July 16, 2024

DealBook: Searching for the Wives of Wall Street

Alex, left, Jill and Bethenny on Giovanni Rufino/BravoAnd here’s to conspicuous consumption: Alex, left, Jill and Bethenny on “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

Fans of “Real Housewives,” “Mob Wives” and “Basketball Wives” may soon be programming their TiVos for another set of larger-than-life spouses: the wives of Wall Street.

A casting call notice went out on Wednesday for “Wall $treet Wives,” a new reality show (or “docu-series,” in the patois of Hollywood) that is looking to fill out an ensemble cast of four or five women. Qualified applicants, the notice said, would have “a fun and attractive personality,” and would either be married or formerly married to a man working in an “’investments oriented” position on Wall Street.

“Wall $treet Wives,” which has not yet secured a network deal, is the brainchild of Devon Fleming, a Connecticut-based author and lifestyle guru, and her friend and co-producer, Sammi Mendenhall. Ms. Fleming and Ms. Mendenhall first pitched the show in 2007, using Ms. Fleming, who is married to a Deutsche Bank wealth manager, as a central character. But networks had a different vision.

“They all wanted this ugly cat-fight scenario,” Ms. Fleming said in a telephone interview.

Devon Fleming is the co-producer of Devon FlemingDevon Fleming is the co-producer of “Wall $treet Wives.”

Now, Ms. Mendenhall said, they are again trying to identify women who have “fabulous lives,” live in the greater New York area and are willing to let TV cameras invade their homes. But mere trophy wives need not apply.

“These are not idiots. These are the intelligent women who hold it down,” Ms. Mendenhall said of her ideal candidates. “Some of them have M.B.A.’s!”

A Wall Street reality show has precedent. The Mojo HD cable network aired two seasons of “Wall Street Warriors,” which followed the lives of several finance professionals, and Bravo is developing “The Women of Wall Street,” which tells the story of “five predictably beautiful, ambitious and successful women who make millions by day and swap stories over martinis by night,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But Ms. Fleming and Ms. Mendenhall said their show would differentiate itself by focusing on the women behind the men of Wall Street, some of whom were victims of the recent financial crisis. The topic was explored in a 2009 essay in Portfolio titled “Confessions of a TARP Wife,” whose anonymous author was later revealed to be Elizabeth Peek, the wife of former CIT Group chief executive, Jeffrey M. Peek. But it has never been brought to the small screen.

“These women have a lot to tell,” Ms. Fleming said. “They’ve been through a very bumpy ride.”

Ms. Mendenhall, who has done casting for reality shows including the History Channel’s “Food Tech” and MTV’s “16 and Pregnant,” called “Wall $treet Wives” a “tough casting,” since many financiers are less than thrilled about exposing their families to the spotlight.

And Ms. Mendenhall added that while she tried to protect her cast members, she bore no responsibility for the fates of the marriages depicted on the show. One of the married Wall Street couples originally cast for the 2007 pitch, she noted, had since gotten divorced.

“The market is volatile,” she said. “And so are the marriages.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f9bfdd9ace82d0a4fe159bca42a33393

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