September 13, 2013 7:00am PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Kendra Wilkinson Spills on Season 2 of Her Reality Show and the Crazy Thing Hugh Hefner Inspired Her to Do
Kendra Wilkinson is ready to get back "on top."
Wilkinson -- who rose to fame starring on E!'s The Girls Next Door before segueing into her own show on the network, Kendra -- marks her second season on WE tv with Kendra on Top. The reality series returns Friday night at 10 p.m. with its second-season premiere. (She's also an executive producer on the show.)
The first season of the show -- which follows the Playboy model, her husband, Hank Baskett, and their young son, Little Hank -- found her career thriving while former NFL player Baskett was trying to make a transition into the business world. Their relationship also hit a snag when Baskett initiated a conversation about an "open marriage."
Season two kicks off at the Playboy Mansion's infamous Halloween party, where Wilkinson's choice of costume comes under scrutiny by Baskett along with her agent and her publicist. Also to be featured in season two will be Wilkinson's decision to sign on to -- and then quit -- ABC's diving-competition show Splash along with her involvement in a serious car accident that leads to a diagnosis that shakes her up.
Ahead of the show's premiere, Wilkinson talked to The Hollywood Reporter about what viewers can expect this season, whether anything is off limits and ex-boyfriend Hugh Hefner's cameo in the season opener.
What's coming up this season?
The second season is a lot different from the first. First of all, we moved networks, from E! to WE tv, and it's a whole different network. So the first season was catching up with who I am and where I come from. Reintroducing me in front of the WE audience and getting people to know about me, and there was a little drama with Hank having no job and struggling to find a job, balancing that with finding a new house and all that. At the end of last season, he opened a gym with his partner in West Hollywood, and that's a huge part of the show. It's about his job and his business mixing with my business. Does it work or not? Other than that, I deal with a whole lot of fear. People aren't used to seeing that from me. That's a whole other side of Kendra. Fear is a huge theme this season. I was recently on the show Splash, and I quit because of my fear of heights. There are so many questions asked of me: Why did I sign up if I knew I had a fear of heights? And there was so much backlash, but viewers will see behind the scenes of what I was thinking while I was doing the show and why I chose to do it and what made me quit and what happened after I quit. Also, I had a car crash right after that, and it was the scariest thing ever. It's one of the more dramatic parts of this season. But it runs into me going back home to San Diego and needing that family time. So I bring my audience back to where I grew up and kind of show them who I was growing up, where I came from, and my mom and grandma appear in the episode. It was great because my grandma is the star anytime she's on the show. She's the biggest hit. It's the funniest episode ever. There are real-life situations and real-life dramas that I go through and face. Even running into an ex-lover while being married. Everybody has to go through it, and people are going to be on their couch asking each other, "What would you do in that situation?" There are some very powerful conversation starters this season. People are really going to love it and relate to it.
How else is this season different than the previous one?
It's more about me being a human being than me being a parent and wife. It's more about digging into me and who I truly am and showing a side I've never shown. It's really scary because I always want to look powerful and fearless, but this season opened up a whole new world to me. We make sure every show this season has a happy ending; nothing is too dramatic, but just enough to show that we're all human beings and make the same mistakes and encounter the same little bumps in the road. I just share mine on TV. You never know who people are behind closed doors, but with me, this season is about my life not being behind closed doors anymore. I have nothing to hide. Everything is out.
So nothing is off limits?
We don't have writers. This isn't a scripted show. I really, truly have to go off my life. It's extremely challenging to shoot this show because I'm the only one holding the show. I have to make sure everything revolves around me, what spurt I'm going through at that moment, what challenges I'm going through and do I really want to share the negative ones with the world. I'm willing to do that. I'm willing to unzip myself and disrobe myself and show the world my dirty secrets and how I deal with them and balance them with my family.
How did your show wind up at WE tv?
My time at E! just ended, and it was a very happy ending. I am very appreciative of what they've done for me. It went on really long, longer than I expected, at E!. That journey is done, but thank God WE tv came and picked me back up. I'm surviving because of the people watching and wanting to see me. I couldn't be more thankful and blessed, and I have more to show. I'm happy people still have faith in me. I'm a great storyteller and good at TV and knowing what people want to see, and this season is going to prove it all. It's an awesome, great season.
Do any of your famous friends appear make appearances this season?
On the finale of my show, [The Real Housewives of Orange County star] Gretchen Rossi appears and what you're gonna see is awesome. Me and her do something crazy together in Vegas. We're both married women but we had a fun time with a bunch of hot men, the Chippendales.
And you still keep in touch with Hugh Hefner?
Yeah, Hef actually appears on the first episode of Kendra on Top. Hef made a mistake; he put me on blast all over Twitter one day and gave me the inspiration to do something I never thought I'd do again -- wink, wink. You'll see what Hef did to inspire me to relive a certain memory in front of Hank and Hank's buddies. It turned out pretty bad, but you'll see. [Wilkinson appeared at the party in nothing but body paint that made it look like she was wearing a referee's uniform.]
What else is in the works?
We're working on baby No. 2. We're focusing right now on that since we had a great season and we're done with it. We're 100 percent happy and have found our balance, so it's the perfect time to start trying for No. 2.
Kendra on Top airs at 10 p.m. Fridays on WE tv. Watch a preview below.