Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When is Football Wives coming back?!?

If I had a nickel for every time I'm asked this question, I'd have a new pair of Louboutins sitting in my closet! It's a question that I'm asked frequently and it always pains me to say - "I don't think it is..."

This time last year, we were in full-on production mode for season 1 of the show. It was an exciting time and everyone was full of anticipation! One of the weekly entertainment magazines gave us 3 out of 4 stars - if I remember correctly, the previous season of Basketball Wives got half a star. We were going to do this! We spent four awesome (and sometimes grueling and emotional) months doing our best to tell our reality about what life is REALLY like for a football wife. Unfortunately, things didn't necessarily pan out as expected.

We (as a cast) realized a few weeks before the show premiered that something wasn't quite right. The network wasn't advertising the show. How was anyone going to watch if they didn't know we were coming on? I still see tweets every once in a while - people asking "there was a Football Wives?" Yep - it was such a short run that if you blinked, you might've missed it. Contrast that to several other Dallas-based reality shows on other networds right now - I hear and see them advertised all the time.

I remember driving to work one morning sitting in traffic on the tollway when I heard a commercial for Bret Michael's reality show on one of the biggest morning radio shows in the DFW area. It was airing on the same network that Football Wives was set to premiere. I thought - "Wait a minute - this is Dallas! The show happened here! We can't even get a commercial on local radio????" In short - NOPE! Most of the cast worked hard trying to promote the show on our own - we were setting up magazine and radio interviews, granting blogger interview requests - you name it, and incurring out-of-pocket costs to do so. We even set up our own red carpet premiere party only to have the network tell us we couldn't call it the "official" party.

We did our best, but in hindsight it's clear that the show wasn't going to be a success without the support of the network. It was as if we were being set up to fail.

The week before our premiere the network put the entire episode online. The day we premiered, the show came on earlier in the day so it didn't ACTUALLY premiere during our time slot. Why is this important??? Because ratings are EVERYTHING!!!! If a show gets poor ratings, then advertisers won't pay for ad space during the episode and the network doesn't make money. After not being promoted and having the first episode available before the actual "premiere," our ratings weren't as great as expected. Frankly, they were disappointing.

Then, a funny thing happened during our season one - our ratings started climbing after our slow start. Viewership steadily rose in the midst of some pretty big competition. Not only did we have to compete with Sunday night football every week since we aired during football season, but just about every big music awards came on during our time slot and we'd have to compete with those shows that had established national audiences - we're talking the Country Music Awards, the Bet Awards if I remember correctly. It seemed like there was ALWAYS something else on during our time slot. But our ratings kept rising. By the time our last episode aired, our viewership had risen to around 1.5 million viewers between the three showings of the episode on finale day. 1.5 million viewers. That's pretty good for a show that wasn't promoted. It's a lot more viewers than other VH1 shows had that have gotten renewed. We were pretty confident that there would be a season two.

I started having my doubts around Super Bowl - how could the biggest game in American football be played in our city, yet the cameras weren't rolling? I'd been told by the powers that be that IF we had another season, we wouldn't start shooting until around summertime. Summer? We did that during season one! Wouldn't it be nice to change things up a bit?

Anyway, Super Bowl Sunday rolled around - certainly the network would run a Football Wives marathon that day. They run everybody else's marathons, why not ours? Imagine my disappointment when I flipped to the network that day and they were running a Basketball Wives marathon - ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY! I'm a smart chick - I think I knew back then we wouldn't be coming back when the network refused to do anything to promote the show. But I guess there is always hope...

We started hearing comparisons to Basketball Wives early on. Makes sense - we had the same executive producer, the same production company. It was a reality show about sports "wives." I can't blame people for making the comparisons. But the shows are different, for obvious reasons. Our cast is comprised of women who are actually WIVES! We had two castmembers who are not - just-the-girlfriend Brittany who is now expecting a baby boy with her Dallas Cowboys boyfriend David Buehler (you missed that - the pregnancy would've been featured on season 2 had there been one) and Mercedes Nelson (who dated a high profile now ex-Cowboy - if they had told her story right, she was incredibly relevant to the story we could've told). In contrast, most of the Basketball Wives are divorced or at some point had a relationship (or relationships - plural) with professional basketball players. Is it just me, or should being married be a requirement if you're on a show with "Wives" in the title???? And funny thing is - several of those ladies are dating football players. That's a bit ironic I think.

But here is one of the problems - we were actually married!!!! The women on our cast have husbands that we actually loved and care for, who have good reputations as being professionals and family men. Some of the guys are still active players, and if we had acted a complete fool on national t.v., it could've potentially affected our husbands' careers. Most of us are mothers, some of us with our own careers. Getting on t.v. and acting a complete fool was never, ever going to happen.

In contrast, Basketball Wives had it's highest ratings yet after last weekend's episode in which two of the castmembers got into a weave pullin', breast exposing fight that resulted in one of them being sued for assault. In the Football Wives episode where I threw the cookie at Pilar, I had the foresight to know that if I'd actually made contact with that cookie, there would've been police waiting for me at the dock. I played softball and I have great aim, and she wasn't sitting that far from me. I missed on purpose. I wasn't trying to catch a charge over that broad or the show - it just wasn't going to happen. But that (and the travesty that was the last episode) was all the fight drama the viewers were going to get.

People called our show boring, constantly comparing it to Basketball Wives. We didn't have to compete with each other - the only thing we really had in common was that "Wives" word in our show titles.

There are other notable differences between Football Wives and Basketball Wives. Basketball Wives was filming their second season while we were filming our first. It appeared to me that they had a bigger budget - more extravagant trips, etc. Their season would be ten, hour-long episodes. We had eight, twenty-two minute episodes to try to tell a story. Initially, we were going to get ten, twenty-two minute episodes but the network cancelled two shows due to low ratings early in the season. So with an abbreviated season, often times the story that was pieced together didn't make a lot of sense. Had the show been longer and the story told right, I think the show would've connected with more people.

And advertising. While our season was struggling, the Basketball Wives were being featured on the sides of buses and in commercials. I often wonder what we would've been able to accomplish had we be given the same consideration.

While watching season 2 of Basketball Wives, I noticed something else - the network wouldn't air some of the Basketball Wives episodes earlier in the day - that way, people would have to tune in to the show later in the evening. RATINGS. Or how about the night the Basketball Wives season finale was supposed to air at the same time as a big awards show. We didn't get our show moved around to avoid competition, but when the bball ladies had to go up against Oscars, you bet your ass they postponed the finale until the next week. RATINGS!

We didn't get a reunion. What reality show on VH1 doesn't get a reunion? That was the first red flag that we might be in trouble. Personally, my theory is the Football Wives reunion didn't happen for a couple of reasons. For one, I don't think Pilar would've been woman enough to show up. She would've been confronted hard. It was easy for her to talk smack during interviews when she, the producer and crew were the only ones in the room. Having seen the episodes and heard the derogatory things she was saying about the cast, she knew what was coming and I am certain she wouldn't have shown up for a reunion. She's the classy one remember? She won't engage... unless she's hiding behind twitter.

Secondly, had there been a reunion, you would've had the cast saying, "Okay, here's what really happened." See, producers want you to think that the story they tell is, in fact, reality. The reality is that everything you see on these shows had to happen, but it is edited and told according to what some genius has decided would make a good story. Having gone through the process of participating in reality t.v., when I watch shows like Basketball Wives and I'm gasping and holding my breath, I remind myself - Okay, what really happened??? That's what would've happened at a Football Wives reunion - our reality may have been exposed. We would've told the true story.

Shortly after our season wrapped, we got word that the Basketball Wives season 2 reunion was already being planned and coordinated. That was like a slap in the face. And it stung. We had put so much time and effort into the project that at the very least, I thought we deserved some closure.

I later heard a radio interview Shaunie O'Neal participated in. During the interview, she called our show "churchy" and certainly didn't sound supportive. She later denied she called us churchy but she did. I heard her say it. Just sayin', but I think there might be some sort of conflict of interest when the show's executive producer is not promoting the show and is in fact degrading it. But things are all good for Shaunie I guess since Basketball Wives is doing so well. She couldn't support the "competition." Crazy to think that she could have had two successful shows had we be given her support.

Football Wives is a good show. It's fun and endearing and entertaining. The guys are involved - it's interesting getting their perspective on things. I watch DVR'ed episodes every once in a while and it makes me wonder what dummy made the decision not to bring it back - it was a good show. I don't agree with a lot of the editing of Football Wives - actually, I think it was pretty whack. But it was a good show. We weren't fighting and cussin' all the time though. If that's all viewers want, they weren't getting it from this group of ladies.

During season 1, you saw a few snippets of what we did during that four months of shooting, but I promise you we didn't even scrape the surface of what it's like to be a football wife. You guys missed some good stuff too - there is probably enough tape to put together a reel of highlights that would be awesome. For example...

We got stuck on an elevator in New York - that was actually pretty scary, but funny as hell.

I think about the day I made a comment about Amanda's pussy (cat) being on my lap. The crew even started laughing and we had to stop taping for a couple of minutes to regroup.

I think about hanging out on the dock after the boat fight praying a slightly intoxicated Erin McBriar wouldn't fall into the water - she was the only one wearing a mic and they needed her to stand at attention to catch the post-Cookiegate discussions.

You missed the Football Wives out on the Hudson River in New York overlooking the sight of the World Trade Center and Chanita picking up the tour boat microphone to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

There are so many things you didn't get to see - good parts that would've made you laugh, made you cry. It is a shame you (and I) never got to see them.

So what did you miss that would've been season 2??? For starters, Super Bowl was in Dallas this year and it was a complete debacle because of the weather. Chanita flew into town ready to take the Big D by storm and she just had to be somewhere (vs. stuck inside in the cold). So we went to the mall - the only store open was Forever 21. So Ryan and George chilled while we scoured the empty mall before heading for a bite to eat at Cheesecake Factory. It was pretty entertaining.

And the real life football wives had a blast Super Bowl week - snow and all! That's us at the NFLPA's big bash.

We wrapped up the week with a Super Bowl party at Amanda's house - it was perfect!

As previously mentioned, David and Brittany are expecting a baby boy - and soon! We'll be holding a baby shower for her next month.

You missed Melani and I reconciling and laughing about a potential spoof with a castmember being portrayed by a tranny. Get 'em Quepha.

Deion is going to be inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame. Um, kind of a big deal. Actually, you may not have seen that part because Pilar swears she wouldn't come back to the show and is doing her best to do distance herself from the show. Fine with me - bye!

And Mat McBriar made it to the Pro Bowl! We could've gone to Hawaii to support Erin and all stay in a house together for a week. You're telling me if they'd put us all under one roof for a week no drama would've popped of?!?!? I think there would've been plenty. It may not have been weave pulling or anything like that, but there was certain to be conflict, and because viewers like conflict, I'm thinking the ratings would've been pretty good.

Most importantly, we missed the opportunity as a show to be a part of history. The lockout was recently lifted and it was definitely material for season 2. The media is calling the lockout historical, and we could've been there to show the Football Wives version of it. But nope. No cameras anywhere.

And, there were no cameras rolling today either when castmate Amanda Davis found out her hubby Leonard was being cut by the Cowboys to free up cap space. The Davis family just drove back to town from Arizona last week - full of anticipation and ready to get back on the gridiron, only to realize and face the disappointment of the business side of football. If the story would've been told right, I promise it would've made for amazing t.v.

I shake my head thingking about the focus group the network reportedly put together after our show. Apparently focus group members who I'm assuming are from New York or Los Angeles said that Dallas was boring and that it didn't seem very interesting. Right... that's why there are no less than three reality shows based in Dallas on air right now. Boring my *ss!

So what now??? Well, we move on and continue our lives. The Neufelds are doing well - Ryan is officially retired and dealing with the post-retirement issues many players deal with. My husband is 35 and will most likely end up on disability. At 35! The kiddos are doing amazing and would've certainly provided some entertainment - Bryn's favorite word right now is "bubbies." She's become quite the character. And I continue to practice law - somehow viewers missed during season 1 that I do work! Hearing people tell me on Twitter to go get a job gets old.

So, we're still living life and appreciating the few opportunities Football Wives presented.

For those of you who watch Basketball Wives, you all know what NMFF means, right? Now that Evelyn Lozada is planning on marrying Chad Ochocinco, she's being hammered with questions about whether or not she would join Football Wives. She usually says something along the lines of "hell no" and says that Football Wives is a NMFF. Well, it can't be that much of a NMFF if she keeps having to address it. People are talking about it - it's relevant. People want the show back. And are we really a NMFF since we start airing this week down under in Mat McBriar's 'hood? HELLO AUSTRALIA! And do NMFFs end up on Centric TV, where season 1 of Football Wives will air in 2012? I think not. People watched the show, they want to know what happened to the show, and I think we should give them what they want. Fans, and my castmates, deserve something.

We did our best to fight to bring the show back but it's out of our hands. If you are interested in supporting the show and want to see another season, we have a Facebook page - "Bring Back Football Wives for a Season Two." Please feel free to like it. Harass VH1 - tell them to bring us back. You never know... it worked for T.O.!

*Disclaimer: I am not hating on Basketball Wives - I watch it every week and fully support a couple ladies on the show, even some of the more controversial ones. And I'm not bitter - I'm grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this cast and experience. Just sharing my thoughts.


Christy Edwards said...

Great blog Dawn, and I agree...the show was great and I had actually gotten some of my girlfriends in to the show even though they "despise" my Cowboys and anything associated with our neck of the woods! You know me, I can pester... I'm off to VH1 to send in my comments! I wish you the best and continue to hope and pray for a season 2!

Anonymous said...

Shaunie O'Neal did indeed call your show "churchy". The interview is still posted on Power 105.1's website.
It's very sad when being "churchy" is considered a bad thing, especially from a woman who claims that she is trying to display a positive portrayal of women on television.

I will continue to protest and hopefully VH1 will finally listen and bring you guys back...Minus Pillar "No Acting" Sanders.

Tamara said...

Great post and I agree that VH1 missed out on several great opportunities to show the real lives of football wives. I guess this just means that I need to form my own production company and feature you ladies on Blitz And Glam TV. ;-)

Oh So Cynthia said...

Great blog post, Dawn. I enjoyed your show, and am sad it's not coming back for another season. I admire your perseverance and grace. You are so well-spoken and lovely in person - that I have no doubt BIG things are coming down the road for you! Who knows... Perhaps a Real Housewives of Dallas could be in your future?!

Anonymous said...

"Whew..." I know that has to be how you felt after finishing this post.

When a friend told me about a show called Football Wives on VH1, I took a chance, tuned in and loved it. I honestly enjoyed the show! You ladies were fabulous!

Dallas is becoming a hotspot for reality tv. VH1 had the chance to lead the way but now they step aside to other networks. Sad.

alove said...

Great blog Dawn. Yes,Football Wives is a good show and it's obvious Shaunie Oneal has issues with the show. I heard the interview and she agreed with the show being "churchy". I also saw an tweet she sent to Chanita Foster finding it funny that she comments on BBW. I was shocked. Maybe VH1 or BET can bring the show back next year. Hopefully Dawn can put together letters on the FBook page that ppl can send with a click directly to VH1 and maybe other possible networks.

Be Blessed said...

Hi Dawn,

I agree that your show should have a second season. But I am a fan of all of you Ladies. I believe you all bring the best and the worst out of each other including Pilar. I am not one for drama but the different personalities would help with the ratings. And Shaunie did say that you all are different from Basketball wives that you all go to church. Which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed watching because you all were not afraid to express your faith. I am praying that either your show returns at least on another network. Hey maybe BET or TV One might step in. Be Blessed!

Ulonda said...

Thanks for the update Dawn. I recently discovered FW on Itunes, and I loved it!!!!. I live in Texas, so it was good to see the state get some play time. I watch BBW, but I can honestly say I think FW is better (especially compared to the BBW LA edition blech!!!) I will continue to hope that your show gets a reprieve, and thanks for giving us a glimpse of your world!!!

Anonymous said...

They should definately bring back football wives, as much as basketball wives is a guilty pleasure, most of them have no class and spent their time having useless and trashy arguments, even if football wives is churchy you ladies had class are married and love the Lord! and is wasnt boring it showed real WIVES not women who sleept with a player for years for some LV bags

Anonymous said...

Ireally want the show to come back.I thought it was a good show.And wasnt given a chance.Bring it back PLEASE!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I want the show back!! You ladies brought a different flavor and to see actual wives on tv as a wife myself most enjoy that in my opinion. Husbands interacting, children present, capturing everyday struggles, and how you deal with all that comes as being a woman, married and most of all a football wife or even a babymother lol is great for tv. So many women could relate to you ladies as well as all women who are given an opportunity to showcase their life or partial is still much needed!!!! Hope the show returns.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see more episodes of the show as well Dawn! I'm sorry for the late post, but I'm doing some research and found your blog post. "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" is not full of fist fighting and high drama, but of humor, class and intelligence and they're still going strong. So why can't your show still be on too? MAYBE another network needs to pick it up??? *hint hint BravoTv! Would love to talk to you some more about this on my own (and new) blog sometime! *Trying to get it off of the ground! :)*

Dawn Neufeld said...

Hey Toyanatimes - thanks for the feedback - it's appreciated!