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03.25.10

White House Crashers Score TV Deal

Desiree Rogers no longer has a job, presidential gatecrasher Michaela Salahi does: She will be one of the new “Real Housewives of D.C.” Also in the works: A Salahis tell-all book.

Desiree Rogers no longer has a job, presidential gatecrasher Michaela Salahi does: She will be one of the new “Real Housewives of D.C.” Also in the works: a Salahis tell-all book.

When last the public saw Tareq and Michaele Salahi, they were refusing to answer questions from members of a House panel about how they got into President Barack Obama’s first State Dinner.

Today, The Daily Beast has confirmed from two sources that the so-called White House gatecrashers, whose prank ultimately cost presidential Social Secretary Desiree Rogers her job, are poised to take center stage once again as the most visible members of the upcoming Bravo series The Real Housewives of D.C. After one of the most visible reality-TV series auditions in history—yes, Bravo cameras were on hand as the Salahis arrived for that ill-fated White House event—the couple has now been fully embraced as the focal point of the series, expected to premiere in July.

A source close to the series tells The Daily Beast that Bravo executives were more than relieved to learn the Salahis wouldn’t be prosecuted. In-house viewing of the audition footage and sample programs made it obvious that it would have been next to impossible to edit out the commanding presence of the statuesque platinum blonde, Michaele.

The Salahis are contractually prohibited from talking about the show, but The Daily Beast has learned they’ve already shot all 12 episodes of the premiere season. And early next month at a studio in Washington, D.C. they’ll participate in what’s known as the "green screen shoot." That’s when video will be taken of cast members that’s then used to produce the glitzy opening sequence of the show.

So, all’s well that ends well. Except for one thing.

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Bravo wanted to keep the Salahis' participation under wraps until it could orchestrate its coordinated publicity push via its fellow NBC/Universal outlets, like Access Hollywood and the Today show. (The Salahis already have a date to talk to Matt Lauer on May 27.) The show’s absence from Bravo’s new-show slate was conspicuous this month when the channel had its upfront presentation for advertisers and the press, and announced it was picking up The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with no mention of The Real Housewives of D.C. Unfortunately for Bravo, the network’s real plans became clear when Time Warner Cable sales announced “advertising opportunities” are now being offered for the Washington version of their breakout franchise. A Bravo spokesperson said she had “absolutely no announcement beyond the fact that we’re doing the show and the production process continues.”

Sources close to the couple say the public has gotten the wrong impression of the Salahis, and that the “misunderstanding” about the White House invitation has turned their lives upside down. They’ve now engaged prominent literary agent Sharlene Martin and they plan to try to set the record straight in an upcoming tell-all book.

Martin promises, “People will be surprised when the truth about the Salahis is finally told.”

Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered the Michael Jackson story since 1993 when she first broke the news that the King of Pop was under investigation for child molestation. She is author of the book, Be Careful Who You Love—Inside the Michael Jackson Case. She lives in New York with her husband, broadcast journalist Michael Schoen.