The Real Housewives franchise spans from one US coast to the other and instantly conjures mental images of drama. It’s riveting television and that’s why the varied iterations of the show have endured for more than a decade, continuing to increase in popularity. Critic’s Choice Television Awards, People’s Choice Awards nominations, Image Awards (NAACP) nominations, and others accolades attest to the impact of the Real Housewives franchise on television.
It’s understood among the show’s fanbase that Real Housewives of New York City (winner of the Online Cinema Award for Best Reality/Non-Fiction Program) boasts the most intense cast in the Real Housewives universe, a notion that supervising producer Nathan Palmer can easily confirm. Initially the field producer in previous seasons, Nathan was elevated to SP by the show runners who observed that this British born producer had a natural inclination for keeping himself and the environment in-check when multiple fires erupted around him.
That’s not to imply that Palmer was only astute concerning the incendiary moments; he developed and cultivated some of the most revealing and touching moments presented in the show. When the Real Housewives franchise introduced their latest offshoot, Real Housewives-Ultimate Girl’s Trip, Nathan was instantly pegged as the SP to ensure this new show would be delivered on brand and in exceptional form. Add the fact that RH-UGT was filmed as the industry was still navigating Covid-19 and it becomes more clear that the network’s confidence in Mr. Palmer is enormous and justified.
Working closely in tandem with Director Alex Alba, Nathan employed a very hands-on approach to his supervising producer role on Real Housewives of New York City. When it came to the larger and more complex scenes he was producing, Palmer would be on the floor directing the cast with Alba seated in Video Village directing the cameras. The work was taxing during scenes such as Romona’s birthday party with nearly fifty guests in attendance.
When other cast members began misbehaving at the party, Romona became furious and approached Nathan to shut down the production resulting in a never before seen moment as the show broke the fourth wall; a scenario which occurred more than once during this season. Nathan is adamant that the emotional spectrum of the show is its foundation. Moments such as when Dorinda opened up about the loss of her husband and the grieving process resonated on deeply intimate level. Creating a place where this can occur on camera is massively important to the success of this production.
Palmer relates, “My role is to help these women feel comfortable enough to speak about and share these stories with millions of people across the world. The gut reaction from cast members can sometimes be to put a wall up and not let people into personal parts of their lives that uncover imperfections, so it’s a challenging part of my job to sit down with them and try to make them understand how sharing the negative/difficult parts of their life could actually help them, and other people in the long term.”
Nathan’s influence on Real Housewives of New York City was so impactful that when the show runners formulated the idea for a new production, they approached him to be supervising producer on it as well. This latest offering, Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip, has resulted in two spectacularly popular seasons thus far. Available on Peacock Premium, this latest in the Real Housewives series features locations in Turks and Caicos and the Berkshires with glamorous settings on yacht’s and private jets.
Coordinating multicam shoots on the tarmac and hiding in a cramped space during the flight on a small yet luxurious plane is not the posh experience one might hope for but it’s a requirement of the results Mr. Palmer achieves.
He communicates, “For me working on these kind of reality shows is not about the drama and conflict, it’s about creating working respectful relationships. If I do my job properly then I am becoming close enough to the cast to empower them to speak up themselves if they feel strongly about something. It is important that we build a good form of communication and to do that I make sure they tell me what they have going on in their lives at the time and the stories they believe are most true to them.
Although drama and conflict inevitably comes out along the way, my goal is to show the best of the person on camera. Nobody is perfect and I encourage them to show their flaws…not just the positives, as nobody relates to someone who pretends to have it all together! Most importantly, trust doesn’t come without being human yourself. I let the cast members into who I am and relate to experiences I have had in my life. I tell them what I would want to see as a viewer on the back of those things.”
Writer: Coleman Haan