The Hollywood Reporter Unveils 2013 Reality Heat List
This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
If anyone has a beef with The Real Husbands of Hollywood's inclusion on this list of unscripted hits, BET network chairman and CEO Debra Lee has a prepared comeback.
"We can actually admit our show is scripted, unlike other reality shows that pretend to be real!" laughs Lee of BET's recently renewed hit, which delivered some of the cabler's biggest ratings ever for an original series: The Kevin Hart-created spoof of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise lured about 6 million viewers for its first-season finale March 21.
The first quarter of 2013 also saw E!'s scripted reality series Burning Love -- a Bachelor-format show born as a digital series on Yahoo in 2012 -- pull in 7 million total viewers for the first five episodes. Hart and Love creators Erica Oyama and her husband, Ken Marino, see their respective series as loving tributes to the wildly popular franchises they parody. "We specifically hired reality-TV editors to cut the show in a convincing way," says Marino, whose vast network of comedy friends -- including Michael Ian Black, Malin Akerman and Paul Rudd -- all have appeared on Love.
"People who've been contestants on the Bachelor tell us they love the show." Hart, who conceived Husbands as a BET Awards bit in 2011, drew inspiration from Larry David's heavily improv'd Curb Your Enthusiasm -- he wanted his satire about the loafing husbands behind famous Hollywood wives (Mariah Carey's hubby, Nick Cannon, among them) to feel ridiculous without becoming mean-spirited.
"I had to get guys [in the cast] who weren't afraid of making fun of themselves," says Hart. And just where is the line between fact and fiction? "There's one thing we aren't faking," says Cannon. "We all really do hate Kevin."