As a longtime cast member of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Kandi Burruss is a pro when it comes to the end-of-season reunions where the entire cast comes together to reflect on all the drama. While filming on the show wrapped months ago, the reunion is taped after the episodes air. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cast and crew were forced to film the reunion remotely — something that had never been done before.
“I felt like the reunion turned out really great, surprisingly, because I didn’t think there would be a way to do that and it be good,” Burruss told TheWrap on Wednesday. “Watching it back I was like, wow, it turned out way better than I expected.”
The reality TV star credits production for figuring out how to pull off the reunion — not an easy task with up to eight vocal women and host Andy Cohen on the screen at the same time. Such an undertaking is a bit more complicated than your average conference call.
“Kudos to our production company Truly Original,” Burruss explained. “They set it up with some company so they got clear audio of everyone. They didn’t use just like Zoom or anything, they had something that they could control from their end virtually. So even though I’m at home with my computer, they could control the screen. Like how we were all yelling at each other, they muted us, they could separate the audio from different people.”
Still, each housewife had to set up her own audio and visual. For Kandi, a recording artist who streams her own online show, that didn’t prove too much of a challenge.
“They gave each girl one light, a laptop and a microphone,” she explained. “Now some of us, we have our own light. And I’m always on YouTube, so I had some extra lights and some of the other girls did, too.”
As for glam — this year’s theme was Grecian goddess — Burruss says some of her co-stars may have broken social distancing rules to perfect their looks. “Everybody was supposed to do their own hair and makeup, but I was the only one who did my own hair and makeup, the rest of them hired people (laughs),” Burruss spilled. “But it turned out really well.”
Cohen revealed that two days were spent in technical rehearsals and said “the women have been champs.” Both he and the cast agreed that having a “mute” button was essential given the cast’s propensity to talk over one another and the delays inherent to teleconferencing. Since moderating the “Atlanta” reunion, Cohen has gone on to host virtual reunions for “Summer House” and “Vanderpump Rules.”
As for the future of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and other cities in the franchise amid the ongoing pandemic, that remains to be seen.
“We’re not sure how we’re supposed to get started,” Burruss told TheWrap. “I think it’s gonna be a little bit of a delay and I think they’re just figuring out what the plan is. They haven’t shared it with the rest of us yet, but I do know they are working on when we’re gonna start. Obviously we’re not starting as soon as we would normally start because they’re trying to set it up and make sure everybody is safe.”
“Dallas was just about to shoot, Jersey had just started shooting, so there’s obviously been a pause,” Cohen told “Entertainment Tonight” on Wednesday. “O.C. was kinda in the middle of their season almost, so there’s been a pause. They’ve been shooting some stuff themselves, [and] we’re anxious to start getting them all back together, obviously, but we have to wait and respectfully watch and see when it’s safe enough to do it.”
Bravo had no comment about the future of the franchise at this time.
Check out some behind-the-scenes footage from “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” reunion below.
Jennifer Maas contributed to this story.