On Sunday, December 29, the second episode in which the Real Housewives of Atlanta in Savannah aired. The ladies were in Savannah to get away from stressful Atlanta and bond together. Somewhere Luxurious announced that the ladies stayed in the Wedding Cake Mansion, a historic home in the Southeastern United States.

How did the Wedding Cake Mansion get to be on Real Housewives of Atlanta? Although in the show it was indicated that it was NeNe Leakes’ idea that the ladies rent the mansion, the producers of the show (not NeNe) ¬†actually contacted property owner Tammy Jo Long. The producers were looking for a place befitting the housewives, and a few property owners were contacted before the Wedding Cake Mansion was chosen. Keep in mind, that the chosen property had to look as luxurious as possible.

Tammy Jo Long

Tammy Jo Long, owner of the Wedding Cake Mansion

In order to have her property featured on the show, Tammy Jo was interviewed and the Real Housewives team (crew and staff) came out to see the mansion in July. Tammy Jo was given a decision that same day. It was a ‘yes’, and Tammy Jo was thrilled.

“Anytime someone wants to highlight your property on national television its good thing,” Tammy Jo told Somewhere Luxurious. Well, that’s what she thought at that time. That’s what most property owners would think. With the exception of the reality TV shows that are designed to solve a problem at a restaurant or hotel (Kitchen Nightmares comes to mind) the restaurants, hotels, resorts, and rentals that are included in reality TV shows are usually shown in a positive light. An appearance on a national TV show can raise the public’s awareness of the place and encourage an increase in bookings.

The actual filming for the Savannah episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta began in August, Tammy Jo said. She helped the producers in any way she could. She aligned the Real Housewives team with businesses in Savannah when they needed contacts. She also helped the crew get acclimated to Atlanta.

So far, so good. Tammy Jo was pleased to be a part of the Real Housewives in Atlanta episode. She said that the ladies were beautiful and fun. She was happy to accommodate the large crew in any way that she could. Tammy Jo even appeared in the beginning of episode, and she was there when the ladies visited a local club.

On the first day that the show aired, viewers saw the ladies choose their rooms, argue over their rooms, and otherwise get settled. The mansion had plenty of camera time. It was mentioned by name on the show, and both the exterior and interior of the mansion was featured on TV.

The second day, the ladies had a final Southern style dinner in the mansion. That’s when all went wrong. A huge flying cockroach appeared on-screen for viewers everywhere and the real housewives themselves to see. During the dinner, the roach seemed to come out of nowhere. The housewives screamed and ran while Porsha and Kenya tried to nab it. Not a pretty sight for the mansion, but it made for a tee hee for reality TV.

Tammy Jo was obviously mortified. She had no idea about that scene until it aired. ¬†She told Somewhere Luxurious that the roach was either brought in by the crew (who “were great”) or someone caught the roach and threw it inside the home just for the episode. She felt that the producers might have “planted the roach to add drama.”

“I have the utmost highest standards in all my properties, and I have not had an insect of any species in my properties,” said Tammy Jo who owns 15 properties in the region. She insisted that she has sizeable extermination contracts and the roach was not a resident of the mansion. She also said that roaches do not fly, but we know better.

Tammy Jo says that the mansion was cleaned daily when the ladies were out in the city. So far, some former guests have called to see if she has taken care of the roach problem at the mansion, and she has tried to explain that there is no problem at the mansion.

Publicity could have a positive impact or a devastating impact on a business, depending on the angles that are presented in the storylines. Business owners really won’t know exactly what will be shown on TV until the episodes air.

“It has had a negative effect on my business,” she said. “I don’t think that they cared two hoops about the repercussions on a small business.”

Claudine Williams

Claudine Williams

Editor-in-Chief at Somewhere Luxurious
Claudine Williams has been published in the New York Times, the Miami Herald, Hotel Chatter, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, the Huffington Post, and various other publications. Claudine has a master's degree in Information Design and Communications. She believes that everyone deserves a trip to Somewhere Luxurious.
Claudine Williams