WASHINGTON -- Half Yard Productions, the Bethesda, Md.-based entertainment outfit behind the D.C. iteration of Bravo's "Real Housewives" franchise, turned five years old this summer. The Huffington Post caught up with Half Yard principals Abby Greensfelder and Sean Gallagher to dish about their past shows and the changing reality television landscape.
"The stakes are higher now," Greensfelder said. "There's generally, across the board, less margin for making mistakes."
Both she and Gallagher are network veterans, with more than a decade of experience at Discovery Channel and TLC, respectively. The pair have developed a slew of popular shows, from TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress" to History Channel's "Modern Marvels."
Their decision to launch their own company was sparked, Gallagher said, by a desire to tell stories about "interesting characters [and] interesting worlds." But the economic climate has presented obstacles as networks tighten their belts.
"There's such pressure and such a sense of everything needing to be a hit that there's less ability sometimes to just take a big risk and try something totally off the wall," Greensfelder explained. "On the other hand, there's more copying that goes on. If one thing is a hit, you'll find five shows on the same thing within a year." A major network wouldn't have cloned its own shows like that 10 years ago, she added.
Her comments seem to hint at the drama surrounding "The Real Housewives of D.C.," which Bravo failed to renew after its inaugural season. Greensfelder downplayed any suggestion of an acrimonious ending to the show, which was criticized for being more sedate than its table-flipping siblings in New Jersey, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Beverly Hills and Orange County, Calif.
"[Bravo] loved the show, and they were happy with how it did," Greensfelder stressed. She also said the show's takeaway dramatic storyline -- the White House party-crashing by cast member Michaele Salahi and her now-estranged husband Tareq -- created "a whole bunch of circumstances and issues" that made it a "hot-button show."
Did that result in the show's demise? "I don't know, I don't work for Bravo," Greensfelder said. Networks, she pointed out, "make decisions about what [they] commission and what [they] don't commission for any number of reasons."
Greensfelder said that she and Gallagher have maintained a warm relationship with Bravo, for which they're developing two soon-to-be-announced shows.For now, Half Yard is pushing another project, TLC's "Candy Queens," which debuts on Dec. 5 and follows a woman known for over-the-top candy art.