Bravo orders ex-'Housewives' star Jo De La Rosa reality dating pilot
By Christopher Rocchio, 11/27/2007
Bravo has announced it has ordered a pilot for a new untitled reality dating show starring Jo De La Rosa, the original The Real Housewives of Orange County "housewife" that did not return for the show's currently-airing third season.
Evolution Film & Tape Inc. -- the same production company that has produced The Real Housewives' last two seasons -- will produce the pilot, which will follow the 26-year-old former The Real Housewives "housewife" (despite the show's billing, De La Rosa never actually married Slade Smiley, her former live-in fiance) as she "looks for love in Los Angeles," where she recently relocated to pursue her singing career.
Although Bravo announced the show will begin production "immediately" and its pilot will film in December, a Bravo publicist was unable to provide any further details on the show's format when reached by Reality TV World on Tuesday, including whether it will utilize a gradual elimination format similar to The Bachelor or be a less-structured show along the lines of #1 Single, the Lisa Loeb series that aired on E! in 2006.
Bravo had announced De La Rosa's The Real Housewives departure as part last month's third season premiere announcement. De La Rosa was replaced by Tamra Barney, a 39-year-old wife and mother of four who is trying to launch her career as a real-estate agent.
Earlier this year, De La Rosa and Smiley -- the on-again/off-again boyfriend and former fiance who is now serving as De La Rosa's manager -- appeared to have a falling-out with Bravo after Smiley went public about behind-the-scenes squabbles between The Real Housewives cast and Bravo.
In early March -- shortly before the broadcast of the show's second-season finale -- The Los Angeles Times published a report in which several of The Real Housewives' cast members (but primarily Smiley) voiced their frustration about their Bravo relationship and the endorsement, publicity and media appearance restrictions the network had contractually placed upon them.
At the time, Smiley had told The Times that while The Real Housewives' cast members were being compensated for their participation in the show, Bravo's restrictions had been hampering the cast's ability to exploit their newfound television fame for additional financial gain.
"All of us made it happen," Smiley told The Times. "I won't let my success be handled by someone else."
Part of Smiley's success plan apparently included using the show as a platform to launch a singing career for De La Rosa. Although the first part of Smiley's plan worked -- The Real Housewives' second season included footage of De La Rosa recording a demo song that led to her signing a record contract with immergent Records in late March -- the next part hit a bump when Bravo publicists reportedly called to "reprimand" him after the two attempted to promote De La Rosa's singing career at various events.
"They hate the fact we've figured how to take exposure from the show and turn it into something," Smiley, who also took credit for being the one to originally suggest that De La Rosa participate in The Real Housewives, told The Times in the March report. "We're about making personal relationships in the industry. It comes across when we meet people. We're not hungry for it. We're not pushing too hard."
De La Rosa had told The Times that Bravo had been "very supportive" of her efforts to launch a singing career.
At the time, Smiley told The Times he was planning on moving forward with a spin-off show for De La Rosa that he called Just Jo -- the same name of her debut album, which immergent Records had originally intended to coincide with The Real Housewives' third-season fall premiere but has since been pushed back to early 2008.
Bravo's publicist would not comment on whether Smiley will have any on-camera or off-camera involvement in the network's De La Rosa dating show pilot.