Paul Wharton, D.C.’s reality star-in-waiting, decamps for New York

May 2, 2013

After a long run as Washington’s next great reality TV star-in-waiting, Paul Wharton is leaving town. Washington, it turns out, isn’t much of a reality TV town.

“I tried to make a lot of things happen, and it was a great experience there,” he told us on the phone from his new Manhattan apartment. “But to go to the next level [in TV], it’s not where you need to be.”


Paul Wharton shooting his DC50 show “Paul Wharton Style. (Aidah Fontenot)

On D.C.’s young cocktail circuit, Wharton was recognizable as the fashion-forward guy with the feline cheekbones who seemed to emcee every fashion show or awards gala; he also had his own local lifestyle show on DC50, which begins its last four-episode run Sunday.

Nationally, he made a name on “Real Housewives of D.C.” as the sassy sidekick whose provocative jabs and dramatic reaction shots were sometimes the only things keeping a sluggish plot moving.

If “Housewives” had caught on — Wharton hoped for a springboard to a skin-care line, lifestyle-guru books, TV production work — “I would have been in that for the long haul,” he told us. But Bravo dropped the show after one season.

The Washington native, who lived in NYC during the late ’90s and early ’00s, told us that he has partnered with a former MTV producer for a new show and that things are looking good enough for the project that it made sense to move to New York for it.

What he won’t miss about D.C.: “I was a flashy guy in a conservative town,” where people were eager to party with him but didn’t always take him seriously.

What he will miss: Family, friends and the sense of security “when it comes to moving around socially — you can get in everywhere, you’re having the best time you can possibly have at a certain level. . . .” Big fish in a small pond, you mean? “Yeah!”

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