- Carlos King is the executive producer of some of your favorite reality TV shows.
- He collapsed, which makes his TV shows gold and what he hates about filming – like when the cast lies.
- King also shared his thoughts on “LAMH” star Martell Holt and the infidelity that caused his divorce.
- You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.
Carlos King didn’t deserve the nickname “Record Breaker” for nothing.
You may not know the name of the executive producer, but he probably created the reality TV scenes that you can’t get out of your head. From producing an episode with Lil Wayne’s daughter Reginae on MTV’s “My Super Sweet 16” in 2015 to the man behind eight seasons of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and even the New Jersey spin-off, King knows how you make a good television.
Because of this, OWN announced King’s first deal with their network Tuesday after filming his hit TV show Love & Marriage: Huntsville with three Alabama entrepreneurial couples whose lives, relationships and drama have unfolded over two seasons . (The # 1 series for women on Saturday night has just been renewed for a third season.) King is allowed to create other fan favorites like “Belle Collective” and “Behind Every Man” for the network.
The media personality and self-described King fan Dustin Ross spoke to the creator of the reality TV show earlier this month about what it takes to cast an amazing series, some secrets from the set of “Real Housewives” and what he is up to really thinks “Huntsville” star Martell Holt and the infidelity scandal that has plagued the series. – Joi-Marie McKenzie
Melody Holt with Carlos King while filming Love and Marriage: Huntsville.
Dustin Ross: It’s no secret, Carlos, that you’ve handcrafted some of the most carefully curated storytelling and reality television programming around. What are you looking for in a personal story for your cast?
Carlos King: I was a major in journalism in college. I thought I was a reporter like Ed Gordon. [Laughs] So it’s all about the story. That education and background made me really dedicate myself to the personal story of people, which I think is accessible to a mass audience … My audience has a certain expectation when it comes to my shows. They expect funny, seedy, messy, but at the same time they expect the truth to unfold. When you see Belle Collective and you see a woman named Marie who is such a boss at work, we go home with her and she has a messy household, right? This is the stuff people want from the shows I produce, and that’s my job to deliver.
Well, you’re doing a great job because it’s this complexity of human experience that gets people excited about your productions. What fascinates you most when you tell these stories? It’s usually through the lens of a black woman, isn’t it?
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My mom was a housewife … so every day I grew up watching my mom, a black woman, run the household. She had a life before she had children. Growing up I saw that I was always fascinated by the history of black women. Look, black women are the reason we have a new president; You set the world in motion. So my job as a content creator is to send black women a love letter that says, I see you, I hear you.
Joe and Teresa Giudice on the first season of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”.
Photo by Andrei Jackamets / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images
Yes, you can brilliantly tell these stories through the black woman’s lens, but that’s not all you’ve done. You were also responsible for seasons one and two of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”. What do you think is the most reliable part of the human experience that ties these types of experiences together?
It’s about relationships. I don’t care if you’re black, white, green, yellow, Asian, Latin American, whatever. Everyone can relate to what it’s like to be in a relationship. I don’t care if you’re gay I have a show on
, called “Styling Hollywood”, [starring celebrity stylist Jason Bolden and his home decor designing husband, Adair Curtis] about two gay black men.
Many Thanks. Thank you, of course that was my love letter to my church. So relationships are at the heart of all of my shows.
I think that’s incredible. How can you play the game “in Hollywood” and still appear as your authentic self in these rooms?
I tell people all the time: I get paid a lot of money to be myself. Obviously, I haven’t always been that confident. When you grew up in Detroit in the 80s and 90s … and there weren’t any gay black men on TV or in the neighborhood. And if so, they were at rock bottom. So I never got a chance to see the interactions. The moment I moved from Detroit to New York City, I was greeted by a community of straight black girls. In order to [one day they said], “So do you have a boyfriend?” and I said, “Who told you I was gay?”
They clocked you.
They said, “Girl, it’s fine. You’re not in Detroit anymore.” And right at that moment, that was the introduction that I took: Oh, I really like being myself.
Carlos King with the cast of Love & Marriage: Huntsville.
Speaking of shows, let’s have some fun. I’m going to ask you a couple of questions. What drove your least favorite actor or person to work with the least favorite without naming them?
Without giving a name? I don’t like it when an actor is in the production. That’s the craziest thing. It’s the easy way out. It’s about getting your fans’ attention … being on their side because as a producer you don’t see what we’re doing. So one can only assume that Carlos King is that wizard, that puppeteer who makes things happen behind the scenes, which is not the case at all.
What is a secret that you kept or did not reveal especially for a housewife?
You will be shocked, it’s a lot. I’ll say so much, my biggest thing is you can tell me anything, real talk. I always go back to you and say, OK, are you ready to say it on camera? Nine times out of ten, they’ll do it at some point. It’s 1% where they just say, “No, and you can’t tell anyone.” Most “housewives” don’t mind spilling their business. It’s when you want to protect someone in your family or someone from being occupied.
We’ve all heard the rumors, so once and for all there’s something you might want to record about the ninth season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta reunion [when Phaedra Parks was confronted about spreading a rumor that Kandi Burruss wanted to drug and sexually assault Porsha Williams, which got Parks kicked off the series] and what did we learn there?
I had nothing to do with it, period.
One last question: what do you think of Martell Holt and his fall from grace that we are witnessing right now? [on “Love & Marriage?”]
Look, I don’t feel good about it. Martell is someone I always have great respect for, Martell and [his estranged wife] Melody is why we do a show called Love and Marriage: Huntsville. Little did I know when I first met them that they had any marital problems. Zero. When I tell you Martell was so in love with Melody that I thought, Oh my god, she whipped this man right here.
At the end of the day, you can say what you want about Martell. He is an amazing father. And at one point he was really trying to get things right. I think what everyone goes through is what happens when a man keeps making mistakes and his wife is just fed up.
But I did a wellness check-up with him and he’s doing better. I’m going to Huntsville in a couple of weeks for a one-on-one talk with him because I want to make sure he knows I’m there for him because at the end of the day I’m listening just because a man makes a mistake is called not that you are a bad person. And Dustin, I hope a lot of husbands or friends watch what he’s gone through and they check themselves out and say maybe I have to please my wife and my situation so that I don’t end up like this.