Who decides which star of each The Real Housewives season gets center billing in the show’s opening title sequence? And how do producers film that now-iconic moment with each cast member holding an emblem of their city, such as an orange (RHOC), an apple (RHONYC), or a diamond (RHOBH)?
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and The Real Housewives of Orange County executive producer Doug Ross explained how they’re filmed to E! News.
First, Ross said that there’s lots of drama behind the scenes about who’s going to stand where, but that decision isn’t made on the day the women are filmed. Instead, producers film each woman separately, and have her pose in all three positions (holding the object in her left hand, her right hand, and both hands), so they can place her wherever they want later.
“That is some of the biggest political maneuvering with the cast members that goes on all season long and they talk about it from the very beginning of the year, what their placement is going to be. And, of course, everybody thinks that they deserve to be in the center and explains to me that they must be in the center and if they’re not in the center, they’re not going to come back next year.”
“We actually ask every cast member to hold either the orange or the diamond with their left hand out wide, out medium, out close, and then both hands in the center, and then their right hand out wide, out medium, and out close—so we have all the options.”
The final image is composited together in post-production, and the ultimate placement is determined based on storylines and in consultation with Bravo:
“Those [individual] shots are done in the middle of the season, in the early part of the season, so we don’t know who really deserves to be in the center until towards the end of the year. It’s a highly political decision, of course, because everybody gets offended if they’re not. But we work closely with the network at that point to figure out who was really sort of the center of the group interaction and then that person, generally, is the person who’s put in the center.”