*For the past few years, reality TV has taken over cable television, proving to be big business for networks and pop culture.
Reality TV executive, Carlos King, who has worked on popular shows like ‘The View’ and 20/20 before venturing behind-the-scenes for the Real Housewives of Atlanta five years ago, chatted with media partner theJasmineBrand.com about the world of reality TV. The Detroit native chatted about his experience working on Love & Hip Hop Atlanta (and why the show beats out the original–Love & Hip Hop NY), his honest opinion of Mimi Faust and how the reality TV game has changed.
On what he believes makes Love & Hip Hop Atlanta such popular:
I think what makes ‘Love and Hip Hop Atlanta’ so popular, is that you have a cast of people who are so honest and they are willing to tell you the truth. They’re funny. They’re dramatic. They’re interesting. When I first met with Stevie J., Joseline, and Mimi – again I’m used to doing The Real Housewives of Atlanta, I’m used to doing these shows that are still dramatic, kind of buttoned up – so I never knew that in the hip hop industry when you are a successful record producer you have tons of women coming in the studio.
And you flirt with them, and you may sleep with one of them but you have a girlfriend who’s at home and she’s just trusting that you’re making the money and the number one thing that I learned in the Atlanta Hip Hop community is the roles. When you are a hip hop artist’s girlfriend, there’s this understanding in terms of the hierarchy of position.
On why he considers Mimi Faust one of the most passionate women he’s ever worked with:
I think people should show Mimi the respect of being a woman who unfortunately has a man that does cheat on her. But she could have easily been like ‘Uh, Mona, Carlos I’m not – I didn’t sign up for this, I don’t want people to think I’m stupid.’ But she’s willing to go through the fire. Mimi comes from the standpoint of ‘I signed up for this’ instead of me being somebody who’s like ‘Nope!’ She’s somebody who’s going to show you this is some real stuff that I’m going through and I’m going to get ridiculed but at least I’m being authentic. And as a producer, that’s all you hope for.
Mimi is one of the most authentic, passionate women I’ve ever worked with. And it’s unfortunate that people portray her as being stupid, naive, weak. She’s none of those things. She’s very smart. And she’s not weak. She’s a woman who’s in love with a man she’s known for 15 years, and her only child – he’s the father of her daughter. So you can’t judge her. We should applaud her, girl I get it. If that’s what you wanna do, if that’s how you handle the situation then that’s you. Keep going it cuz it’s good TV.
On why he thinks Love & Hip Hop Atlanta is more popular than Love & Hip Hop New York:
The [Atlanta] cast are way more interesting than the cast of ‘Love & Hip Hop New York.’ I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t a fan of ‘Love & Hip Hop New York’ this past season. But I was a fan of the first two seasons of ‘Love & Hip Hop New York’ because you had compelling characters who were so honest and so interesting you had Chrissy who is this strong individual who has an opinion and she’s not afraid to express her opinion. And she loves this man who she sometimes questions. Chrissy you’re a beautiful girl, you could have anybody you want to but she loves this man.
On What’s Missing From Love and Hip Hop New York:
I felt they tried too hard to be something that they weren’t, they tried so hard to fill a role. ‘Well I’m gonna be this one. I’m gonna be like Stevie, I’m gonna be Joseline. I’m gonna be like so and so’. And I felt like they weren’t authentic to themselves. And you can’t lie to an audience. You guys, the audience, you guys are so smart because you understand when something’s fake – ‘Girl, she ain’t really do that, that’s fake. I ain’t watching her she ain’t real – no girl I ain’t watching that.’ But when you [see] someone like Stevie J., Joseline, and Mimi andK.Michelle and all these wonderful people you’re like ‘Oh that’s real’. You’re fascinated by how real these people are.
On how reality TV has changed since, five years ago:
I think the unfortunate part of reality TV is it’s over saturated. I think there’s too many reality shows that people just put on because they think, ‘I’m good TV this is a good idea’, but the unfortunate part of it is reality TV works because again you’re dealing with (an) amazing story. You’re dealing with authentic people and there are so many shows that’s on the air that should be on the Internet, if you will. It should be on YouTube–it shouldn’t be on network television, because it’s just not that compelling to watch because everybody thinks they could have a show. And what people don’t understand is it’s a gem to be on reality TV; like not everybody can be Beyoncé. There are a lot of singers who can sing but can you sing well enough and can you connect to an audience that want to invest in you to buy your record?
So when you’re a reality star–are you compelling enough that people will be invested in watching you every week and subsequently purchase the product you’re promoting and follow your career after? Nene Leakes is somebody who has went beyond reality TV to be on network shows. Glee, The New Normal and people follow her so they’re invested in this woman. They buy her books. They buy her shoes from Shoedazzle because they’re invested in this product. So unfortunately reality TV is over saturated ’cause people think again–they have a story to tell and it’s not interesting that’s why they get cancelled after a few months.
On his production company Kingdom Reign Entertainment:
I started it officially a year ago because I’m somebody who’s fortunate enough to be in a position that I’m able to develop shows on my own merit. So I’m in the process of developing a few shows. I signed Latavia Roberson from Destiny’s Child to my company and we’re in the process of pitching a reality show that will follow this pregnancy.
And the show is great because she’s pregnant by a well-known producer in Atlanta–it’s a big secret. And she has an amazing story to tell because a lot of people don’t know what happened to her after she was disbanded from the group, so you get a chance to really see that side of her.
Click here to find out what Oprah Winfrey taught him (while he worked with her at OWN), why NeNe Leakes is his absolute favorite and if he’s ever made a mistake casting.