wants to be in a relationship, he can make that happen a lot more quickly than a woman can. Because of that, a lot of women do not choose their partner, they are chosen, which can lead to a relationship with an expiration date.”

If all of this sounds terribly antiquated in today’s 2018 culture of #MeToo, #TimesUp, Feminism and shifts from heteronormative stereotypes, we have not progressed as much as you naively thought. A certain level of traditional thinking still abounds amidst the modernity of NYC, especially when it comes to the Gen X and Boomer contingents.

For every Tom, Harry and Brian, there is a group of women hovering in the wings, trying to catch a glimpse of an extinct breed: a seemingly Ok male specimen. Due to the depressing rarity of this find, the bar is not set especially high, and disappointment in NYC dating can seem as inevitable as a streetlight on every corner.

Thinking outside of the box and beyond the city limits is a strategy some of these Housewives have employed because the pickings are slim. It is why so much is not taboo and hiring a matchmaker is not something to be shunned. It’s also why you shouldn’t be ashamed if it suddenly dawns on you that your uncle in Schenectady would be the perfect match for Ramona Singer. Hey, you never know. Vet it through Rori. Crazier things have happened in this world than Ramona becoming your aunt.

Hear Rori Sassoon discuss the RHONY speed dating event and trying to match up the ladies of the cast on the Pink Shade with Erin Martin podcast.

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#RHONY, Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY: “The Guy with The Red Scarf” Sets the Record Straight

The Curious George series has the “man with the yellow hat” and recently, Real Housewives of New York introduced “the guy with the red scarf.” There was the French pirate before him, followed by zany Rey at the Madam Paulette event, and of course, that man that “it’s all about”, Tom D’Agastino.

This new neck-cessorized suitor of the season will surely also be the subject of future flashback scenes. He has already been the impetus for a car ride recap by Bethenny and a contentious dinner conversation between the ladies. Viewers observed how Ramona Singer was the first to single him out at a speed dating event, after which he focused his attention on Bethenny and declared he had been hoping to see her there.

However, it was Carole Radziwill who ultimately scored a post-event blind date with him, set up by the speed dating event’s matchmaker Rori Sassoon. Afterwards, while in Colombia with her cast mates, Bethenny claimed -and complained – that he was hitting her up repetitively by text.

In case you were in the dark about his identity, the red scarf belongs to Brian Krauss, a 53 year old resident of Saddle River, NJ, who tells me he had never watched RHONY until this year and was unfamiliar with all the players except Bethenny. The two had met away from the show and glitz of NYC, in Miami.

Brian Krauss’s Instagram

Brian marvels about how “the guy with the red scarf” became a character (he didn’t don the accessory to stand out, rather for practical reasons: It was freezing that winter night.) and his adamancy about not expecting to be a storyline strikes me as sincere. After all, this lawyer and entrepreneur (he founded and sold the companies IPATH Footwear and Vintage1 and is now focused on his law firms) had never watched the show until he was informed he’d be on the speed dating episode. Now, he has to tune in weekly to keep up with the narrative.

As we’re chatting by phone, Brian sends me an email comprised of what he’s written in order to set the record straight on his relationship to Bethenny:

A Tale of Two Texts

Bethenny has an odd habit of making up stories where she looks good at the expense of others. This tale is no exception. I bet those texts she was reading gave you the impression they were all from me after we re-connected at speed dating. False. They weren’t. They were cobbled together from months earlier when she first swiped right on The League, a dating app, to match with me.

She conveniently left out all her replies. There were so many. Trust me, it is unnerving to film RHONY. I agreed because I believe in my friend Rori’s matchmaking business Platinum Poire. And yes, I was happy to see Bethenny, a woman I already knew, felt comfortable with and considered a friend.

Her claim that she texted me that same night to fix me up with Carole: also false. In real life Rori arranged a dinner the next evening. Also, in real life Bethenny texted me immediately after she left speed dating to say what a great time she had had. Then she woke up at 6:01 the next morning (Feb. 1st) to set up a date for herself.

When I saw the show, I laughed at the way Bethenny turned what I thought was a flirty, fun speed dating night into a full on pursuit.

Here are screenshots of the actual texts between us. It’s kind of brilliant how this became “he won’t stop texting me.” You decide. I’m blue. Bethenny is grey. By the way, I’m out of the reality show business. It’s insane!

Then four days later:

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Brian explains that when he first met Bethenny in Miami, he felt a connection to her because they both had been through difficult divorces. He is not a stranger to reality television as he had once been a part of a project with the intent of promoting a business. That reality show never aired, in large part due to his divorce and refusal to be inauthentic about his marital struggles, as well as tensions with his brothers-in-law business partners.

A client of Rori’s matchmaking business referred Brian for the speed dating event. After speaking with her at length by phone, Brian says he really liked the matchmaker and her business concept and wanted to help her promote the company. He relates that he almost backed out of filming after having second thoughts. Now, Brian is a part of the RHONY saga. He is a character that true fans of the franchise won’t forget. He is gobsmacked by the amount of friend requests he’s received on Facebook since appearing on the show and by the number of followers he has recently acquired on Instagram. He laments that it’s been hard to keep up.

“At the reunion, I think Carole will probably set the record straight about how things actually went down,” he speculates. This aligns with the rumors about the upcoming reunion. Bethenny fans will not be happy at the insinuations that she has been less than truthful. They will have to come to their own conclusions when Carole presents the “receipts.”

Brian says he remains in touch with Carole and I try to gauge if there’s romantic interest there, but I’m mainly unsuccessful. He says that he finds her fascinating, brilliant and accomplished and is still getting to know her.

As for Bethenny? “Oh no, I’m not in touch and I won’t text her. I would NOT want that to get misconstrued!”

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Bravo TV, Reality TV

#RHONY Touching Base with Tinsley Mortimer

**From my Huffington Post archive, 8/24/17

Tinsley Mortimer is the most recent addition to the cast of Real Housewives of New York (RHONY). Currently airing its three-part reunion, the franchise offered an epic season filled with drama, drunken shenanigans, developing friendships and relationships and the dissolution of others. I recall briefly connecting with Tinsley when she was on the CW’s “reality show” High Society (you’ll see below why Reality Show is in quotes). The bubbly blonde, no stranger to the gossip columns in the early 2000s, reentered New York society via her Bravo debut this season after experiencing public humiliation – and a mugshot she wouldn’t let us forget about!

Although Tinsley is currently trotting the globe with steady beau Scott Kluth, she took time out of her busy schedule to answer questions for The Huffington Post. (Please note: This interview took place before the airing of Part 2 of the reunion when the ladies discussed voting – and not voting – in the last presidential election.)

You’re not a stranger to reality TV or the spotlight. Did taking part in this season of RHONY meet or exceed your expectations going in? How was this experience different (and BETTER, I’m greatly assuming) than High Society?

Taking part in this season of RHONY was a crazy, wild, tumultuous ride which exceeded my expectations on every front. These adjectives come to mind: hysterical, embarrassing, humiliating, frightening, and fun! Yes I’ve done TV before; however, I don’t think anything can prepare one for the rollercoaster called RHONY. If you can imagine getting ready for an event and the necessary preparations it takes…hair, make-up, clothing choices, etc., try having to do this almost every day! Now throw in dealing and interacting with some of the most confident and assertive ladies in New York, and you will have an idea of what it’s like to be on RHONY. This show is completely different from High Society, which was at times scripted. RHONY is an absolutely authentic depiction of a group of very strong, smart, tough, and opinionated New York women with varied and interesting pasts. Though our crazy behavior may seem unbelievable, everything you see is totally real.

Which of the ladies did you know before? How well did you actually know Sonja?

Sonja and I have been friends for fifteen years. She would chat with me at parties, she was always sweet to me. We reconnected a few years ago in Palm Beach, and she sometimes kindly called to check in on me. As for the other ladies, I occasionally ran into Luann at restaurants or functions in Palm Beach and I’ve run into a few of the other girls at events over the years.

You and Carol seem opposite in some ways. What is the key to the magic of this friendship? I love watching the two of you and to me, you guys seem like a great duo to hang out with.

I did not know Carole before the show so my friendship with her was unexpected and a nice surprise. Clearly, she is a girl with extraordinary intelligence, integrity, and character. She’s a very ‘cool’ chick and she could have looked at me in another light. Instead, she took the time to get to know me without any prejudice about my being a former ‘socialite.’ I think the ‘magic’ is the same as with any other good friendship…to be supportive, kind, and to have fun together.

 

You and Bethenny were a slow burn. Do you two hang out off camera now? Are you friends in real life?

 

The ridiculous story that Sonja leaked to Page Six really got to you. Are the two of you in a good place now? Do you have a friendship?

It wasn’t the Page Six piece itself that was so upsetting. It was the fact that someone I considered a friend would volunteer information to the press with the intent and purpose of making me look like someone I am not. So many untrue things have been written about me, particularly last year, so, of course, I am sensitive. I had just come out of an upsetting and humiliating experience and Sonja reached out to me when I was vulnerable. She generously offered me a safe haven that I could escape into and get my life back on track in NYC. I confided in Sonja, I trusted her, and she was the last person I thought would turn on me. I will always love her, however, for her extreme generosity in inviting me to stay with her. I sincerely hope we can repair our friendship, and I am confident we can.

 

What is it about Scott that makes him stand out and gives you more promise than previous relationships?

Scott is an amazing man. He comes from a strong family background and was raised with great morals, values, and integrity. He is incredibly brilliant, a self-made man, and a true gentleman. I so admire his work ethic and devotion to his business CouponCabin.com which he started when he was just 24. Scott’s authenticity and kindness is apparent to everyone. He’s really unlike any man I’ve ever known.

 

A bunch of us went back to binge the CW show High Society (shoutout to listeners of the Emotionally Broken Psychos Podcast and to Liz Bentley of EBP and host of Feathers in My Hair). Are you in touch with or do you have anything to do with any of the cast mates now?

I hope you enjoyed watching the show! I want to clear up a big misconception about “High Society” once and for all. The show wasn’t reality, it was satire. The producers initially wanted to film a docuseries that followed my real life. It was supposed to be called “Tinsleytown,” showing my life behind the red carpet and the glamour of New York as opposed to the glamour of Tinsletown or Hollywood. However, after my mom, sister and I signed on to do it, the producers decided to change the intent of the show. The entire storyline was altered to include feigned fights with “friends” who were not really my friends. We were placed in situations that were not real to us and that sometimes made us uncomfortable. Somehow the show turned into this satire on “high society” and how others might expect these people to behave. Other than my family, I don’t see any of the people who were in the cast.

You can catch up on past episodes of RHONY through the Bravo Now app and also On Demand. A brand new season is now airing Wednesday at 9/8c on Bravo.

 

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