LOS ANGELES (LALATE EXCLUSIVE) – Teresa Giudice’s sentencing date and the Joe Giudice sentencing hearing concludes RHONJ’s 2014 season tonight, with the dramatic RHONJ reunion to kick off next week. Tonight BravoTV and Sirens Media flex their skills and excellently scheduling and filming around a sentencing hearing, and holding footage to conclude a dramatic season. The question however is whether the shock of the Teresa Giudice and Joe Giudice prison term sentence – clearly know by viewers before tonight’s telecast – will hamper reality TV ratings. LALATE expects it will. Strangely, LALATE can report that Teresa stands to make $650,000 to $850,000 next season, as she heads to prison, on camera.
Teresa Giudice’s sentencing hearing date happened several weeks ago. At the time, LALATE exclusively reported that BravoTV was set to film the RHONJ conclusion the same way the started the RHOA 2014 season. A source close to RHOA’s production tells LALATE that cast and crew were in place ready to react – on camera – to Apollo Nida’s sentencing hearing. Weeks later, after that test run, BravoTV (with a different production company) did the same with New Jersey. In place at the time of the Teresa Giudice sentencing hearing, by their TV sets, watching the web, are Teresa’s costars ready to react. That footage airs tonight.
But does “reaction” deliver ratings? Generally it does not. Years ago, when MTV was perfectly the skill of shooting “reality” TV with The Hills and airing the footage as close to the unfolding of the “real” life events as possible, producers were keen to keep events aka “storylines” under seal. Tonight, everyone watching the finale knows that Teresa is going to prison, Joe is serving time after her, and their lives will be changed. Joe Giudice feared deportation. It does not happen. The court rules that Joe may not be deported by prosecutors after serving his team. The court shocks Teresa and tells her that she will serve time, and begin serving time in January.
Yet the real shock about the Teresa Giudice hearing date is the ability of BravoTV to film fast, lots of footage and attempt to keep a storyline running. The question is if they can do it again between September and January. As reported earlier on LALATE, Bravo is going to keep recording footage of Teresa leading up to her heading to prison for a new season. The question is how much of that prison term (including prison visits) may be depicted on air.
Bravo’s brand of glamorous housewives has never featured a star being visited behind bars. And while you should not expect a prison to allow cameras inside next season, producers could certainly record Joe driving week to prison to visit Teresa, rather than inside the visitation room. It’s a digression from everything glamorous in the RH brand. But in the world of reality TV, brands have to grow. And the path that RHONJ is about travel will be an unusual one.