Taja Cone, the real-estate agent wife of former Yankee player David Cone, has interviewed for a spot on the “Real Housewives of New York” four times.
She’s in disbelief that they haven’t said yes to her yet.
“My life is so perfect for TV that it’s unbelievable to me that they don’t see that. And that’s the truth,” said Cone, whose husband is now a commentator for the Yankees on the YES Network.
“I don’t think they get the Yankee logo — how important that is in New York. Are they serious?”
She’s not alone in her desire.
In recent weeks, both Tori Spelling and Deidre Scaramucci — the wife of short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci — have proclaimed their unabashed longing to join the ranks of the women who scream, fight, divorce and drink on Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise.
During an Aug. 5 interview on Sirius XM’s “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” Spelling said it makes her “really sad” that the network has never approached her, given that “drama follows me everywhere.”
But despite the wannabes, sources tell The Post it’s actually quite difficult to find the perfect ladies to cast.
“There’s old money in every city and [most] people don’t want to exploit themselves,” said a casting agent who has worked on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” among the franchise’s other series.
“All the ‘Housewives’ are hard to cast,” the casting agent continued. “We are lucky if we interview six to 10 people a season. Nobody with integrity is going to go on a reality show like that where you are flaunting your lifestyle and flashing cash.”
One publicist who has worked with “RHONY” said he believes that the women who are lobbying to be on the show “don’t have a whole lot going on in the first place.
“They think their lives will be transformed. They think there will be an element of happiness that will result in being famous,” the publicist said. “They don’t understand that most people watch the show because they are watching train wrecks.”
Deidre Scaramucci told The Post that she was flattered when a casting agent e-mailed to see if she’d be interested in joining “RHONY.”
“I think we’ve gotten a bad rep in the media and [that’s] skewed people’s views of us,” said Deidre of her and her husband and their well-publicized marital woes. (Deidre filed for a 2017 divorce from Anthony when she was nine months pregnant with their second child; although he was not at the birth, the couple later reconciled.)
“I thought, potentially I could show them what we are really like,” she added.
Despite four interviews via Skype this spring — for which she said she was advised by a casting agent to pay to get her hair and makeup done — Scaramucci said she was told “they had gone in a different direction.”
“They decided not to offer me the job, but I wouldn’t have taken the job anyway once I thought about it,” said Scaramucci. “I’d have no say over how it’s edited or what gets put out there . . . I didn’t want to double down on any negative press.”
One Manhattan mover-and-shaker told The Post that socialite Libbie Mugrabi — who is in the midst of a messy divorce from her billionaire husband, art mogul David — is “dying to be on the show.”
“That’s why she had her [publicist] pitch The New York Times a big story on her divorce,” added a Mugrabi insider of the January 2019 piece. “She has wanted to be famous and has tried her divorce case in public to raise her profile.”
Mugrabi denied this. “I don’t want anything to do with that,” she said of the show.
As for the claim about her divorce, she added, “It’s all lies.”
Elizabeth Vizzone, a home-stager who lives in Montclair, NJ, “threw her hat into the ring” this year after being recommended to producers.
“I actually have friends that were approached to be on the show and they were terrified to even entertain the thought,” Vizzone said. “But as I told Matt [Solomon], one of the casting producers, I feel like I don’t have anything to hide.”
After a June 21 interview via Skype, she is now waiting to hear from Bravo.
There are typically a series of interviews with producers, either via Skype or telephone — before an in-person meeting.
The casting process can be complicated, said the casting agent.
“In Beverly Hills, you cast the house first, then you cast the Housewife.
[Producers] are looking for the big, pretty houses,” said the casting agent. “You can’t cast a girl who looks amazing and lives in a one-bedroom apartment.”
A Bravo spokesperson said, “Not true. We cast the person first and foremost.”
One former Housewife, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the formula for the Beverly Hills franchise is women whose star power has faded (Kyle Richards, Denise Richards) or those connected to once-powerful men (John Mellencamp’s daughter Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave; former cast member Camille Grammer, the ex of Kelsey Grammer).
“When you look at people vying to be on the show, you see people like [current member] Lisa Rinna,” she said.
“When her fame on television and movies ran out, she chased the Housewives. I think there’s lot of celebrities out there that aren’t getting scripts and [roles] and they crave being on TV and public attention.”
Heather Thomson, who appeared on “RHONY” as a main cast member from 2012 to 2015, said that the New York production is more focused on finding someone funny.
“That’s the only thing they care about right now. They don’t care if [a potential Housewife] is skinny, fat, young or old — she just has to be funny,” said Thomson. “[Producers] need someone who is quick-witted and the queen of the one-liner.
“If you’re going to keep up with Bethenny [Frankel] and Dorinda [Medley], you need to be a quick thinker.”
According to those close to the New York series, potential new cast members are, ideally, socially acquainted with the show’s current Housewives, who include Ramona Singer and Sonja Morgan.
“They keep telling me I can’t get on because I’m not friends with any of the girls, and I find that hard to believe,” said Cone.
“If you know one of them, it increases your odds. They want people on the show who have some type of history [and] relationship,” said Barbara Kavovit, who appeared on “RHONY” last season and is waiting to see if she’s tapped again for Season 12.
The construction-company owner is a friend of long-time cast member LuAnn de Lesseps.
“It works better if you have history with the other women because it makes for real, deeper drama and hurt feelings,” said a production source. “You can say, ‘Well, two years ago, this happened . . . ’ ”
Hopeful Vizzone already has one thing working for her: past drama with Singer.
“I had an encounter with Ramona a few years ago at the restroom at the Mark Hotel, where she proceeded to argue with me over the designer of my shoes,” said Vizzone. “After that, I started watching the show.”
One current New York Housewife who allegedly almost didn’t make the cut is Medley.
“There was a party two nights before [a portion of her 2015 interview process] and Dorinda was trying to get into a party,” said a Bravo source of Medley, who joined as a full-time cast member in 2015 as a friend of de Lesseps. “She was screaming at the doorman that she was a Real Housewife and how dare they not let her in. Production found out and was like, ‘We don’t need her on the show.’ ”
Medley told The Post: “That’s a complete lie.”
After a cooling-off period, she was eventually cast and has become a fan favorite. “[Producers] figured you take the good with the bad,” said the source.
In October 2012, Jill Zarin — an original cast member who was on from 2008 to 2011, when she left after a dramatic falling out with former friend Frankel — allegedly lost any chance of returning when she crossed Bravo’s then-executive vice president of development and talent, Andy Cohen.
Zarin admitted to secretly tape-recording her 44-minute conversation with Cohen on his program “Watch What Happens Live” in case she needed to show that the edited, 22-minute version cast her in a bad light.
“Jill wanted to get back on the show really badly. But she pissed off Andy,” said the former Housewife. “He forgave her, but I don’t think she’ll ever be a full-time cast member again. Once it’s over for [Cohen], it’s over.”
(“I have a great relationship with Andy and the network,” Zarin told The Post.)
Cohen, who is an executive producer of the franchise, has had a big hand in who gets cast. “When I interviewed, Andy was maybe worried I was a little too nice,” said the former Housewife. “He said, ‘Can you be combative?’ ”
It’s also imperative to keep Frankel on your good side.
“Bethenny, out of all the women, is definitely the one with the most power,” said Kavovit. “It’s important to keep her the happiest. I think she has some say over who’s not coming back.”
Once you’re on the show, it’s still a catfight to keep your spot.
“Divorce, jail, intrigue, affairs, fights between women — that’s what they are looking for,” said the former Housewife. “Look at Kristen Taekman.” After she left the show following two seasons, “that Ashley Madison thing came out.”
In 2015, the sugar-daddy site suffered a data breach and Taekman’s husband, entrepreneur Josh, appeared on the list of site users.
The former Housewife speculated that if the Ashley Madison news had broken earlier, Taekman would still be on the show, “I promise you that.”
Jennifer Gilbert, who owns an event-planning company, told The Post she felt all but erased from the third season for not brawling enough with the other women.
“When there were big fights going on and I would remove myself from the camera, the producers would look at me like, ‘Go back in there!’ I was like, ‘No. No good will come of this.’ I was more boring on the show than in real life,” said Gilbert.
According to multiple sources, New York Housewives get paid between $50,000 and $60,000 for the first season. Some of the longtime stars are paid up to $700,000.
The production source said that each year the women get an automatic 3 to 5 percent raise — though the majority of stars negotiate up to 20 percent.
Everyone except, allegedly, New York Housewife Tinsley Mortimer.
“Tinsley never negotiates [her salary]. She’s in year four and might be making $80,000,” added the production source. “She’s just happy to be on the show.”
A representative for Mortimer did not return requests for comment. Bravo had no comment on financial details or contracts.
Despite the potential windfall, the publicist warns her clients against joining the show.
“The people at Bravo . . . pit [women] against each other. They stir the pot. They come up with ways for these women to go down a horrible path,” said the publicist. “There is so much pressure they put on the cast to deliver. It’s like Stockholm syndrome.”
“That’s absolutely not true,” said the Bravo spokesperson.
Still, Cone remains desperate.
“I don’t understand why they just don’t cast me,” she said. “Maybe they’re looking for people who have more issues.”
Source: Read Full Article