My personal fascination, along with some of our TJB readers, continues with what actually goes on behind the scenes in non-scripted TV. And with the stellar ratings and rumored drama popping off on ‘R&B Divas LA‘, I figured now is a perfect time to chat with one of the show’s executive producers, Paul Coy Allen. Specifically, we chatted with him about comments made by a cast member that producers mislead cast members with the true intentions of the show, why Dawn Robinson skipped the reunion taping and unfair editing. Check our conversation below.
What’s your title and role with ‘R&B Divas’ LA?
I am one of the Executive Producers of the show. Along with Adam Reed, my business partner Phil Thornton, and Aaron Fishman, we oversee all the creative and production elements of the series.
What other shows have you been involved with?
I’ve been in the TV/Film industry for over 15 years now, and have been involved in every type of show…on just about every network you could think of. Besides producing the “R&B Divas” franchise I Direct and Produce various types of TV and Film productions. Currently I am one of the Director’s on Nickelodeon’s new sitcom series “Sam & Cat”. Being involved in a hit realty series and scripted series at the same time is truly a blessing.
A few days ago, one of the show’s cast members, Dawn Robinson essentially said that she was mislead into what the show would be about. She mentioned Phil Thornton, who you work with, suggested it would be like a ‘Waiting to Exhale’ type of show. Were you involved with casting Dawn?
Yes. Phil and I together are heavily involved in casting for the show. After season one of “R&B Divas Atlanta”, it all pretty much starts with us two initiating any new potential cast. Lamar Chase and Jubba Seyyid at TVOne also chime in early with suggestions. We then collectively, along with the team at Think Factory Media, narrow down the candidates.
Well my business partner Phil ran into Dawn out and about somewhere in LA when were developing the spinoff. Having a very successful run as a member of Envogue and Lucy Pearl, she definitely fit the bill. After that initial meeting I sat down with Dawn and the Producing team at Think Factory Media.
What’s your response?
Like all of our cast members, we thought she had a great personal journey that would resonate strongly with a particular group of women out there in the world. We thought her struggles with motherhood along with other challenges was a compelling storyline for us to follow, so we brought her on. That’s always our goal when considering a new cast member. During the process we hear their complete story beginning to end, discuss their current situation, their misconceptions, and where they would like to be in life and within their career. We mention what a great platform this series has been in re-launching careers, and sometimes bringing some folks back into the public eye. “Take full advantage…” is what we always say, and be as open as possible. We always encourage our cast to present things going on in their everyday life to follow, and we try our best to cover them all individually within the show. With 6 women and only 8 episodes we try to be as fair as possible to balance things out. That being said…”Waiting to Exhale”…sounds about right to me.
There are natural dramas within every person’s everyday life, and with “R&B Divas” that’s what our audience connects to the most…REAL natural situations & people they can relate to. Once again we tell our cast to be as open possible, and as Producers of the series we seek out resolutions, and positivity at all stops. No one has ever told a cast member to fight. As mentioned to each of the Divas when we first sit down with them, we are not sought out to create train wreck television, and that’s definitely not the type of programming I personally would want my name on.
Let’s talk editing a bit. Time and time again, reality stars point the finger at bad editing–essentially saying they were edited to show more negativity. What’s your response to this?
One of the LA cast members said it best recently in an interview. I think it was Lil Mo, and she hit the nail on the head. We shoot hundreds of hours of footage during 1 week. This is the amount of time allotted to capture 1 complete full episode of the show. Between 6 Divas and various scenarios that’s a limited amount of days for coverage that ultimately needs to be narrowed down to one hour of time. Actually it’s less than that if you consider the time for commercial breaks (roughly 40-46 min total). At the end of the day, when it comes time to shoot a scene, how a person conducts himself or herself when cameras are rolling is completely their own doing. If you give us X, all we got is X, so we deliver X. As a company we are required contractually, and on the hook to deliver an episode for each week.
This week, we reported that Dawn was a no show at the reunion. Our guess (which isn’t a fact) is she may be a bit unpleased with the show and decided against attending. Any idea on why she didn’t attend?
Anything else that you’d like to clear up before we let you go?
I just would like to thank the fans for the continued support of the series. Stay Tuned…there is more in store!