TheWrap recently caught up with the “House of Villains” cast ahead of the series premiere to talk about their reality TV careers and how the genre has evolved over the years.
Omarosa, who is celebrating 20 years in unscripted television since competing in the first season of “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump in 2003, says many current shows feel “manufactured.”
“It’s changed in a way that I think that a lot of people get on TV, and they try to put on airs, or they try to be a character, or they try so hard to be entertaining,” Omarosa replied when asked what’s changed about reality TV. “Whereas I think when we started, we were just truly just out there having fun and being ourselves. And we didn’t have to manufacture drama. So now you just see all this manufactured drama.”
Tanisha Thomas, who rose to fame in the mid-aughts after appearing on “Bad Girls Club,” agreed.
“Some of it watered down, super-produced, and you can kind of tell it’s not natural,” Thomas said.
Jax Taylor, who was one of the original cast members of “Vanderpump Rules” when it debuted back in 2013, believed his show was more genuine because the cast were actually friends before filming started.
“The dynamic was already there,” Taylor explained. “You can definitely tell nowadays, the manufacturing of all this kind of stuff and where [producers] kind of want to guide it, which is interesting. But I come from the old school of finding people who already have a good group together. And then, you know, the story can unfold that way.”
Tiffany “New York” Pollard, best known for “Flavor of Love” and her own series “I Love New York,” said shows with hands-on producers have advantages and disadvantages — especially with new codes of conduct.
“The new batch of reality stars have it way easier than we did back in the day,” Pollard explained. “I just feel they’re not as pushed as we were … I used to have to literally make it up as I’m in the moment. But now I just feel like the producers protect you more, the genre is a lot more respected. I feel like that coating of protection that is there now.”
“The Challenge” veteran Johnny Bananas says “House of Villains” hearkens back to the early days of reality TV, which he described as “The Wild West.” “This is for the first time in a long time a show that I feel like is going back to the roots and that Wild West, unhinged, messy reality television that the fans have been yearning for.”
“I was worried that we’re gonna have producers [say], ‘Oh, set this up for me. Talk about this. You guys sit here.’ I don’t like that. None of that happened,” Thomas added. “We got picked to be in the house, they started filming, it was like ‘Go!’”
“The cast and the energy, the synergy, the drama, the intensity, you literally couldn’t make this up,” Thomas said. “You could not write this. It is epic TV in its biggest, greatest form.”
The villains include: Anfisa Arkhipchenko, Johnny Bananas, Shake Chatterjee, Jonny Fairplay, Bobby Lytes, Corinne Olympios, Omarosa, Tiffany “New York” Pollard, Jax Taylor and Tanisha Thomas. Joel McHale hosts.
Check out the “House of Villains” trailer below and tune into all the drama and intensity when the show premieres with a 75-minute episode Thursday night on E! at 10 p.m. ET/PT.