But here’s a reality check: sources at Bravo tell us they’ve got nothing to do with the project.
“No, Bravo is not currently filming a political show based in D.C.,” said a network source, who was not authorized to comment publicly on series that are currently in production.
When we first got word of the “Bravo show” being filmed, Lisa Spoden — a local consultant who identified herself as being part of the cast — at first returned our call and dished about the series, which she said centers on GOP lobbyist Burkman, who’s a frequent cable-news talker and radio host, and his firm. Bravo, she said, had bought the first three episodes and planned to air them in late October or early November.
Which seemed odd — for a show that’s airing so soon, the network has aired no promos, and those supposed cast members have been quiet on social media — very much unlike most publicity-seeking soon-to-be reality stars. There were a few other clues that the show might not be what it seemed.
As Spoden described it, “Wicked Politics” didn’t sound like the kind of fare that typically goes into a Bravo reality-show stew (think love triangles and screaming matches). “We’re on our computers, we’re making telephone calls,” Spoden said, describing the show’s depiction of the office goings-on. “It’s basically about Jack being really outspoken, and the rest of us balancing him out, with all of us arguing for our political beliefs.”
And of the cast members Spoden identified as being part of Burkman and Associates — herself; Burkman; his wife, Susan; M. Reese Everson; and Ashton Randle — only Jack Burkman and Randle are registered lobbyists. Randle, whom Spoden described as a “part-timer” at the firm who serves as counsel, works in government relations for the American Psychological Association.
Everson who did a fellowship on Capitol Hill and is now an Illinois-based criminal defense attorney, according to her Web site, said she couldn’t comment when we reached her by phone. Randle didn’t return our calls.
Bravo cameras have been trained on the District in recent months, just not for “Wicked Politics.” On Aug. 11, the network was at K Street watering hole P.J. Clarke’s filming scenes for the reality show “Southern Charm,” which returns next year. The network struck out with its only previous D.C.-centric offering: “The Real Housewives of DC” was cancelled in 2011 after one season of low ratings.
Still, the “Bravo” name was being thrown around as the Burkmans, Randle, and others made appearances, followed by a camera, at various charity and social events over the last month. One of their stops was P.J. Clarke’s, where a friend of Spoden’s was trying to gather other lobbyists for the “Bravo” cameras.
“Lisa Spoden, Ph.D is working with BRAVO network on a reality TV Series about the Real life of Politicos called Wicked Politics,” wrote Bonnie Ross, a government-contracts consultant, in an e-mail to friends, saying that she’d been asked to spread the word among people who might like to be filmed for the scene. “The segment is on real lobbyists and others involved in advocacy and policy development on Capital [sic] Hill. They will be talking about the 2014 and 2016 elections and their impact on the economy, world struggles, and other current events. They want to show you in action discussing things that matter.”
In addition, Randle identified the camera as one of Bravo’s in at least two instances, sources in contact with him said.
Cut to the backtracking. When we called to clear up the confusion, Burkman told us that yes, he’s been working with a production crew (from “Hollywood,” he claims, but he wouldn’t say what company), but so far, there’s no show — and no buyer. He’s been working on the idea for a long time with his agent, he said.
Burkman is no stranger to controversy — he was dropped by at least one client after announcing he was drafting legislation to ban gays from the NFL — or to hype: he advertises his podcast as “the only talk show in the world hosted by a registered lobbyist” and promises that it offers an insiders’ look at Washington “for the first time in the history of American media.” After brushing off our questions about the show, he asked that we not write about it, offering to give us “the scoop” when it finally aired.
As for the multiple references to Bravo?
“Rumors in Washington fly,” he said.
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