Party Down South is CMT’s highest-rated program ever, scoring legions of fans with their hilarious, “I can’t believe they just did that” antics. SallyAnn Salsano, 495 Productions Founder and President, is one of the masterminds behind the series, along with other reality shows like MTV’s FriendZone and Oxygen’s Tattoos After Dark, as well as talk show The Real. She shares the secret to casting a show like PDS and the reality series she’d join if given the opportunity.
OK!: Casting a show like Party Down South must entail a lot of juggling as far as getting the right mix of personalities together, where do you begin?
SallyAnn Salsano: Once you get in all your prospects that’s when the real test sets in—calling them. Chatting, learning about them, their love lives, homes, etc. Then it’s about making sure you like the mix…it’s not about the first time you get them on tape, it’s really about where they stand weeks later.
OK!: What were you looking for when you first set out to cast that show in particular?
SS: Honestly, I like to keep it broad. When you think you know what you are looking for you’re normally screwed. If I can predict it, so can the viewer. So it’s about general stuff, then meeting the diamonds in the rough and see who surprises you. The best characters are generally even better than you ever imagined…
OK!: Are there more challenges in reality TV now? It seems like everyone wants their own show or has an ulterior motive for getting cast—does this affect your job?
SS: You need spend extra time talking to them, making sure they are doing it for the right reasons. A lot more man hours and manpower, but you have to trust them… and trust your gut.
OK!: If you were to subject yourself to being in front of the camera, which reality show cast would you consider joining?
SS: Real Housewives of New Jersey—I wanna get in there, tell Caroline I got no time for drama, try and settle or arrange the death match for the Gorga and the Guidice families while listening to Rick talk about gas stations and eating one of Kathy’s canolis. I love that show, now they are my people. I left out Cafface…I’m obsessed with Cafface.
OK!: What else are you working on?
SS: We have Tattoos After Dark, airing on Oxygen, Tuesdays at 9pm; season 5 of FriendZone, coming back to MTV this summer; a new season of Tattoo Nightmares and the brand new Tattoo Nightmares Miami on Spike this fall. Also, we have The Real coming back on September 15th and a lot more to be announced.
Do you have a favorite Party Down South moment? Tell us in the comments or tweet @OKMagazine.