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Real Housewives of Auckland: Reality show woos the blonde and beautiful

Chrystelle Baran, Carita Fenning and Angela Stone. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Chrystelle Baran, Carita Fenning and Angela Stone. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

The world's most outrageous and cattiest celebrity reality TV show is set for a Kiwi reboot.

The Herald on Sunday has learned producers from Matchbox Pictures' Melbourne office - with the help of a producer from TV3's ratings hit Dancing With the Stars - have been scouting around Auckland, shoulder-tapping several prominent society women to appear in a mooted Real Housewives of Auckland.

The Real Housewives franchise was launched in America in 2006, following the exploits of well-to-do women in Orange County and has since spawned eight spin-off series in the States.

The show was inspired by dramas Desperate Housewives and Peyton Place, and over the past nine years local versions have been produced in Greece, Sweden, Israel, Brazil, Canada, France, Australia, Mexico and Britain.

Test filming for the possible New Zealand version was completed at Non Solo Pizza, in Auckland's posh Parnell suburb, last Thursday.

The Herald on Sunday understands Kham Jones, ex of Sir Bob Jones, Champagne and French wine importer Anne Batley-Burton and Chrystelle Baran of Parnell French antiques gallery Baran de Bordeaux were present.

It is understood others there were real estate mavens the mega-successful Carita Fenning - the ex of Warren Fenning, who is now with Sally Ridge - and Heather Walton.

A leading Auckland socialite, blonde beauty Paula Herbert, is said to be a favourite of producers. Herbert is in Hawaii and was unavailable for comment.

A source said that during the shoot some of the well-heeled ladies did what the show thrives on - argue.

One of the women approached by Matchbox Pictures said she had signed a confidentiality agreement.

"We were told to expect to hear back in February about who will be in it," the woman said.

"If anyone says they are definitely in they are just saying that because no one knows yet."

One woman said she was concerned how the stars would be portrayed and received because of New Zealand's tall poppy syndrome.

"That is the biggest concern," she said.

The woman did not know whether the show was likely to be on TVNZ or TV3 and didn't think it had been picked up by a network.

The Herald on Sunday understands Friday was the deadline for Matchbox Pictures to have a potential cast confirmed, and after the test shoot producers were still looking for one more member.

Former All Black WAG Brooke McAlister is a rumoured replacement. She could not be reached yesterday.

Producers were due to fly to Christchurch today to check out a new hopeful, fashion personality Angela Stone.

Stone said she was excited about the prospect of being on the show and was a fan of the Melbourne version of the Real Housewives series.

"I am a huge fan of the Melbourne show and I love the glamour of it," she said yesterday. "I think that glamour is something we can pull off here in New Zealand."

She said her initial talk with Matchbox Pictures was "upbeat and positive" and she was hoping to be part of the final six.

If the show gets the green light, it is understood the cast members will be offered a $50,000 payday for a three-month shoot.

A source told the Herald on Sunday several prominent women had declined approaches from the production house - Stephanie Kellow, Frances Lynch and Vanessa Green.

Yesterday an official from Matchbox Pictures was in New Zealand filming and casting for the show.

When called by the Herald on Sunday she said she was "on a shoot and couldn't talk".

When asked about Real Housewives, she said: "I've been told not to talk to you guys."

- Herald on Sunday

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