TV Review: Private Lives of Nashville Wives + Interview with Jenny Terrell

Private Lives of Nashville Wives review

At the ENMN conference in Anaheim last month, we were treated to the first two episodes of a new reality show on TNT, Private Lives of Nashville Wives. I ended up liking the show a lot more than I thought I would, and it's especially interesting to me because the ENMN conference is going to be held in Nashville next year; I also might be going in May for the Yelp Elite spring break event.

There are six main ladies in the show, as well as Nashville socialite Tina Brady, who pops by now and then but isn't a regular cast member. The six ladies are:

  • Jenny Terrell is vice president at a leading Internet company. She is married to JT Terrell, one of Nashville's top event and party producers. Jenny seems to have it all, including a family and a highly lucrative career. But with her tough-as-nails, straight-shooting, liberal personality and beliefs, this Midwest girl from Pickerington, Ohio, is establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in Nashville society.
  • Erika Page White is a former soap opera star looking to make a comeback after a nine-year hiatus. Married to platinum country music recording artist Bryan White, Erika thinks it's time to focus on her own career again, but only time and effort will tell whether a comeback is really in the cards.
  • Sarah Davidson is married to BMI Award-winning songwriter Dallas Davidson, who has 16 number one hits. Others would be content to be a stay-at-home wife living the good life, but Sarah wants more than anything to establish her own singing and song writing career. She is striving to reach a level of success that equals her passion.
  • Ana Fernandez and Betty Malo are identical twin sisters. Ana, a single mother of two, would love to find her perfect man, but her highly extroverted personality sometimes works against her. Ana calls it like she sees it and her forthcoming nature keeps the group dynamic raw and real. Betty is a minute younger than her twin sister Ana, and is married to Mavericks lead singer and songwriter Raul Malo. She hopes to be a calming influence on Ana, with whom she has a sometimes explosive, yet loving relationship.
  • Cassie Chapman is married to five-time Grammy-nominated and seven-time Dove Award-winning Christian music artist Gary Chapman, and together the couple is exploring starting their own family. Cassie's sweetness masks a toughness that comes out when others question their 23-year age difference. The Chapmans are attempting to prove that for all of the town's songs of heartbreak and woe, their love is enduring.

I don't really regularly watch any reality TV anymore, but I think Private Lives might be my new fix. I used to watch America's Next Top Model, and before that, Survivor, but eventually stopped watching them. What I like about Private Lives, though, is that these women are real and all have their own goals, despite being married to superstar husbands. 

I got the chance to interview Jenny Terrell via email about this show recently. Jenny is the only one of the wives that works full-time at an "office"-type job (though she sometimes works from home), and she's one of the vice presidents at Living Social, a website I often use to find deals and bargains. She balances this with raising her son and being married to JT, an event and party producer. 

Jenny Terrell, Nashville Wives
photo credit: TNT

YNF: Nashville Wives is an "unscripted series." Are there any parts of it that are scripted or it 100% improvised/"real"?

JT: This was one of the things I was very concerned about when I first got involved with this production. But luckily my worst fears were never realized. The producers actually did not once script out anything for us to follow.

Since it is impossible for them to follow us 24 hours a day seven days a week for four months straight, they did have to narrow filming by asking us in advance what interesting things we had going on in our schedules, what events were coming up, what specific challenges we were facing in our personal lives, and would be willing to reserve those conversations and activities for the times when the cameras were actually rolling. So in some ways it was scheduled but never scripted.

You're a VP at Living Social and also a busy mom and wife. What made you want to be on this show, and how do you balance it with your life?

The main thing that prompted me to join the show was this: my husband has a 15-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, and when we got together a few years ago, it struck me as strange that she and her friends were so intrigued by my career and by what they perceived to be my success in life. They often asked “How did you get this house, and what did you major in in college, and what is your advice on being successful?" I came to realize that so much of what they are exposed to is reality TV, and a lot of these shows are based upon measuring your success as a woman by how well you do at finding a rich husband. So when the opportunity knocked, to say “Oh no, I would never do that” felt a little like I was part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Here was my chance to present a different type of successful woman, through a vehicle that is wildly popular ... reality shows about “wives."  I felt like I needed to take advantage of it. Girl power!

How did I juggle it? -
Thanks to the terrific production company and TNT’s network, I was able to keep my filming to specific after-work hours and on the weekends to ensure there was no interference. That’s why you won't see Jenny “working” very often on the show (that part wasn’t reality, haha!). It certainly was a busy summer that required many iced coffees! When I was at home, my family was with me most of the time. You'll see I wasn't able to attend many of the events the other ladies participated in, due to my crazy schedule, but we made it work. I'm just the type of person that doesn't stop to think about it - I just keep chugging ahead - or I would probably crack!

Has it become "every day" now or is it still strange to have cameras following you around? Are there any aspects of your life that the cameras aren't allowed to be a part of?

It really has become my new reality to have cameras following me around. I think that's how they get you lulled into a comfort zone so they can capture all the good stuff :) The only area of my life I don't allow them to follow is me working in my office in DC. It certainly wouldn't be fair to subject my colleagues and team members to such a public situation, not to mention it would have been terribly disruptive to our productivity.

Did you know any of the other Nashville Wives before the show?

No. I didn't know any of the other women.

What have been the best and also the hardest parts of being on the show so far?

Best part - honestly the friends I've made. Contrary to how it looks on screen in many of the scenes, the genuine friendships that have come out of this are surprising - they're intricate and tricky at times, but I love and appreciate all of these women at the end of all this.

Worst part - watching it back. Definitely.

Any teasers you can give us about this season?

The drama that you see in the beginning of the season is very real, and it took a twist at the end of the season. I'm surprised myself, about how everything has turned out in our lives just 6 months later!

Thanks to Jenny Terrell for taking time out of her busy schedule, and for TNT for putting me in touch with her.

Private Lives of Nashville Wives can be found on Monday nights at 11pm EST/10pm CST on TNT.

*Disclosure: I received a DVD of the first four episodes of this show in order to facilitate this review. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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