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VOL. 37 | NO. 50 | Friday, December 13, 2013

Will ‘Private Lives of Nashville Wives’ be another network TV boost or make us cringe?

By Brad Schmitt

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On the heels of ABC drama "Nashville," cable network TNT is launching another national Music City-based show. But it’s about to get real.

“Private Lives of Nashville Wives” is a reality show (“docu-drama,” one cast member says to correct the record) that follows six women who are married to successful Music Row types. And two or three have had their own successful careers. It debuts at 9 p.m. Feb. 24 on TNT.

The two-minute trailer includes some heartfelt revelations of struggles – and some good, old-fashioned, reality-show cat fighting, which has some Nashvillians wincing.

Cast member Erika Page White, married to country singer/songwriter Bryan White (“Someone Else’s Star,” “Rebecca Lynn”), has been an actress since her teens. And the show follows her efforts to re-join the acting game after 10 years as a stay-at-home mom.

In the TV show’s promotional trailer, cast member Jenny Terrell – an exec with deal-of-the-day company Living Social – attacks Erika.

Joining Erika Page White (right) on “Private Lives of Nashville Wives,” scheduled to debut Feb. 24, are, from left, Betty Malo, wife of Raul Malo, singer and songwriter with the Mavericks; Sarah Davidson, wife of award-winning songwriter Dallas Davidson; Jenny Terrell, wife of event and party planner JT Terrell and an executive with LivingSocial; Ana Fernandez, unmarried, mother of two and twin sister of Betty Malo; Cassie Chapman, wife of Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated Christian singer-songwriter Gary Chapman.

-- Submitted Photo By John Nowak/Tnt

Jenny tells her: “Erika, don’t you know? Nobody likes skinny girls who think they’re fat. Definitely nobody likes ultra-gorgeous soap opera stars.”

White recently sat down with the Nashville Ledger to talk about the show:

Q: OK, first impressions. When I watched the trailer....

A: “Oh lord. OK.’’

Q: ... I have to tell you that I was pained.

Erika Page White

-- Submitted Photo By John Nowak/Tnt

A: “Awwww!’’

Q: I find that hard to watch, especially when they’re attacking you. What were your impressions of that trailer?

A: “Well, I went through it personally, so it’s even weirder to watch that. It’s hard to watch yourself on camera. So you have to go through the whole thing twice, triple, a million times, you know?

“I don’t remember anyone in my life saying stuff like that to me. I didn’t know how to respond sometimes.’’

Q: We all know what reality TV is, right? It’s like, oh, why would someone sign up for that?

A: “Bryan and I, we like an adventure. We thought, why not? Something new. And let’s see what this is all about. Let’s see this. This might be something fun.’’

Q: The other thing about the trailer is that it’s divisive. On social media, some people say this might be cool and fun. And other people are like, NO, Nashville has such a good reputation right now, and this’ll ruin it!

Erika Page White, with Bryan White, her husband of 13 years, began acting in 1996 when she landed a role on the TV series “Second Noah.”

-- Submitted Photo By John Nowak/Tnt

A: “And that’s what’s so hard. When you have a trailer that’s only two minutes, you don’t get to show all the stuff that we did. I think Nashville is going to be surprised at how much we showed. We show great things in Nashville. We shot all over Nashville.

“Nashville as itself is going to look beautiful. Each one of us shares a different story. So we don’t get to go all into that in a two-minute trailer. I really think people are going to love the stories they see because they’re really in depth in all of our lives.

“You don’t really get to see that in the trailer because it’s so quick.’’

Q: So there’s gonna be more depth than what we see? Because I don’t wanna use the word “trashy” but it looks kind of rough, that you ladies are not playing nicely.

A: “Uh, we have all different personalities. There are very large personalities, and we all have different personalities. You’ll see how friendships evolve from those personalities.’’

Q: So tell me, what Erika’s role is in all of this.

A: “I haven’t seen the episodes. You’re going to get to see me realize I’d like to act again, and all I have to go through to figure that out. In general, I’m at that point in life where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. Is it acting? Is it teaching? Is it something the complete opposite of that?

“That’s where I was at when I decided to do this. I’m at that crossroad: what do I want to do? Maybe this is going to help me figure it out....

“It’s a very emotional journey for me. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years, and I went from being a stay-at-home mom to having a very busy life the past six months. You’re going to see how that goes with me.

“Out of the all the girls, I think I went through every emotion you could go through. I’ve learned so much already about myself in the past six months that I didn’t know I had to learn, which is a good thing. Hard at times. But like one of my friends says, growth sometimes hurts. And I went through a lot of growth this summer.’’

Q: Thanks so much for doing this interview. Let’s go back a little. Can you sum up your acting career?

A: “Sure. Right out of high school, I got my first show for ABC called “Second Noah.” All through high school, and growing up, I had print (modeling) jobs and acting, which would be industrial jobs and commercials growing up as a teenager in Dallas.

“When I got into high school, I went full force, talent agent. All I ever wanted to be was an actress. All I ever cared about was being an actress.

“From then on, I kept booking gigs. And the producer from that show (“Second Noah”) became the head writer for “One Life to Live.”

‘‘After “One Life,” I went back to Los Angeles and did a couple more shows, “Resurrection Boulevard,” which was on Showtime, which I had a great time doing. I kept working. Then, when I was in New York, I got married to Bryan. And then went back to Los Angeles as a married woman and continued to work.

Q: When you’re constantly working and getting job after job, and the love of your life is in a whole other city, how do you make that work?

A: “We did it for five years. And then we got to that point where I felt I had the love of my life, and oh my God, what if I miss this opportunity to learn how to love? And that’s what brought me to Nashville.’’

Q: Did you have any fears about jumping in to “Private Lives of Nashville Wives?”

A: “Well with any job, you don’t know what it’s gonna be like. It’s something new, and I’ve never done anything like this in my life. I think at the beginning, you just don’t know what to expect....

“I’ve been in front of cameras my whole life but not on a personal level like this.’’

Q: When that first confrontation happened on camera, what was going through your mind?

A: “Of course you’re going to have to watch. Um, surprising, I think mostly. That scene you’re talking about was pretty early on. And it was like, wow, this girl is very forward. You know?’’

Q: What parts of the taping did you find uplifting or moving?

A: “That’s what I can’t wait for everybody to see. I can’t tell you all the great moments, obviously. No. 1, I loved seeing more parts of Nashville that I’d never branched out into. Loved that. I’m a Williamson County lover.

“It pulled me out into restaurants, clubs and parks. It’s like, I’ve never been to Centennial Park. It’s so beautiful! I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I don’t get out much except for an awards show here and there. ...

“I also get to speak about adoption a lot. That’s where my heart is. I’m adopted and I got to share a lot about that on the show.

“I think that’s one of the proudest moments that I got to be a part of on the show.’’

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