Let Kingdom Reign: ‘RHOA’ and ‘Hollywood Divas’ producer, Carlos King
“I got my start in television when I moved to New York in 2002,” beams Carlos King, reality TV executive producer extraordinaire and the force behind the Bravo ratings buster “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and the newest show on TV that gives a firsthand look at Black Hollywood, “Hollywood Divas.”
“I interned at ‘The View’, BET, MTV … and then I started to work my way up to the top. Working at Atlanta ‘Housewives’ started in 2008. It was my first reality experience. I got the job through my mentor Joy Chen.
“I knew it was my niche. I love working with reality TV. There’s nothing like working with real people,” he explains. Working with people who keep it real is exactly what King has done for the past six years on the top rated show in the “Housewives” franchise, “RHOA.”
The Season 7 debut of “RHOA” delivered Bravo’s highest-rated season premiere in the network’s more than 30-year history. Having left audiences in awe after their reunion featuring women in ball gowns brawling, the show returned to 3.8 million viewers and 2.2 million adults 18-49, also pushing Bravo to the top spot among all cable channels for the 8 p.m. time slot.
This writer was quick to tell the young mogul he’s definitely the reigning king of reality TV. “We debuted with 3.8 million viewers which is insane for a season premiere of a show that has been on for seven seasons. As history serves us in television, things start to decline after it’s been on the air for so many years. The fact that is up is a huge blessing. I am so proud of my team and everybody who is involved on that show. It’s a machine and the cast gave us some great story lines this season. Watch every Sunday at 8 o’clock on Bravo,” reminds King who launched his production company, Kingdom Reign, in 2013.
“I am doing Hollywood Divas for TV One. Thank God we are doing well in ratings and it’s beating other shows on the network. You have to make a great product because there are so many entities involved: the network, production company and the advertisers. You have to make it pop culture, make people want to create memes on Instagram on Countess Vaughn with the faces she makes and use NeNe [Leakes] lingo,” King avers.
You simply can’t make the stuff up. It’s who these women are, love or hate it. I personally find it intriguing and entertaining. Even I have questioned most reality shows’ authenticity, and King offers his take, “Carlos King doesn’t work on reality shows that are fake. Some shows are produced. I am not going to say every single reality show on the air is real. Don’t put my shows in that box. I am somebody who takes pride in really telling the story of the cast that I have.”
This writer throws shade and asks, So you’ve been a security guard on quite a few sets?
The early days on “Real Housewives of New Jersey” had some real, at the time, epic scenes, with Danielle Staub creating all kinds of drama and Theresa Giudice flipping a table, which prepared King for “RHOA’s” most epic fight between Porsha Williams and Kenya Moore.
King responds jokingly, “These arms are made for picking up women, not weights apparently. That’s why I have such great biceps.”
How was it working on “RHONJ?”
“I live for Dina [Manzo]. I did the first two seasons of ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey.’ At the time, I was bouncing back and forth between the two franchises. The Jersey girls are super dramatic and your woman crush, Dina, is a such a b***** and she owns it. She’s super gorgeous. She’s fun. I love Theresa [Giudice], she will always have a special place in my heart,” he offers.
King has a knack for launching reality shows. When he learned Mona Scott Young was expanding her wildly popular “Love and Hip Hop” franchise to Atlanta, he picked up the phone and made his pitch. They hit it off and he ended up co-executive producer the first season and recruited Karlie Redd. And, he also worked on “Tyler Perry Comes to OWN,” with his good friend and mentor, Tyler Perry and worked with Winfrey as a show producer for “Oprah Behind the Scenes” for a year.
Watch King in action tonight at 10 p.m. on TV One. He’s hosting the first reunion show for “Hollywood Divas”