Real Housewives of DC? That's Just the Start

By: Sophie Gilbert

With national interest in Washington at a high, it was only a matter of time before the networks started paying attention. Real Housewives is the latest reality-TV show to focus on the nation’s capital, though it’s not alone.

At least ten shows that star Washington or its inhabitants are in planning or production, including a rumored reality show about Michelle Obama’s stylist, Johnny Wright, and a possible show about the younger party set called Inside Washington.

Here’s a guide to upcoming programs in which you might find yourself playing an unwitting extra. (Premiere dates are tentative.)

Washington Field, CBS

We became aware of this show when a much-hyped fireball exploded over the Potomac. It was a special effect for CBS’s new drama about an elite FBI unit—the National Capital Response Squad.

Star power: Muted, although Ugly Betty and Third Watch viewers might recognize Eddie Cibrian. Also starring is Teri Polo from Meet the Parents.

When it will debut: September.

Fact or fiction? Fiction.

Blonde Charity Mafia, The CW

Touted as “The Hills meets the Hill,” this docu-series about DC’s “alpha girls” will revolve around the real-life exploits of the most fearsome of socialistas: charity-event organizers.

Star power: DC socialites Katherine Kennedy, Krista Johnson, and Sophie Pyle. Who? Good question.

When it will debut: The premiere has been pushed back to fall.

Fact or fiction? According to reports of tapings around town, the “reality show” sounds less than real.

Real Housewives of DC, Bravo

Fresh from exploiting the lacquered wives of Orange County, New York, Atlanta, and New Jersey, the wildly successful Bravo franchise is scouting for wives in the Washington area. If you’re one of “the city’s most alluring and discriminating residents,” this could be your ticket to the small screen.

Star power: These are supposed to be wives of Washington’s “well connected,” though don’t hold your breath for actually famous spouses.

When it will debut: It’s still in development.

Fact or fiction? Debatable.

Inside the Box, ABC

The latest offering from Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, it’s a fictional look at the cutthroat world of DC’s television journalism.

Star power: Kim Raver from 24 and the recently canceled Lipstick Jungle and Brit Indira Varma will be part of the fake Washington bureau.

When it will debut: Uncertain. The show was slated for fall but has been put on hold. Stephen McPherson, president of ABC, has hinted that it’s heading for redevelopment, so keep an eye out in the spring.

Fact or fiction? Fiction.

House Rules, CBS

Following the adventures of newly elected representatives in the House, this show may sound like CNN’s documentary Freshman Year, which follows the adventures of actual newly elected representatives in the House.

Star power: Weak. Child star Anna Chlumsky of the My Girl movies reportedly will be the main draw along with TV star Tawny Cypress.

When it will debut: September.

Fact or fiction? Fiction.

Body Politic, The CW

The most hyped of the new Washington dramas features Minka Kelly as a young Hill staffer who takes a job working for her senator father.

Star power: High. Along with Friday Night Lights’ Kelly, you’ll see TV regulars Jason Dohring, Gabrielle Union, Jay Hernandez, Tim Matheson, and Brian Austin Green.

When it will debut: The show failed to bag a new-season spot, to the dismay of those who’d seen the pilot. A mid-season premiere looks promising.

Fact or fiction? Fiction.

This article first appeared in the July 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.   

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