Wall Street Wives: New Canaan resident pitching reality show
Updated 12:10 pm, Wednesday, July 27, 2011
America's economy is the hot topic on the national news these days. As you would expect, most of the pundits are not saying good things. Whether it has to do with the debt ceiling, government spending or the deficit, it is nearly impossible to find a news outlet not covering these issues.
But what about other forms of media? Aside from documentaries and "reality" game shows, the financial district has yet to successfully infiltrate America's most lucrative guilty pleasure -- reality television.
New Canaan resident Devon Fleming hopes to change that with a vision of her own that is getting some buzz with two major networks right now. The show could be called "Wall Street Wives" or "Wives of Wall Street" but Fleming says she does not plan on making it what everyone expects.
"I want to show families whose lives have been impacted by the fallout," Fleming said referring to the recent economic crash. "Some families had it bad while some didn't. In some cases it was bad, but it was also blessing in disguise, which actually is the case in my family."
Fleming is fully aware that some viewers will likely roll their eyes at the thought of affluent families in the greater New York area being affected by the crash, but insists it is not all going to be about the money. Instead she hopes to focus on the emotional issues, which she expects more people would be able to relate with.
"Yeah sure we lost luxury items, sold our home for a loss and we had to scale back. So we lost many things, but that is all they were, things," Fleming said. "I want to focus more on what these women and families had to go through mentally and emotionally. In my case it really was a blessing in disguise because it actually allowed my faith to grow tremendously and it brought our family unit together. We are really super tight now. I mean, obviously, nothing is perfect. Like any family, we have plenty of arguments and disagreements but we remain very connected emotionally as a group."
Fleming said it not only improved her family life as a whole, but also her marriage. Her husband of 19 years, David, a private wealth manager in Greenwich, has been a strong supporter of her work, this reality show included, she said. Fleming reiterated how important that was because she plans on not only producing the show but also being a cast member.
"He's very supportive of me. During the crash, there was a lot of pressure on him and we were able to get beyond all of that to find what is really important. I feel like we're meant to be together. He respects me and I respect him. We are in the best place we have ever been," she said. "The lesson that I learned is that life is short and circumstances are just that. There is no such thing as perfection, but if you are able to find joy the things that are important and not focus on the circumstances then you will be much happier and I think that is such a valuable lesson that my kids can see too. They have seen my husband and I go through these financial hardships, that wasn't any of our own doing, and they have seen us come together, and that is just so important."
But not all of the families and women on the show will have the same story as Fleming did.
"Money brings out the real deal in people. When you are faced with the kinds of pressures that we have seen over the last few years, you find out what people are made of. In our case, in our household, it brought us closer together. It humbled us and it now has a given us a new appreciation so I am very grateful," she said. "However, I would say that is definitely not the case with other women. More often than not, the loss of money does not go down well with some of these women and it has destroyed relationships. I think that, especially in this area, materialism is so important that it can easily consume them and become very destructive."
This isn't Fleming's first attempt at bringing a reality show to life. She was approached by an LA producer in 2007 for a show about women in this area but it ultimately never hit the screens, something Fleming was relieved about.
"It was not a vision I was completely happy with," she said. "It was more a typical reality show. `Wall Street Wives' will be more like a docu-reality series."
Still, don't expect the show to be all informative. With interest from two top networks and six to eight women (including herself) committed, expect all the requisite drama and intrigue.
"Of course it'll be entertaining. You know that's what reality shows are about," Fleming said. "But how wonderful would it be to entertain and to actually learn a lesson?"