The Hollywood Reporter Unveils 2013 Reality Heat List
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
In a sunny ballroom with scuffed floors in the heart of Hollywood, Lisa Vanderpump is preparing for another Dancing With the Stars rehearsal as her 29-year-old partner, Gleb Savchenko, demonstrates a complicated move. "Remember when you slid through my legs?" he asks, sweeping his arms between his thighs.
"I always remember when I slide through your legs," Vanderpump, 52, says with a wink, demonstrating the cheeky wit that has made the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills castmember the franchise's newest breakout star -- and its first to score a coveted DWTS spot, not to mention her own Bravo spinoff, Vanderpump Rules, which follows the antics of six staffers at her popular West Hollywood bar and restaurant, Sur (Vanderpump and her husband of 30 years, Ken Todd, also own Hollywood hotspot Villa Blanca and are planning to open a third restaurant). The January debut of Rules, which Vanderpump also co-executive produces, brought in 1.9 million viewers, the biggest premiere for Bravo since the summer 2010 launch of Bethenny Getting Married?
"It is unusual to have a star who provides great entertainment value but also has business savvy," says Alex Baskin, executive vp at Evolution Media, which produces Rules and two of the shows in the half-billion-dollar Housewives franchise. "Lisa has unerring instincts and is completely committed to what is best for the show." She also knows what's best for Lisa Vanderpump: "It has to be my stamp, my style. I do everything myself," says the U.K. native, who earned a reported $250,000 for season three of Housewives and has the chance at a six-figure increase for season four. "I didn't have a publicist until six months ago. I told her she was going to hate me because I don't go to red-carpet events, and I don't tweet much" -- though she has nearly 548,000 followers and her Pomeranian, Giggy, has 66,000 of his own. "I'm not compliant," insists Vanderpump. "That's why the audience trusts me."