Bravo spinoff 'Real Housewives of New York City' debuts in March
Get ready, New York, because our own home-town "Desperate Housewives" are about to hit the air.
On March 4, Bravo will premiere "Real Housewives of New York City," the buzz-generating spinoff of its "Real Housewives of Orange County" reality series.
Five New York women will get their time in the spotlight: Bethenny Frankel, LuAnn de Lesseps, Ramona Singer and Jill Zarin of the upper East Side and Alex McCord of Cobble Hill, the sole non- Manhattan show subject and the youngest of the New York "housewives" at 34.
Filming of the series began last summer with cameras spending one to five days a week following the moms. All of whom were aware that they might follow in the footsteps of Bravo's West Coast version of "Real Housewives," which serves up a smorgasbord of domestic squabbles, shameless materialism and cringe-worthy, age-inappropriate misbehavior.
"I would not want to be portrayed as the women on 'The Real Housewives of Orange County,' to be perfectly honest," says Frankel, "so that was a little scary. But who knows, maybe people in Orange County are saying that about me."
"We are pretty different people," says McCord. "We are not in a gated community. We are in the thick of things, doing our activities and coexisting with 8 million other people."
Locations aside, one of the distinct differences between the two shows is the hectic pace of New York life. For moms in the city that never sleeps, work more often than not takes precedence over play. Frankel, a health food chef, has gained renown as her recipes catch on with celebrities like Denis Leary and Susan Sarandon.
Connecticut-born de Lesseps nabbed her fancy surname in a marriage to a French aristocrat, and her newfound royalty only added cachet to the TV career she began in Europe after a stint as a model in Milan.
McCord works in visual merchandising for a major retailer.
Singer sets her own hours, buying leftover retail inventory to sell to discount chains and boutiques while Zarin embraces her own brand of bargains, at her Zarin Fabrics and Home Furnishings on the lower East Side.
In fact, some of the New York "housewives" were almost too busy for the show - or at least showed polite reluctance.
Frankel refused Zarin's urging before the divan doyenne's audacious personality won her over.
Zarin, one of the first Manhattan women approached by the producers, had a heavy hand in finding her fellow subjects.