Thanks to a couple's alleged White House party crashing, awareness of a new series was huge long before its debut.
However, Bravo wants it known -- as do the purported crashers, not surprisingly -- that "The Real Housewives of DC" is about other women besides Michaele Salahi. The latest entry in the "Real Housewives" franchise premieres Thursday, Aug. 5, and it takes some time for it to get to the much-reported incident at Washington's 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (which didn't happen until filming was nearly completed).
After so much time being linked to the show without any of it ready to be seen, self-proclaimed "hugger" Salahi says she and her husband, Tareq, are "really excited for the whole world to see it, and to show the nation's capital and the great diversity in these five women. We're all very strong, different personalities and I'm excited for people just to see who I am.
"There's been a lot of miscommunication, and the media has had fun with how they want us to be, but I know Bravo will highlight the way I really am."
And yes, four other D.C. "Housewives" also get big attention in the series. They are Mary Schmidt Amons, a charity event organizer and the granddaughter of media legend Arthur Godfrey; modeling agency chief Lynda Erkiletian; Catherine Ashley Ommanney, a British interior designer and ex-flame of Prince Harry who separated from her husband after the "Real Housewives" episodes were shot; and real estate agent Stacie Scott Turner.
"I'm one of those people who kind of tells it like it is," Turner claims. "If you ask my friends, that's what they'll say about me, so if I'm portrayed that way, great!"
As with the other new "Housewives," Turner inevitably tells it like it is about the Salahis, at least from her standpoint: "They're very nice people, and I don't want to pass judgment on what they did, but that's just part of their reality. They really believe they were invited to that event, so that's part of their life, and that's what the show portrays."
Bravo programming executive Andy Cohen -- also the host of the network's program "Watch What Happens Live" -- maintains there was no thought of eliminating Salahi from "The Real Housewives of DC" after the White House controversy erupted, in large part because so much footage of her already was in the can.
"It was my fantasy that we would have housewives fighting about politics," he explains, "and certainly, that's one of the things that comes up in the show. The other theme that brought us to Washington was the idea that social clout is measured there not by money but by proximity to political power. Little did we realize how much we would be on that theme with the incident last November."